Several hundred feet beneath my chair is a lake, an underground cavern of crystalline water known as the Edwards Aquifer. We South Texans know much about this aquifer. We know its length (175 miles). We know its layout (west to east, except under San Antonio, where it runs north to south). We know the water is pure. Fresh. It irrigates farms and waters lawns and fills pools and quenches thirst. We know much about the aquifer.
But for all the facts we know, there is an essential one we don't. We don't know its size. The depth of the cavern? A mystery. Number of gallons? Unmeasured. No one knows the amount of water the aquifer contains.
Watch the nightly weather report and you'd think otherwise. Meteorologists give regular updates on the aquifer level. You get the impression that the amount of water is calculated. "The truth is," a friend told me, "no one knows how much water is down there."
Could this be? I decided to find out. I called a water conservationist. "That's right," he confirmed. "We estimate. We try to measure. But the exact quantity? No one knows."
Remarkable. We use it, depend upon it, would perish without it … but measure it? We can't.
Bring to mind another unmeasured pool? It might. Not a pool of water, but a pool of love. God's love. Aquifer fresh. Pure as April snow. One swallow slackens the thirsty throat and softens the crusty heart. Immerse a life into God's love and watch it emerge cleansed and changed. We know the impact of God's love.
But the volume? No person has ever measured it.
Moral meteorologists, worried we might exhaust the supply, suggest otherwise. "Don't drink too deeply," they caution, recommending rationed portions. Some people, after all, drink more than their share. Terrorists and traitors and wife beaters, let such scoundrels start drinking, and they may take too much.
But who has plumbed the depths of God's love? Only God has. "Want to see the size of my love?" He invites. "Ascend the winding path outside of Jerusalem. Follow the dots of bloody dirt until you crest the hill. Before looking up, pause and hear me whisper, 'This is how much I love you.'"
Whip-ripped muscles drape his back. Blood rivulets over his face. His eyes and lips are swollen shut. Handfuls of beard have been yanked out. Pain rages at wildfire heat. As he sinks to relieve the agony of his legs, his airway closes. At the edge of suffocation, he shoves pierced muscles against the spike and inches up the cross. He does this for hours. Painfully up and down, until his strength and our doubts are gone.
Does God love you? Behold the cross and behold your answer.
The Ultimate Gift
God the Son died for you. Who could have imagined such a gift? At the time when Martin Luther was having his Bible printed in Germany, a printer's daughter encountered God's love. No one had told her about Jesus. Toward God, she felt no emotion but fear. One day, she gathered pieces of fallen Scripture from the floor. On one paper she found the words, "For God so loved the world that he gave … " The rest of the verse had not yet been printed. Still, what she saw was enough to move her. The thought that God would give anything moved her from fear to joy. Her mother noticed the change of attitude. When asked the cause of her happiness, the daughter produced the crumpled piece of partial verse from her pocket. The mother read it and asked, "What did he give?" The child was perplexed for a moment and then answered, "I do not know. But if He loved us well enough to give us anything, we should not be afraid of Him."