To residents of Florida, a passage condemning the practice of building a house on sand is confusing. We know from experience that building a house on sand is a very good thing. Sand’s ability to compact and drain well are just a few benefits of building on sand. To understand what Jesus is saying in this passage, one must first realize that it is not the material on which homes are constructed that Jesus is condemning, it’s the location where the house is built.
When Jesus speaks these words he is referring to someone who built their house in the bottom of a wadi, or a canyon in the desert created by flood waters. The ground of a wadi is normally a finely grained sand ideal for building. Issues arise with houses in the wadi’s when it rains in the mountains, sometimes hundreds of miles away. The amount of water that is dumped on these mountains cannot be absorbed and it must go somewhere. It rushes down the mountains through the canyons that have been cut over thousands of years. When a flash flood comes, someone in a wadi may only have seconds to get out of the way before the flood waters sweep them away.
Someone who hears the words of Jesus and does not put them into practice has build a house in an area where they will quickly be knocked over when the rough waters of life rise with tremendous force. But someone who hears the words of Jesus and heeds them will be able to withstand even the most powerful of floods.
Almighty God, help me to live the words of Jesus so that when “life” happens, I am able to withstand its force with your help. Amen.