I don’t know about you, but I’m currently yearning for rain.

Here in Britain, it rains so regularly that I’m realising I take it for granted. It’s a bit like an old familiar friend: “Hello rain! How lovely to see you again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve missed you, you know. Let’s get reacquainted.”

These last few months have seen most of Europe experiencing heatwaves and wildfires of epic proportions, and the British Isles have not been exempted. In fact, just a few days ago, the entire continent was officially recognised as experiencing its worst drought in at least 500 years. River levels are drying up. Crop yields are falling. Electricity generation is reducing. People are being displaced.

In true British style, such barmy (and currently balmy) happenings are providing those of us who are Britons, or based in Britain, with excellent fodder for one of our national obsessions – endless conversations about the weather.

I know it’s hard for other nations to understand. But whether it’s hot or cold, sunny or rainy, bright or dull, foggy or windy, hailing or snowing, or anything in between, you will always find British people talking about the weather.

But what you won’t find them talking about is the Lord.

Even though it’s the Lord who is in charge of the weather. Even though it’s the Lord who might be trying to tell us something, or teach us something, through what he’s currently doing with the weather. Even though it’s the Lord who might be allowing things to be shaken up a bit, to try and grab our attention.

And this has got me thinking …


Some years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Israel.

It is a dry and arid land, and parts of it are desert, so it depends on abundant rain to quench its thirst. If the rains are good, then enough water can be stored away for use all year round. But if the rains are bad, both the land and the people will struggle.

Spending time in Israel gave me a real appreciation of water as a precious commodity, a life-giving resource, an absolute necessity for so many ordinary activities – drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning, laundry, flushing toilets, growing crops, and stopping fires, to name just a few. But it’s so easy to take it for granted.

Put simply, if it doesn’t rain, our water supplies dry up, and life as we know it comes unstuck.

But what I remember discovering in Israel is that rain puts people in a good mood. It cheers them up. It’s celebrated.

What a contrast to the 21st Century Western mindset, which dominates so many of us who live in Europe! Here, the rain can make us feel decidedly gloomy. If it’s accompanied by a dull and dreary day, it can even make us feel a bit depressed.

It’s this comparison that I’ve been pondering in recent weeks. The comparison between how rain is viewed in countries like Israel, and how it’s viewed in countries like Britain. The comparison between the emotions it can generate. The comparison with how it makes us feel, depending on where we live.

And as I’ve done so, I’ve been drawn back to the Bible …


The Bible wasn’t written in the 21st Century. Nor was it written from the perspective of the Western world.

It was written in the context of the dry and arid land of Israel.

Is it any surprise, then, how the Bible reveals that rain is always a sign of God’s blessing?

It’s a sign of God’s literal blessing on land, which is dry and arid, which needs rejuvenating. But it’s also a sign of God’s spiritual blessing on people who, in trust and obedience, look to him to refresh them.

It’s meant to engender the kind of rejoicing that I witnessed in Israel, not the typical doom and gloom of the 21st Century Western worldview.

In Deuteronomy 28:12, we read this: “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season, and to bless all the work of your hands.” And Hebrews 6:7 says this: “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed, receives the blessing of God.” 

It is the Lord who opens the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send the rain on dry and thirsty land. It’s the rain that enables the land to be farmed. It’s the farming that produces crops for us to eat. And when all this happens, both the land and the people receiving the Lord’s blessing.


So when there is no rain, as is the case in Europe at the moment, and when it feels like God is deliberately withholding it, I can’t help but wonder why: Why is God doing this?

Have we failed to steward the land in a way that is pleasing to him? Have we failed to trust him, to obey him, to honour him across our continent? What might he be trying to say, and are we hearing it? What might he be trying to teach us, and are we discerning it?

These are deliberately thought-provoking questions – and I don’t have all the answers.

But what I do have is a growing sense of our need of God. As well as satiating our British obsession with talking about the weather, we also need to be talking about the Lord who controls the weather. The land needs him. But so do we, the people.

So while I’m yearning for God to send rain again to rejuvenate the dry and arid land of Europe, I’m also yearning for him to shake awake the people of this continent – with a fresh desperation for him. I’m pleading with him for a literal blessing on the land, and a spiritual blessing on the people.

And as I’m doing this, I’m sensing God saying: “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” (Deuteronomy 32:2)

It’s as if he’s asking us to return to his teaching; to recall his words; to come back to the Bible – and to allow this to be our source of sustenance again. Perhaps, then, he will send the rain we so desperately need?

If only more of us would take heed.


As you ponder all this, let me ask you three things:

If you are British, or based in Britain, how much have you been talking about the barmy (balmy) weather? How have you been feeling about the heatwaves and wildfires? How do you think you will feel when it next rains?

If you are a Christian, what do you think about the Bible’s perspective on rain? Were you aware that it’s always given as a sign of God’s blessings, both literal on land, and spiritual on people?

And if you have been reading the Bible recently, how has God been speaking to you through it, and how has this refreshed you?

As ever, constructive comments are welcome below.


Please note: This is my ‘thought for the month’ reflection for August. (You can find all my ‘thought for the month’ reflections here.)

Also, if you’re interested in reading a miracle story about God sending rain during a drought, you’ll find one here.

Photo by Mateusz Stępień on Unsplash



  1. Rev Andy Storch Reply

    I have to admit to talking about the weather in most of my weekly emails to my church congregation – and I tend to talk from a totally ego-centric view point. All Summer I have betrayed my delight in good weather, dry weather, heat, whilst giving lip service to the dire warnings about our heatwaves. But for the time being, even as we literally start to run out of water, I have to confess that I still delight in a sunny day!

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thanks for your comment Andy. I understand your delight in seeing the sunshine, especially as the days start to shorten, but I do also think we need to start praying seriously for some rain to replenish our water supplies!

  2. Rev Andy Storch Reply

    P.S. I also remain furious at the water companies though, who pocket so much profit, which they make from not investing or repairing!

  3. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Rain is a blessing and I too confess that I talk about the weather a lot. We have started praying for rain. Like you, I am not just praying for rain in the form of water, but for God’s Spirit to rain down on us and as you say, wake us up, so that we can be ready what is coming next. We all need Jesus in our lives, whether we think we do or not. Thank you again for your blog. Always thought provoking and inspiring.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thanks for your encouragement Janet. I’m so pleased to hear that what I’ve written has been thought provoking and inspiring – and also that you’re praying for rain.

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