Cades SC is a crossroads community consisting of two blocks and a few straggling lanes. The blocks were appropriately called the big block and the little block, and for a time the Young household occupied a spot right in the middle of the two. Center street would have been a good name had we bothered to name it.
In our front yard, perhaps ten feet or less from the street, a galvanized pipe came out of the ground. At about six inches above ground, it elbowed toward the street and ran for about another foot. Out of the pipe ran a trickle of the coolest, clearest, sweetest water a boy in summertime ever met. You had to get down on the ground to get your hot cheeks under it, or even better, your mouth. That is a humbling experience for an adult, but to a boy, overheated and dying of thirst, it was, well, the coolest, clearest, sweetest water you could ever imagine. In a word, it was pure joy.
That well must have stopped flowing sometime, but I never saw it. We boys called it (we were so clever at naming things) the flowing well. Adults found it hard to get so low, so they would cup their hands and let the water fill them and then splash their hot face or drink. It didn’t matter how you went about it. It only mattered that it was always there, waiting for you. Whatever was needed that a flowing well could supply, it was there, always.
The well really didn’t belong to anyone. It was an unwritten law that the flowing well was community property. Any thirsty passerby had as much right to it as I had. Maybe more! They had no such blessing in their yard. We had no right to withhold the blessing in ours. The flowing well just happened to be under our stewardship. We kept the grass cut around it, made sure you could get to it, and that was about it. We sure didn’t make it flow and no one wanted it to stop.
If you had told me then that someone would one day conceive the idea of bottling water and selling it to thirsty people, I would have said “Why?” Back then bottles broke. Nowadays they crumple and become landfill. Why would you abandon a flowing well of free water for such as that? Appalling idea! God thinks so too, but on another level.
Jeremiah 2:12-13 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
The church is the steward of living water. We can’t make it flow. We don’t want it to stop. It is our business to make sure that any who are thirsty have access. We can’t make them drink and don’t want to. It isn’t about making. It’s about being thirsty.
Let us pray that the church does not forget her stewardship of living water. And may she be ever so careful to offer no substitutes, however cleverly packaged. May she never dream of selling what has come to her for free. And may she always know that what she offers, she also needs… living water from the living God that we might live for his glory.
Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37-38)
What a Savior!