Cleaning it Up


Lenten Reflection on Numbers 20:1-11

I remember my mom telling me that sometimes “nothing quenches your thirst like a cool glass of water”. She often would say that when I was asking for a glass of soda. Yet, in time I began ti understand what my mom was talking about. After cutting the grass in the summer sun or playing a game of little league baseball nothing did the trick like a glass of water.

Water refreshes in a way that most things can’t. I don’t always like drinking it but it is true. Water is essential and the good news is water is cheap and accessible. Well, except when it isn’t. Water scarcity used to be something that we read about in other countries. Churches and other organizations would go to these countries and dig wells and provide access to this basic human need.

Lately things have been changing. Recently we have heard about huge problems in the water supply in California. Even more recently we have been shown inside the man made disaster in Flint, Mi. Water doesn’t seem so cheap and accessible anymore. It is a crisis and it is growing out of control.

In the 20th chapter of Numbers the people are wandering and without water. Moses goes to God and shares the need, God gives an answer. Moses is instructed to use his staff and to get water from a rock. it is a powerful story of God’s care for his people. Yet, it doesn’t really give us any answers of how to deal with the mess today. I don’t think telling the people to bank on rocks in Flint is going to solve the problem.

Yet, I do believe there exists a direction inside the text. It is the reality of who God is and who we are. God is the provider but yet sends Moses to handle the need. God is all powerful but uses the power of people to overcome the obstacle. God is all loving but uses the people to show that love to the people of Israel by leading them out of captivity.

The answer to the water crisis is us. Well not just us but us working through the power of God. It is us being God’s hands and feet. It is God’s grace being shared with the world through you and I. It is us living out that imago dei that exists in each of us.

When we start living our lives in that way, things like Flint, Mi. do not happen. When we live our lives claiming our identity as children of God, racism ends. When we stop living for ourselves and instead live for God then life changes for everyone.

That thought is even more refreshing than a clean, crisp glass of water.


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