There were many things I didn’t know about this country before I moved here. I had no idea that there were a quarter of a million Jews with Moroccan nationality in 1940. Or that less than 2% of them still live here. I didn’t know that before the Arabs arrived in the northwest corner of Africa, the Romans came during the time of Jesus. Or that you could see the striking ruins of the city they built along the trade route.
Volubilis is less than two hours by car, and when people are wise enough to visit us in the fall, winter, or spring, it’s a standard stop on our tour.**
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited the site but last month when family was here, I was glad to have another chance to go.
I never get tired of wandering through the ruins of houses with atriums, pools, carved columns, and magnificent mosaic floors.
And yet, what really took my breath away this time were not the inscriptions or the mosaics or the larger public buildings. Instead, I was most struck by these exquisite creations of our creative, creating God.
Year after year, these wildflowers sprout up, untended, unwatered by any earthly gardener. Somehow they find a slice of dirt in the stone cracks, and burst into bloom.
No wonder, Jesus said, “Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these!” [Luke 6:38-39]
2000 years after Volubilis was built, the man-made splendor has almost completely disappeared. The Roman empire fell and people moved on, leaving the buildings to crumble. The olive presses fell into disrepair. The ivory, gold, and bronze were looted. Only a skeleton remains.
But a vivid display of natural beauty goes on, a testimony to God’s creativity and extravagance.
Like expensive perfume ‘wasted’ on the feet of Jesus, these flowers have bloomed for centuries.
They serve no stately purpose in their brief and humble life. How many years have they gone completely unnoticed? Even now they’ll soon be gone, replaced with other flowers that prefer warmer weather. By summer time, the ground will be brown and lifeless. Still they sing out with joy, proclaiming the glory of God.
They are an antidote to winter weariness and lost hope. They are signs of God’s enduring faithfulness and the delight He takes in making all things new.
Let the desert and dry region be happy;
let the wilderness rejoice and bloom like a lily!
Let it richly bloom;
let it rejoice and shout with delight!
What about you? Perhaps when spring comes to where you live, you’ll want to take some time and pay attention to God’s annual show. Get down on your hands and knees if you have to, and enjoy the beauty of His world.
Wise people avoid Volubilis in the summer, when the harsh sun turns the shadeless site into a baking oven.