Wednesday, February 27, 2013: Muddied Waters
Revelations 22:1-2: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Water burst into the air, jetting straight up from the well we had just drilled into the volcanic El Salvadoran soil. Like a brown fountain, the murky water sprayed high above us in the sunshine, full of drill mud and rock cuttings. A powerful blast of compressed air, carried by a hose running down more than a hundred feet to the bottom of the well, drove the stream.
We stood and watched joyfully, blessed by the sight after three days of patient drilling, and the exhausting work of clearing mud lines and mixing concrete by hand. Gradually the water jet lost its muddy color as the rushing air blew away the impurities caused by our drilling. The unpolluted life-giving water from the deep aquifer replaced the drill mud and cuttings. The fountain became clear and pure. Soon the local villagers would be enjoying clean drinking water, and the well would be protected against contamination by a thick concrete cap supporting a sturdy hand pump.
How often are our lives muddied by the work we do, filled with the gravel and soil of daily life? We may have tapped into a deep vein of God’s pure Spirit, but the cuttings and grindings of our routine existence cloud the flow. Stop, He seems to say, and let My mighty rushing wind blow away the debris. Your work has proceeded far enough, My child, under your own power – be still, and watch as My flame purifies.
Prayer: Father, as we fill our lives with fretting and fury, call us to a quiet place where we can see You at work – and rejoice. Amen.
Nels Hoffman, New Mexico
Children play alongside a sewage-filled ditch in the Maxinde neighborhood near Malanje, Angola, site of a cholera outbreak in 2005. Public health officials are concerned about malaria-carrying mosquitoes breeding in the stagnant water. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.