Figs, feijoas and fresh water
Welcome to autumn from my new home in NZ! This is my favourite time of year - still warm enough to swim yet cool enough to sleep. Still sunny enough to garden without my skin being frazzled.
This morning I found feijoas and figs at the market - my two favourite autumn fruit. I bought a bag of feijoas for the same price as a single feijoa in Sydney. Tonight I'll make pumpkin and ginger soup with parsley from my garden.
For most people, growing vegetables and herbs is normal but for me it is a completely new experience. For the summer season I managed to grow basil, parsley, zucchini and beetroot. My tomatoes and eggplant were a disaster!
Now I have dug up a new garden bed and dug in sheep pellets and compost. There is only one problem - not enough water.
Unlike Australia at the moment, New Zealand is warm and very dry. I love this weather but my vegetables do not! It has impressed upon me the raw, physical strength of those bible verses that talk about God blessing the land with rain. It is a practical picture that shows how he will satisfy our needs, strengthen our body and bless our children.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isa. 44:3
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isa. 58:11
A well watered garden - that is what I need! And a spring whose waters never fail...
Which brings me to the next water issue in our new place. The town's water comes from the river and has never tasted great. It's even worse in summer. The water level drops and the council has to ramp up the chlorine to keep it clean. A glass of water tastes like mud.
So last week we installed a water filter that takes out all heavy metals and chlorine. The last time I tasted such sweet, clear water was from Jacob's Well in Samaria - where Jesus asked a woman to draw him some water, and the inspiration for 'The Silk Merchant of Sychar.'
My latest book is also set around water. Demas, the main character, has grown up by the sea, diving for murex off the city of Dor. Dor is about an hour's drive north of Tel Aviv. The Bible tells how Joshua defeated Dor's king (Jos. 12:23) and how King Solomon's son-in-law, one of the twelve officers that ruled Israel, was based there (1Kings 4:11). By 32AD when Demas is there, Dor is a multicultural city with industrial scale murex and purple dye factories yet overshadowed by the city of Caesarea ten miles to the south.
Due to my lack of writing Demas has been stuck in a cistern (a type of well for storing water) for the past two years! Thankfully I am back into writing and he is finally out of the cistern and ready for more adventure.
Winning the 2021 Caleb Prize gave me a much needed boost of encouragement. The prize was $500 worth of editing from the excellent editor Iola Goulton. I need to get writing so she has plenty to work on.
My son was not so excited when I told him I was back into writing. All he could say was, 'Oh no! Carrot salad!'
My husband and son suffered carrot salad almost every day for the three years I wrote 'The Silk Merchant of Sychar.' I did not have space in my mind for inventing interesting meals. They got the same few meals every week always accompanied by carrot salad! It is actually super healthy - grated carrot mixed with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
Thank you to all of you who have written a review on Goodreads or Amazon. I greatly appreciate every single review. It takes time and effort to write a review and I have resolved to write more to support my fellow authors.
I am reminded that there is one author who never requires a review of his book. In fact he keeps offering free gifts! He is the author of life (Acts 3:15) and the words in his book are sharper than a sword. Just as he offered water to the Samaritan woman at the well so she would never again be (spiritually) thirsty he returns to the same water theme at the end of his book with more free offers for all who are thirsty.
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Rev. 21:6