CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
I have always been fascinated by Jesus’ references to water. He lived in a land where water was important because there was so little of it. So did I.
When I grew up on the farm, we had no indoor plumbing. Clean water had to be carried in in buckets and dirty water had to be carried out in other buckets.
The water came from a cistern and a well. The cistern caught water off the roof of the house. It was covered by boards. We dipped a bucket in to get the water that we used for washing clothes and other household chores. The well had a pump with a long handle. We kept a jar of water beside it to “prime” it so that it would produce.
It was a deep well and so the water was good. We used it for drinking and cooking. During long summers, though, it would go dry. So did the cistern. It was then that I had to go to the Heathman’s house to carry water in a bucket. Their house was up a hill on our little gravel road, about the distance equivalent of two city blocks. A family of six needed a lot of water. That made for a lot of trips up and down the hill.
My right shoulder is lower than my left. I think that was from carrying water with my right arm from age ten, before I had stopped growing. When my wife made my first pulpit robe, she had to allow for that low shoulder.
We always washed out of a shallow basin on a wash stand. I never took a shower or a bath until I went to college. In college I lived in a decrepit old leftover BOQ building from WWII. It had a very ugly and dank shower room. But it had plenty of water. I thought it was wonderful.
I am careful with water. I don’t waste it, even now, when it comes out of a faucet or a shower head. I know what it’s like not to have water. So does most of the world. WWIII may well be about water rather than oil.
Jesus knew that, too, which is one of the reasons he counts giving water to the thirsty as a chief obligation of his followers. [Matthew 25:44.]
We get caught up too easily in the stories of Jesus turning water into wine and walking on the water. Were those signs he was the Christ? Of course not. Those were just possibilities of the moment. His insistence that anyone who is thirsty should have a drink, especially when the water runs low, now that, I think, is what makes him the Savior.
I tweet occasionally as yooper1721.