It's spring, and as sporadic rains fall on thirsty California, I am thinking about a certain biblical promise. Found in Hosea, it follows an assurance that God will heal, revive, and raise Israel up again: "He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth" (NASB).
From a literary perspective, this comparison sounds just right. If God were an element, he'd be rain – soft yet torrential, the only remedy for desperate thirst and drought. But in Hosea's agricultural society, this promise was also literal. Rain was a saving grace, the invaluable resource that allowed crops to grow.
Today, rain still represents survival to rural families in the developing world. Small-scale subsistence farmers stake their lives on agriculture, relying on what they can grow to feed their families, earn an income, and send their kids to school. Armed with few resources, basic elements like water, seeds, and good soil mean the difference between hunger ...1