Promesas Vacías


Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Sunday, July 31, 2016

A photographic image of a desert in northwest New Mexico.

A drought is a period of insufficient precipitation. [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Jr.*]

The area where we live has experienced a drought for many years. We sometimes receive rain or snow, but it is never enough to change the situation. Occasionally, we experience wind and see clouds that are often harbingers of precipitation. Then we observe in the distance a gray curtain of rain or snow that descends from the sky, but the moisture does not reach the ground. When that happens, we call the process "virga." Because the air near the ground is exceptionally dry, precipitation evaporates before it touches the ground. My husband tells me that virga occurs all over the world and that it is not merely a local phenomenon.

A photographic image of virga flowing out of a mountain wave cloud.

Virga is precipitation that evaporates before it reaches the ground. [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Jr.*]

I wonder if King Solomon was referring to virga when he wrote, "Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain." (Proverbs 25:14 - New King James Version) He had obviously seen clouds and felt the wind that held the promise of rain but that did not result in moisture. As King Solomon observed this activity, he was able to compare it to a person who promises to act but does nothing.

In my mind, I imagine King Solomon standing on a balcony or on the roof of his palace observing dark rain falling from clouds in the distance but not reaching the earth.

Since that time, kings have come and gone, governments have changed, borders have shifted, and countries have been absorbed by other nations that are more powerful, but weather patterns have not changed. They remain the same now as they were in King Solomon's time, and they will continue in the years to come.

Today, as I watch the virga on the horizon that contains the promise of moisture but doesn't deliver rain to the earth, I can't help but be amazed that thousands of years ago, a king stood observing similar clouds, and said to himself, "How like people they are!"


Proverbs 25:14 — Whoever falsely boasts of giving Is like clouds and wind without rain. (New King James Version)

Proverbios 25:14 — Como nubes y vientos sin lluvia, Así es el hombre que se jacta de falsa liberalidad. (Reina-Valera 1960)

A photographic image of virga in central New Mexico.

Thousands of years ago, King Solomon saw clouds that failed to deliver rain and observed, "How like people they are!" [Photographer: Morris S. Webb, Jr.*]

* Please do not use our original photos without our permission. These include photos by Mary Hunt Webb, Morris Webb, Jr., Morris Webb, Sr., and C.B. Hunt. Thank you.

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