In October 1999 Alison and I flew into Townsville airport. Conversations were taking place to see whether the Burdekin should be our next posting.
One thing struck us as the plane descended. Each house was set in a square of green, but the rest looked brown.
We've been here 18 months and, just now, that's the Burdekin too - green cane and brown grass. As we all know, the secret is the large underground sea of fresh water - some forty times the amount of water in Sydney Harbour. The river itself looks more sand than water at the moment - masking the vast secret store beneath the delta region.
We are in the dry tropics. Without that secret store, there's no way we could grow cane, mangoes and other crops. True, we have to top up the underground aquifers from the Burdekin Falls Dam to keep out the salt. But, in broad terms, the farmer just has to sink his spear and pump the water onto his crops.
Here are a couple of verses from the Psalms -
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1.1-3).
And a word from Jesus -
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him (John 7.37b,38).
I urge you, the elected leaders of our community, don't run dry! Emotional and spiritual resources are available for us all if we will just tap into them.
Eternal Father, this is your world. You have appointed us to be stewards here. Forgive us when we have taken absolute ownership. Forgive us that too often we forget you our Maker. Forgive us for those times when we have acted selfishly and unwisely. Forgive us when we run low on wisdom and patience and tolerance and respect and care for the interests of others.
Lord, we live on streams of living water - your gracious provision for our need. Grant us to tap into your presence and your spiritual resources. Guide us with all wisdom in our discussions and decisions today. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin Shire Council devotions, 12 July 2001
Scripture quotations from New International Version © International Bible Society 1984.