This morning I watched a video of a man building a swimming pool by hand, deep in the jungle somewhere. He uses only handmade tools and the strength of his body for the task. He has one small pail to fill with earth and water. The pool will sit on a second-floor balcony of a hand-built bamboo hut, a beautiful place to relax.
Every time he needs more soil, he climbs out of the swimming hole, walks down a set of stairs, and fills his vessel. He climbs back up the stairs and dumps the earth into the hole, again and again. He chops down bamboo, thick and strong, with a handmade machete. He measures, working with careful precision. He hammers the split bamboo into soft mud to create yet another layer of insulation. And finally, he begins trip after trip to a stream to get enough water to fill the pool.
When it’s finally full, he jumps in and splashes around, enjoying his creation.
This is how I imagine Isaiah’s beloved working on his vineyard: hand tools, the sweat pouring from his body, muscles tight from the work. He makes trip after trip up the hill to tend the earth and build up a protective fortress and vat for the hoped-for produce. Eventually he plants the best vines and the grapes begin to grow.
The beloved reaches for them with much anticipation. They will be sweet! They will be choice! They will burst in his mouth!
But no. They are wild.
It is as if the man in the jungle had jumped into his new swimming pool only to have it crash down through the roof of the rooms below.
How would you react to such a disappointment? Think about a time when you worked really hard on something only to have it fail.
Lord, make us sensitive to the words of Isaiah and the work of his beloved. Open our hearts and minds to the things you would have us to see and the ways you would have us to grow. Amen.