The Refreshment of Dew

by Lois Tverberg

“Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb.” Deuteronomy 32:2

Another form of living water that was important biblically is something that we hardly think about — dew. In Israel it does not rain for half the year, and were it not for the dew in summer, all plant life would die.

In fact, dew and rain are equally important to the crops in Israel. If there is no rain in the winter season, the grass and early crops do not grow, if no dew in summer, later crops dry up and fruit does not mature. If there are many nights without dew, it constitutes a drought, in their thinking.

In Israel, on many nights dew is amazingly abundant. Because of the moisture of the Mediterranean, in early summer the dews are so heavy that the plants and trees are literally soaked with water at night. In fact, Israelis often use squeegees to remove the dew from their car windows before they can drive in the morning. In the story of Gideon, it said that he wrung a bowl full of water out of a fleece that he put out overnight (Judges 6:38). Even in areas that receive almost no rain, the dew is enough to sustain enough plant growth that sheep can graze, as they search for the few tufts of grass available in the pastures that are sustained by dew.

To the ancient people who were so dependent on their crops, dew was considered a nightly reminder of God’s constant care. In the Sinai, the manna came with it, supplying their sustenance that way too (Exodus 16:13; Numbers 11:9). In Hosea, God declares, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily.” (Hosea 14:4-5).

Even though the dew is not important for our crops now, it is a good for us to see it as a picture of God’s daily sustenance of a drink of living water that lets just enough grass grow to feed us for the next day. Next time, when you see it, remind yourself of God’s daily kindness toward you.

Consider the Ravens

by Lois Tverberg

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Luke 12:24

Consider the Ravens

Why do people work for a living when Jesus promises that God will care for us just as he cares for the ravens? Are we just not trusting God enough for his sustenance? Should we quit our jobs and wait for manna to fall from heaven?

A rabbi from the 2nd century made a relevant observation:

“Have you ever seen a wild beast or a bird who has a trade? Yet they get along without difficulty. And were they not created only to serve me? And I was created to serve my Master. So is it not logical that I should get along without difficulty? But I have done evil and forfeited my right to sustenance without difficulty.” Simeon ben Eleazar, Mishnah, Kiddushim 4:14

Rabbi Eleazar bases his thoughts on the creation story in Genesis. According to Genesis 1:26, humans were made in God’s image to reign over creation-,- so just as a king’s subjects are his “servants,” God decreed that animals are man’s “servants.”

But unlike animals, Adam sinned by eating the apple, and was condemned to toil for food instead of having it easily available. The rabbi explains that because he is a sinner like Adam, he must work hard for his food, unlike the animals.

Consider the Ravens

We can gain from the contrast between the words of Jesus and Rabbi Eleazar. It’s simply a reality of life that we must work and make a living to sustain ourselves, and often our jobs are toilsome and frustrating. We aren’t guaranteed a life free of sweat and labor. But we can trust that through the work that God gives us, he’s providing for our needs, just as he cares for the birds.

Rather than worrying that we’re on our own to scratch out a living, we can rest on the fact that we are precious in God’s sight, and that he’s watching over us. We can do our work to please him because we know he cares for us.

Photo: and Vincent Van Gogh

Who Feeds the Ravens?

by Lois Tverberg

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! ” Luke 12:24

When ravens come to mind, I think of Jesus’ words about how God feeds them even though they do not plant crops. Human beings spend their entire lives toiling by the “sweat of the brow” to harvest food, how can it be that this bird could still eat even if it doesn’t work? It shows that God is the ultimate source of our sustenance, not just our own hands.


In the Judean desert near Qumran, I had all the more awe for God’s care of the ravens. The temperatures soared to almost 120° every afternoon, and the land in the area looked as bleak as the surface of the moon. But yet we saw flocks of ravens soaring overhead, carefree and unworried about the harsh conditions. It would be easy for them to find food nearer to farms and rivers, but instead they built their nests on rocky cliffs in desolate areas. How could God provide for them out here?

ravens2When Jesus was telling his parable, I wonder if he was thinking of the story in his scriptures about how the ravens fed the prophet Elijah. During a drought, God supplied food for Elijah by sending ravens who brought bread and meat to him each day. Once again, God was providing for the birds in the harshest conditions, so much so that they could feed the prophet!

Or maybe Jesus was thinking of what God said to Job, “Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41) From birth, raven chicks have insatiable appetites, crying loudly with beaks open wide for food. Even after they have left the nest and are adult-sized, young ravens follow their mother, crying out for food from her, which she provides for them until they are self-sufficient. What parent wouldn’t feel the anxiety of a mother trying to find food for her hungry children? And yet God provides for helpless birds in the harshest of conditions.

How great an assurance that God cares for even the least of the birds, and he does it in barren desert and drought. How can we worry when we have a God who cares as much for us?