“. . .they have no idea how sweet the water is. And heaven forbid we go near the mud. . .”
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Luke 3:4
How can we be the voice of one, prepare the way of the Lord?
It’s just a matter of loving people for Jesus, of being willing to share what we have been so freely given. That’s all he wants from us, to tell people where the water is. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus once asked for a swig of water?
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10
Several years ago when we were still raising cattle on the Heyu—cow Ranch we had a nearly snow-less winter, boy, those were the days—wouldn’t that be nice? Well it was till it was followed by a very dry spring and summer which would turn out to be just the start of several years of drought in Montana—the early 2000’s.
No snow followed by pathetic spring rains meant that there was no water in the reservoirs, reservoirs that we depended on to water the cows in the summer months. Donna and I had about thirty cow calf pairs when the water started disappearing. I remember we had gone away for the weekend, and when we got back we went to the upper pasture to check on our cows.
It had already been very hot for several weeks and when we went to check the reservoir in that pasture what we saw was a mud hole where there used to be water, with several cows standing knee deep in the mud sucking water out of the hoof prints.
We immediately went and hauled a big water trough up to them and I had to start hauling water to the cows every day with a tank in my truck. This was an expensive and time consuming proposition, a cow can drink 20 or 30 gallons of water a day when it’s hot out. And a black cow in the summer sun won’t last long without water. Finally we were forced to bring the cows back to winter pasture near the house so we could more readily get water to them but we did not have grass or water for that many cows. We decided to sell about half of them.
Now the cows knew this pasture, they knew it had two water holes in it but they were both dried up to nothing but mud also, so I put a the water tank in the corner of the barn yard pasture and kept it full of cold clean water. The cows knew what a water tank was so they didn’t have much trouble figuring out where the water was—so I thought.
A few days later I ran the cows up into the barnyard so we could sort out the ones we were going to sell, I noticed that one of the cows, was caked with mud from her feet to her belly, some dry, some still wet, her face was also caked with mud. While I was trying to get her into the corral so I could load her into the truck, she ran by the water tank, suddenly stopped and dropped her head into the water and started sucking like she had not drank in days— I then realized she hadn’t.
She had spent three days down in the big coulee trying to suck water out of the mud in the place she knew there was supposed to be water. My first thought was, “Why didn’t the other cows tell her where the water was?” Now I don’t know how much cows can communicate to one another but I know they are herd animals and there are never too many secrets among them.
I decided she wasn’t going to town on that load and kept her around a couple more days so she could recover before being shipped. I don’t even want to imagine how thirsty she must have been. That explains why she was covered in mud.
Share the water
That’s what the world is doing, sucking mud, trying to survive another day hoping that they can somehow, someday, finally quench their thirst before it’s too late. They might see us all huddled around the water tank doing things they don’t understand, not paying any attention to them except to maybe holler that they are killing themselves down there in the mud. But they have no idea what we are doing, they have no idea how sweet the water is. And heaven forbid we go near the mud. . .
When we find the water it’s tempting to just plunge our heads in and drink, to drink and rejoice that we have found what we needed forgetting the past but we cannot forget those who are still thirsty, who may not even know where the water is— or they heard rumors that it isn’t real, it’s just a big tank full of pamphlets that describe what water used to taste like—but it’s just a myth—there is no water anymore.
But there is plenty of mud, sweet wonderful mud—just keep sucking—Stupid Christians anyway.
We can no longer just hang out around the water tank and hope people come see what we’re doing. We have to bring the water to the people. Once they taste the sweet life giving water the mud will not look so good anymore.
We do that by loving people for Jesus, all people all the time.
We have to get away from the mob at the water tank (at the church) sometimes and be the voice of one.
We have to get over our aversion to people who are covered in mud, the mud of sin. In their minds they are only doing what they think they have to do to get through another day —without water.