Here’s a word that’s not only fun to teach your kids, but it also illustrates a powerful lesson.
The word is “wadi” and means valley. Not all translations use it – I have used the New American Standard Bible today.
A wadi is a creek bed that overflows with a torrent of water when the ice melts and the rains come, but then is completely left desolate in drier weather. Mostly the term is used to describe desert streams in the Middle East. Travelers come back to where they once found water, only to discover nothing,
Here’s where we read about the “wadi” in Job. Job is having a talk with his unfaithful friends. First he tells them they SHOULD be kind. Then he describes friendship that reflects a wadi. They come on full of kindness and concern (like torrents of water) and then the water dries up and disappears. Job illustrates by talking about the travelers coming back for the water they’ve hoped for, but find nothing … and are confounded. Like us when we turn to trusted friends and find that they’re no longer there for us. They let us down. We are heartbroken and often our faith is shaken.
We forget our dependency should be on the Lord not on people.
Only the Lord is continually faithful.
For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not forsake the ear of the Almighty.
“My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi,
Like the torrents of wadis which vanish,
Which are turbid because of ice
And into which the snow melts.
“When they become waterless, they are silent,
When it is hot, they vanish from their place.
“The paths of their course wind along,
They go up into nothing and perish.
“The caravans of Tema looked,
The travelers of Sheba hoped for them.
They were disappointed for they had trusted,
They came there and were confounded.
You could teach your kids this principle by saying “dried-up-stream-bed,” but I think wadi is a lot more expressive word. If you live near a stream bed that dries up in the summer, you can even better illustrate the verses.
And the next time you see your children (or ministry kids) not be kind and supportive to one another – remind them not to be like a wadi.