THE LESSON—That as the desert cannot become productive until it receives the waters of irrigation, so the arid soul, if it is to become fruitful, must receive the water of life.
While this illustration is especially applicable to the service of Decision Day, it is recommended for any occasion where there is opportunity to spea
"A gentleman, a little past middle life, was traveling from the east in a luxurious passenger train crossing one of the far western states. As he gazed from the car window, his face wore an expression of interest, which developed into one of wonder and excitement.
"'Can it be,' he exclaimed, addressing the man who sat with him, 'that I am passing through the very same country which I saw but a few short years ago? It seems impossible!'
"Now, why did it seem impossible? Let us find out. It appears that when the man traveled the state before, he looked out of the car windows upon a scene of barrenness and desolation. [As you speak, draw Fig. 68 with brown crayon. Be sure to leave the mountain peaks white, but, in order to secure an impressive pastel effect use the broad side of your brown and your yellow crayons lightly over the entire area of desert and mountain side.] The earth was dry and parched, and in all directions, as far as the eye could see, grew only the sage brush—the mark of the desert. There was no life, excepting an occasional coyote, and the reflected heat and light made travel almost unbearable. The monotonous earth was composed of the leveled deposits of the mountains which the sun had baked for centuries.
[As you continue, change the scene by covering the brown with green. Draw the foliage of the trees with green and the trunks with brown. Life may be added by touching the trees with the red and the yellow and the orange to indicate the fruit. The thought is to transform the desert into a place of fruitfulness. This completes Fig. 69.]
"But now, all was changed as if by a magic touch. In place of the sage brush and the broad wastes of baking earth, the man beheld here great orchards, with hundreds of fruit trees, laden with glistening apples, oranges and pears, and wide fields were covered with bounteous crops of grain. The once arid wilderness was now the fertile dwelling place of many happy families.
"What had wrought this great change? Nothing but the hand and mind of man, guided by the maker of the universe, who seems to have stored rich treasures everywhere for those who will reach out for them. It happened in this way:
"One day, a certain man beheld the snow-capped mountains—cold and forbidding—and then he turned his gaze to the earth—parched and dead. He knew that if he could only unite the waters of the snow-capped mountains with the dead earth below them, 'the desert would blossom as the rose.' Before this thing happened, two-thirds of the entire area of the United States was a desert waste. But the waters were brought down, and the great transformation followed. Gradually, the arid waste is disappearing and the forces of irrigation are expanding; and the vast western country is unfolding to the millions who are spreading over its newly-discovered areas of wealth.
"Let us turn quickly to the application. There are, in every community, many human deserts—men and women, boys and girls, whose unproductive lives need the waters of life to make them blossom and bring forth fruit in His kingdom. Perhaps they have beheld Him only as a cold, forbidding mountain peak, and if this is true, they should catch the spirit of the Psalmist who cried, 'My soul thirsteth for thee; my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is.'
"In the case of the desert, it is conversion, pure and simple. May the heavenly waters of His grace come to each one of us today, whether it be a first decision to be united with Him, or whether it be a decision to return to Him whom we have deserted.
"Our duty toward our fellow men conies before us happily in these words from the prophet Isaiah, 'If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry and afflicted soul, thou shalt be like a spring of water whose waters fail not.'"