I meet weekly in the early morning with a small group of writers at a local Starbucks, where we write briefly from word prompts and then share what we have written with each other. Last week, as we approached the end of 2011, we wrote on the topic of gratitude. I wrote mostly about my gratitude for my family and the blessing of being able to see them often. But as my mind has been preoccupied with the upcoming medical mission trip to Nicaragua, I also wrote about my gratitude for those things I most often take too much for granted—a roof over my head, food to eat and access to good medical care. What I neglected to include in my reflection on gratitude was thanksgiving for clean, safe, water that flows from the tap each time I turn it on. Janice, the leader of our medical mission adventure, has been going to Nicaragua on such trips for 15 years now, and she was excited to learn that the place we will be staying has running water with flush toilets and showers. She said on previous trips she has bathed out of a bucket, so this will be luxurious. Nonetheless, she had to make special arrangements for water that will be safe for us to drink. I have found that to be one of the ongoing challenges on prior mission trips. I have to remember not to take a drink from the tap and not to rinse my toothbrush at the tap. I have to remember to pack enough water for the day’s activities from the safe source that has been provided for us. It is so much easier to simply turn on the tap and have all the fresh, clean water I need. In this as in so many other ways, we are blessed in this country. Too many around the world lack access to clean water or to readily available water of any sort. We can live without many of the things we take for granted, but not without water. When I remember that, I realize again the power of Jesus’ assertion that he is living water, the blessed substance without which life is impossible.
Grace and Peace,