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“The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”                                                  Isaiah 58:11

A watered garden. Figurative of a bride. A bride given the Living Waters that do not run dry but strengthen the bones and purges of drought and doubt. A garden tended for and well-loved, given what is needed to be sustained and shown the way.

That is how God sees His Church. A garden rushing with His Living waters that brings strength and beauty. A garden of fragrance, stored away as a shelter for those in drought, for those who seek the Truth and offer its sweet aroma. A bride waiting for her groom.

A garden invites. A garden refreshes and beckons one to enter in and to rest, to enjoy the goodness of its being. For others to delight in it, to be satisfied by the waters- just the calming sound of trickling water, motion suggesting life- is cooling to the parched ones. A garden is to be shared, for others to enter in and witness the goodness and beauty.

A garden expands. With each blow of wind and change of season, flowers are brought to bloom, to take root in the good earth. Seed planted in good soil that grows its Truth straight into the tender heart watered with the Living Water of Jesus’ sacrifice.

A Church, a body of people seeking Jesus and wanting to be His light and love to a world crying out for something more-that is a garden. Reflecting His beauty, offering His eternal life by testifying of His goodness and how He gave it all. Offering the Water and the Word that knows no bounds to heal, forgive, overcome, and transform. His Word rooting each blossom, His resurrection pouring forth into each life to give Life.

A bride takes on the name of her husband and He is eagerly waiting for His to take on His Name, to show that we don’t just call Him Jesus with lip service but that we show Jesus with life service, we show the God Who provides, Who loves, Who heals, Who restores, Who protects, Who makes new, Who gave all for us to be His bride and take on His Name. If the Church can be a garden, a place to revive the soul by being a bride that takes on the name of the groom and offers His Truth- cultivated by Him alone and not filtered through our own desires and ideas- a Church fully submitted to Him, the garden would be vivacious, would be a place people would be running to. They would inquire of our strength, of our peace, of our something-that-is-different-and-I-want-it. And we would point to our Garden keeper- our Groom-our Jesus, and say, He will guide and strengthen and offer that Living Water.

We have to be cultivated by Him. We have to allow the pruning by Him. He is preparing us for Him and asking we take on His Name and let that be our identity. A garden has many flowers and plants but a flower on its own is not a garden. Unity, designed and laid out by Him, the Landscaper of our souls and the Head of the Church.

Just like a light on a hill, may we not be a secret garden, but rather one that proclaims Truth and does not hide it away behind walls and fences.