It was ten days till I flew to Oregon and we had no water. The simplest way that I can describe what happened to Shane and I is our water main broke. When I asked him exactly what was wrong, he went into far greater detail, all I know is, for two days we didn’t have water and suddenly we had a huge ditch dug by the house and the old, hand dug well was open and Shane and his dad were looking in trying to figure out what to do.
The water trouble started before I was a mere ten days out. It started about last Thursday, when at that moment, it just seemed like a pump went bad and we had no water for the rest of that evening and until Shane got a new pump. But come Sunday, and we were waterless again. So by Labor day, pipes were getting dug up and assessed, and Tuesday, Shane was juggling work calls and emails while helping his dad install new pipes.
For what ever reason, though things seemed fixed, we again ran out of water this past Thursday into Friday. Our well was simply dry. This has never, ever happened before. If I hadn’t been anxious about the water issues at ten days out from Oregon, I now certainly was.
This brings to mind the story in John 4 where Jesus meets the woman at the well. I thought it was a pain having to haul water from the creek that runs through our property, around 150 yards downhill from our house, for various things. But back in those days, it wasn’t because someone’s water happened to not be working that you would go to the well. Everyone, every day had to have water, and the one source for it was the well outside of town.
When Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Of course the woman said back, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
It would be such a relief for anyone to not have to worry about water any more. It is a concept we don’t necessarily deal with daily, we just turn the faucet and there is the water. We are aware it is something we need daily, but there isn’t the daily struggle surrounding it generally. When we can’t get to it, it creates issues. The need for it would be magnified back then, no faucets, just a well, simply the physical labor alone in gathering water each day just to quench ones thirst, man oh man. She thought that was the type of relief Jesus was offering her, this daily task would be avoided, and for her, this daily task was made more difficult because of her shameful lifestyle. Because of her history, she didn’t go to the well in the cool mornings like the other woman from the town, she went midday when it would be hot and extra uncomfortable.
She came when she could avoid other people. But not that day. That day, she met Jesus, and he was willing to talk to her and change her life. Jesus went beyond her temporary physical discomfort, Jesus cared about her soul. He used an image used before to describe himself, like in the book of Jeremiah where is says the Lord is the spring of living water in chapter 17 verse 13, but it would’ve been SO relevant to this woman getting water, midday, at the well.
We seem to finally have water again and this little hiccup before my trip to Oregon has reminded me that God cares. Someone hearing this might exclaim, “Wait, you think that is God showing how he cares?” I do. First, we got water again, we had to really assess our water source and it gave us a good heads up as to what we will eventually one day need to replace. Second, at least it happened in September and not mid January with frozen earth! Third, I got a much better image of how important water is, and how I need to be more grateful for it. Besides that, having family offer their washers and showers reminded me of how blessed I am to be a part of this family and live where I live. While I don’t have the daily task of hauling water from the well like the woman in the story, for those couple of days of no water, I could just barely imagine the relief she might’ve felt hearing she would never have to thirst again, but love knowing that Jesus was referring to more than just physical thirst and to our spiritual need and no matter what our circumstance or past, he cares.