Monday, July 18, 2011

    Meeting Jesus Over a Cup of Cold Water

    Sometimes we are so focused on bearing the image of Christ to others that we forget that "the other" just might be sharing Christ with us!

    Is it possible to encounter Christ in the simple act of sharing a cold cup of water? Several weeks ago during our local mission trip, we spent an afternoon attempting to hand out bottled water to people in the city.

    Near the Arch, we spotted some people huddled under a highway overpass.  We decided to see if they might want some water and we began arguing over who would bring it to them. Let me be clear: we weren't arguing because everyone wanted to do it. In fact, no one wanted to do it.  It was a little scary, walking up to strangers who were hidden in the shadows of the overpass, not knowing what sort of reception we might find.  

    Finally, two youth and one adult stepped forward.  One teen asked, "What do we say to them?  Do we have to talk about Jesus?"  Our reply: "No.  You don't have to talk about Jesus. You will be Jesus."  And so off they went, with a cooler of bottled water. One of the youth reported that as they approached the people, one person appeared to be pointing something at them.  "A gun?" he wondered.  No, one of the persons was simply pointing out that our group was entering their "space."  The three homeless persons welcomed our three, graciously accepted the gift of water, and as our group turned to leave, one of the strangers said, "God bless you."

    Wow. Here we thought we were the ones coming to share God with them, but in fact God was already there!  And they were sharing God's blessing with us.  It was a reminder that even as we Christians engage in mission to help those in need, we'd better be prepared to encounter God in the most unlikely places and to receive Christ's hospitality in the guise of people we would least suspect. And sometimes this profound learning can happen over an act as simple as sharing a bottle of water.

    Whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward. - Matthew 10: 42