The Tortoise Test

The Tortoise Test

Sunday, June 20, 2004
| 1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15a

The Desert Tortoise can go a year without water, but has to spend 95 percent of his life in underground burrows. It’s a life that must have seemed attractive to Elijah, who wondered if he had the resources to survive the hostility of the desert.

Deserts are harsh, ruthless and unforgiving places.

Even when they are breathtakingly beautiful.

The arid days are blisteringly hot, and the bone-dry nights are bitterly chilling. It may not rain for an entire year, and when, and if, it finally rains, it may downpour, and then teasingly and uselessly run off.

Water is everything in the desert. Hoarded and saved, water is nothing less than life in the desert. Without it, nothing survives.

Most of us wouldn’t survive half a week in any desert, after being dropped off out there, without our SPF 40, AC, bottled water and a ride home. The closest some of us ever get to survival in the desert is poolside in Scottsdale or a hotel room in Sin City.

That’s why the Desert Tortoise of the Mojave is such a fascinating creature. It survives and thrives in the desert, and by doing so, establishes a Tortoise Test by which we can measure our alone survivability.

How does the tortoise do it?

He gets a lot of sleep. He goes to bed at the reasonable hour of ...

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