“It is one thing for the living water to descend from Christ into the heart, and another thing how–when it has descended–it moves the heart to worship. All power of worship in the soul, is the result of the waters flowing into it, and their flowing back again to God.” –G.V. Wigram
This is how the renovations on our 1920’s home began: Broken pipes in the upstairs bathroom creating brown rusty spots on the pristine ceiling of the Community Room. The plumber became our #1 guy and the pipes our first priority. After a quick short term repair and contracting a plan, the work began to replace miles of disintegrating pipes throughout the three stories of our home. Faucets and sinks and toilets were removed and sent for recycling as well as the old rusted water heater. As the old pipes were taken out our home became a deconstructed dry and waterless mess. And although there are several wells on the property, none of them could supply water for drinking, cleaning, or bathing. It was during those hot, dry summer days I contemplated more than ever the sad fact that 783 million people around the world do not have access to clean water (United Nations Facts and Figures). I came to a deeper understanding of how it feels to be without accessible water. Also, knowing that my situation was only temporary created a deeper generosity for those who face a waterless world everyday. It also reminded me of John’s story of the woman who encountered Jesus at the local well. She thirsted, too. And Jesus offered her water “welling up to eternal life.” That summer, during those plumbing weeks the 4th Chapter of John became a daily study for me and I learned a lot about spiritual watering and being filled by the eternal brand of water that Christ offers.
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14(NIV)
Finally the new pipes and fixtures arrived. Our plumber replaced the maze of tubes and fixtures and tested each connection for flow and leaks. Each time, the sound of running water was a flow of music throughout the house. And then one day I arrived at the house and our plumber was beaming with a smile from ear to ear. “It’s here!” he called out to me as I was getting out of my car. “It’s all installed. You have hot water!” Hot water. A simple thing I have taken for granted most of my life. Hot water. Blessed words coming from my plumber. We hurried down to the belly of the basement and he showed me the masterpiece of his work, the tah-dah of his creation…the water heating, filtration, pumping system. He demonstrated the flow of the water through the filtration system and explained the mystery of how the new pump brought the water in from the well and up to the highest levels of the house. And then…he revealed the new tankless water heater. But as he explained about heat settings and fuses I could only stare at the logo on the unusual silver box in front of me.
- *note: “Eternal Hybrid” is a brand name for the water heater and the logo used by Grand Hall company for this product.
The word “eternal” was embossed into the silver metal along with a logo that appeared to stylize a sideways water drop into a dove-like emblem. Eternal water. Holy Spirit. What could have been more appropriate for the sanctuary we are creating for our guests?
Arthur Baer, a 19th Century journalist described a plumber as “an adventurer who traces leaky pipes to their source.” I would surely describe our plumber as that, but would also add that he has provided a way for me to connect to The Source. Our washer and dryer are just across the room from that water system so doing the laundry has now become a moment of meditation and reflection. Each time I am in that holy space I remember my dry summer studies and feel quite connected to that woman at the well with Jesus. And then my spiritual thirst is quenched.
*note: “Eternal Hybrid” is a brand name for the water heater and the logo used by Grand Hall company for this product.
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