In the Bible, an incident is reported where three kings come together to battle a fourth one and get stranded in a desert without adequate water supply. An entreaty is made to the prophet who is unexpectedly found in their midst, to petition God to save them and plead for a solution from Him. The prophet heeds their cry, prays to God and returns the answer “Dig ditches all over this dry stream bed. Even though you will not see any rain or wind, this stream bed will be filled with water, and you, your livestock, and your pack animals will have plenty to drink.” You can read the full report in 2 Kings 3:16‭-‬17 (GNB).

In a recent insightful article on the World Economic Forum website, Bill Gates talks of the possibility of a COVID vaccine being ready in an 18-month period. However, for it to be effectively administered, he astutely points out that governments need to plan and set in place the machinery and structure needed to mass produce and administer thousands of doses at the same time. He says that the time to prepare appropriate protocols and be ready with necessary infrastructure to handle for the influx, both of the medicine and patient treatments is now. In short, begin to dig ditches now, not when the flow begins!

An important natural cycle in Egypt since ancient times is the flooding of the river Nile. As rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt, the floods provide the only source of moisture to sustain crops. Every year, heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian highlands send a torrent of water that overflows the banks of the Nile. When the floods go down, they leave behind a thick rich mud (black silt) which is excellent soil to plant seeds in after it has been ploughed. Though clueless in the very distant past, Egypt today has set in measures to monitor and prepare for this cycle of overflow and receding of the waters. The country has harnessed and turned a natural ‘disaster’ into a potential wealth and renewable resource for itself. Egypt has learnt to dig ditches!

As we go through this period of quarantine, we can so easily be caught up with the past, of how good we had it. Or, be preoccupied with the present because of all the reports and statistics as the pandemic runs its course in the city, nation or the world. Its okay to look back with nostalgia and keep abreast of the current happenings so as to be sensitive and well-informed, but if we do not at least consider the future, we will be doubly lost.

If we do not look ahead, but just be obssessed with these, we will waste our time lamenting or we will just wait for the day of release out of social distancing to rush headlong into another type of disaster. If we do not use this time wisely and profitably to plan for literally a new world – what we should do, how we should do, when we should do, etc – we would be clueless and caught unawares when that time dawns. We need to look to the future and plan for a new way of life. It is the time right now to dig ditches!

The ditch you may need to dig could be a plan on how to ease into a normal day-to-day routine; it maybe to understand how to handle the economic fallout or downturn that is inevitable; it maybe to prepare for the extra load that will ensue in the workplace as companies rush to catch up on business; it maybe the need to revamp investment or insurance portfolios that will surely need a change or upgrade; it may be knowing how to help kids and senior citizens transition back to normal life; it may be just learning to understand how members of the family, especially spouses, will react to the change.

It is not just governments and those in authority who need to be aware of and take notice of the future. Each and everyone of us – individuals, couples, families, companies, corporate firms and churches need to sit down and draw up a game plan for the time to come. Now is the occasion and the opportunity to do it, rather than later. Such an attitude will also help to boost our morale and well-being since we are looking ahead, rather than behind or around.

Dig ditches to be ready and prepared to conserve what will come or lose the overflow that is sure to come and is just ahead!



*Pics courtesy unsplash.com and google images


I was recently in the northern part of the country which was reeling under a cold front. I had to wear a number of clothing and shoes to keep warm, both outdoors and indoors. Even then I wasn’t truly fully free of chillness until I got under the blankets with the heater on beside me. The sun’s warmth was available only for a few hours, from around 11 am to 4 pm, before the temperature dropped again.

Being from the sunny south, I would anxiously wait each day for the sun to appear so as stand under its heat. Even a very hot shower would raise the body temperature for only for a little while. Back home in the sunnier part of the country, I revelled in the warmth and the freedom from extra woollies. I am never going to worship the sun, but neither would I take it for granted anymore!

The anomaly of the region I visited is the extreme heat of the summer months contrasting the cold of its winter season. As I thought about this peculiarity, I realized that this contrast is surely the key to life being livable in that area. It is the extreme frigidity of the winter season that prepares the body for facing the extreme heat of the summer season and vice versa. The heat of the summer months warms the body to an extent that it is able to bear the chillness of the winter cold. How appropriate and fitting, I thought!

Following this train of thought, I realized that food, clothing, shelter and social as well as cultural cuatoms of a place are in most part in step with the climatic conditions of the area. For example, in the northern parts of India where chillness can be expected, the staple diet is wheat and bland subzies; whereas in the hotter southern parts, rice and spicy curries predominate. Wheat imparts heat to the body and rice provides coolness, making these the inescapable ingredient of the cuisines of the respective regions. Similarly, the blood in the body runs faster in cold regions and so a bland diet suffices. In hotter regions, spiciness in the diet will enhance the blood flow that tends to be slow due to the heat and thus will prevent the resultant lethargy from dominating.

Colder regions tend towards close fitting pant-type dress patterns as it affords protection from the chill winds that can run up the leg; whereas, in the hotter regions, loose flowing robes or sarongs or sarees provide the aeration that would give relief and prevent sweating in the intense heat. If you look closely, you can establish such connections even to the color and material existing in each area. Not just these alone, but also the flora and fauna available in each place are obviously in-sync with the weather conditions common to the sector.

Even the social life and cultural activities are commensurate with the weather prevalent in each area. The north includes more song and dance as integral part of its festivities – surely since the exercise will warm the body. The south, on the other hand, is more conservative and less expressive in action but more in emotive expressions as the heat surely discourages very rigorous exercise! This also may be the reason that the north is more militant than the south, since activity enhances their well-being and negotiations suit the health of the warm south!

What perfect order has been planned and executed by the Creator in each place to make life livable, enjoyable and sustainable in each place, area and region! Every time I note the intricacies of His design, I marvel at His wisdom that is exhibited even in the tiniest of details! God is not the God of chaos but of perfect order and arrangement. Nothing He does is out of focus, out of step or out of confusion. Even in the randomness of things, there is a pattern that enhances rather than detracts the beauty of it all! Perfect symphony is the hallmark of God’s handiwork, His id card actually! Even in chaos there is meaning as evidenced in His scattering that happened in the tower of Babel!

No wonder the Psalmist declares that The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. No wonder Paul the Apostle could echo that For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Living in harmony with our surroundings will ensure our wellness and well-being in every way, for there is a divine design incorporated into its makeup. Blaming circumstances or surroundings for any ill-health, physical or otherwise, will be a farce if in some way we are introducing disorder into our life and lifestyle. A check to see if we are violating the order set around us will enable us to ‘prosper and be in good health even as (y)our soul prospers‘!

*Pics courtesy in splash.com