Watering our Souls

Many believers behave like the foolish gardener. They espouse faith in Messiah and find relationship with God, but they do not nurture that faith and relationship by regularly watering it with the study of the Word.

Watering a young plant. Any skill we want to acquire takes commitment and a routine of daily discipline (Photo: © Bigstock)

Ha'azinu

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Ha'azinu (האזינו | Listen)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52
  • Haftarah: 2 Samuel 22:1-51
  • Gospel: John 6:26-35

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 31:30 | The Song of Moses
    • Deuteronomy 32:48 | Moses' Death Foretold
  • Prophets
    • 2 Samuel 22:1 | David's Song of Thanksgiving

Portion Summary

The word Ha'azinu (האזינו) literally means "give ear," an expression meaning "Listen to this." It is also the name of the fifty-third and second-to-last reading from the Torah. It is the first word of the Song of Moses, which begins with the words "Give ear (Ha'azinu), O heavens, and let me speak" (Deuteronomy 32:1). This Torah portion is only a single chapter long, and the majority of it consists of the Song of Moses. The Song of Moses is a prophetic oracle warning Israel about apostasy to come and the resulting wrath of God. The song looks far into the future, even envisioning the Messianic advent amid rich and frightening apocalyptic imagery. After the conclusion of the song, Moses is told to ascend Mount Nebo and overlook the Promised Land before dying.


Moses compared the people of Israel to the grass and the Torah that he had taught them to life-giving water. Moses prayed that his teaching would be to Israel like rain and dew, which water the grass and vegetation: "Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb" (Deuteronomy 32:2).

The Apostle Paul used the same metaphor in 1 Corinthians 3. Because he was the first to bring the Corinthian believers to faith, he compared himself to a man who plants seed. Because his colleague Apollos had brought teaching to the Corinthians, Paul compared Apollos to one who waters the seed:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

We need to be watered daily with the teaching of God's Word.

Consider the story of a foolish gardener. In the spring he planted some seeds and watered them. He was pleased when they began to grow, and he assumed that he could simply wait for the harvest. He did not think to water the young plants again. "After all, I have already watered them," he said to himself. The plants shriveled up and died.

Many believers behave like the foolish gardener. They espouse faith in Messiah and find relationship with God, but they do not nurture that faith and relationship by regularly watering it with the study of the Word. To live successful lives of faith, we need to drink from the water of the Bible on a regular, daily basis.

Another example: Consider the discipline it takes to achieve a black belt in martial arts. How do you become a black belt in karate? It requires regular lessons, daily practice, and that certain tests must be successfully passed. Do you really think it is easier to be a believer and a disciple of the Master than it is to become a black belt in karate?

Just as any skill we want to acquire takes commitment and a routine of daily discipline, so does discipleship. We need to be spending time in prayer, doing good deeds, and reading and studying our Bibles on a regular basis, not just once in a while. Would a person who practiced his karate skills as regularly as you are reading your Bible would ever advance by even a single belt?

The Torah of Moses is like dew and rain that water our souls and enable us to grow into spiritual maturity.

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