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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Water - it' so precious!

When NASA, etc., send probes to Mars in order to seek signs of life, the one thing above all that they look for is H2O - water!  This is because, for life as we know it, water is absolutely essential

In France, water is metered.  Residents pay for what they actually use.  For us, used to paying a flat water rate regardless of usage, this has meant becoming somewhat creative in our use, and recycling, of that precious commodity.  When we are here, in France (and I know that the same thing applies to other countries, and even to some parts of the U.K.). we are more conscious than usual of the value of water.

For some of course, the lack of fresh, clean, water is the source of disease and even death.  That is why a number of Christian organisations, and individuals, work to provide proper water facilities for those who do not have them.  Our good friends, Chas and Jenny Tanner, continue to work on water projects (among other things) in Nepal.  In Wishaw Baptist Church, members have been supporting the organisation Samaritan's Purse, in an annual project to provide good water supplies.  These, and others, are worthy of any financial support that any readers of this blog feel led to offer!

Water is also referred to, many times, in the Scriptures of the New Testament.  Perhaps one of the best-known incidents that has a "high water content" (!) is recorded in John 2.  It's the account of the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, to which Jesus and His disciples had been invited.   Then, the unthinkable happened!   Their supply of wine ran out.  In a culture in which hospitality has a very high place, such a thing would have been an embarrassment at any time - but at a wedding!  This would have been the cause of great shame for the family.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there and immediately went to her Son to inform Him of this disastrous set of circumstances.  His immediate reaction seems to be rather negative (and this post is not the place to go into that topic!), but He did tell the servants to fill six large stone jars (each holding between 20 and 30 gallons!)  with water!  What a strange command!  But those servants had been well trained, and simply did what Jesus told them to do (as, indeed, Mary had instructed them).  They were than told to draw some out, and take it to the Master of Ceremonies.  When he tasted it, being something of a connoisseur, he called the bridegroom over and said "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." (John 2:10).

What a difference it would make in the world, in the Church, and in the lives of individual believers, if all who claim the name of Christ were to be as obedient as those Galilean servants were.  Sadly, most of us tend to question; to doubt; even to rebel!  By doing so, we not only lose out ourselves; we also ensure that others miss the opportunity to enjoy the sparkle that Jesus brings to life.  Not that being His disciple is a guarantee of an easy life in which everything falls into place to suit us!  Indeed, in spite of the message (I would claim, 'false message') preached by those in the so-called 'prosperity gospel' movement, the very opposite is more likely to be the case.  Those in the Persecuted Church know, more than any of us in the "West", what the true cost of discipleship is.  They know what it is to bear, in their bodies, the marks of Jesus (see Gal.6:17).  Many are imprisoned, in the most terrible of conditions; many are banished from home. village, country; many are martyred - sometimes parents being shot, or hacked, to death in front of their children.

However, such as these, who have drunk of the water of life (see Jn.4:14), are assured of eternal life - and that is immeasurably precious!

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