It occurs to me that rainbows have a great deal in common with Jesus. When we see a rainbow, we see a magnificent, beautifully colored arc across a vast expanse of sky. It has the power to transfix one with its awesome presence, its beauty. It is clean, it is perfect, and the colors are always in perfect order.
For all of this, perhaps the most interesting thing about the rainbow is that it is not really there, up in the sky. Rainbows are seen by the eye when there is rain or much water vapor in the sky opposite the sun (the sun must be behind the observer and low on the horizon). The light from the sun is refracted (bent) within, and reflected by, the water droplets. Because the water droplets bend different colors (light frequencies) differently, the colors seen in a rainbow are always in the same order, top to bottom.
The refractions and reflections are just physics, of course, but take away the eye, the observer, and there is no rainbow. There is nothing up there in the sky but light and water droplets in no particular order. Further, if two people stand side by side, they will see two different rainbows since a rainbow’s arc is always centered exactly on the observer. Another interesting property of the rainbow is that if an observer moves toward it, the rainbow retreats an equal distance.
Some folks say there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But as we have seen, it wouldn’t matter if it were a pot of gold or everlasting life, one can’t move any closer to it, no matter how hard he tries, because the rainbow only exists in the mind And, of course, it’s absurd to think that one could follow something that isn’t really there to its source.