The Dry And Cracked Dirt Story: Healing
It was through broken translation and a racing mind piecing the English together that I began to understand what he was saying. He was trying to tell me that the land was successfully yielding crops. He was telling the four of us how, even though there was a drought, the soil was so moist on his land. He said that this was happening for no known reason apart from the Gospel. He was so humbled. It was like tangible gratitude dripped from his mouth with each word explaining how the rest of the region was struggling to produce crops to sell and have income, but his family for some reason had been blessed.
I didn’t understand the significance until long after my flight landed and I had Starbucks and clean clothes again. I didn’t understand that as we stood there and watched the dry and cracked soil overturned with a hoe, that it was so much more than dry dirt, wet dirt, or a day’s worth of work for these Africans.
I haven’t forgotten the sound of his voice and his family sitting in a small room late one evening singing so loudly and so off key, but never more beautifully. They sang in more languages than I understood. Small children fell asleep on
grandmothers’ laps to the tunes and it was as though in the middle of this village, to which I had ridden on a bicycle taxi for 45 minutes to arrive, the presence of God dwelled.
That hoe hit the soil, and as it was pulled up again and again it flipped the dirt from dry to wet, with the sound of old roots crunched and tearing. The leftovers had to be broken up once and for all. The ground is able to yield again once the fresh soil is unearthed. You see, in a place where the soil should be dry for feet down into the earth, there was moisture and streams of water under that cracked, dry, old dirt.
I stood in that field and watched listening to the hoe hit the ground and pull up fresh soil. Even across the language barrier, I loved these people like my own family. It felt like Jesus was putting a hoe to the soil of my heart and soul and transforming it from cracked, hurt, broken and dry to let his rivers of life and grace flow again. Jesus was preparing my heart for what would come once back stateside, with my Starbucks and clean laundry.
I usually cry when I think of this. When I realize what happened in that field I could have cared less about while standing there with African sun burning my face.
Many nights after returning to the United States I began to realize what that man was trying to tell me: it was so much more than how his farm was yielding crops amidst a drought. He was telling me how Jesus does this: he turns the dead to life and provides gushing waters in places that should be barren. A small African man was able to teach me a lesson I so desperately needed to pour over my utterly broken and helpless soul. This was where I began to sew the rips of my heart from which emotion and hurt had been gushing.
The soil turns over and over with abundant streams that yield life where the presence of God dwells. There are always rivers under the cracked and dry, waiting to burst forth.