The temperature was hovering somewhere just above 90 degrees and the humidity, apparently needing to compete, added to the intensity.

From the shade of the back porch, I delighted in the variety of birds, grackles with iridescent-colored wings, purple-breasted starlings, tiny sparrows, and finches, taking turns splashing in and drinking from the bird baths and water-filled saucers in the back yard.  A bit later I wandered both front and back yards to check the water levels of the receptacles knowing how busy these "public baths" can be, especially on days as hot as this one.  The liquid had been pretty much depleted, and then I noticed the green residue around the edges of some of the bowls.  While being fairly attentive to keeping the containers filled, I was reminded how easily algae can grow in the sunlight and heat.  And I hadn't been as careful to clean the green and move the containers to shadier spots to prevent the growth.  Though offering liquid refreshment and a place to cool off, my "hospitality" seemed to be lacking.

This got me to thinking about my interaction with others.  Have there been, are there times, when someone has come to me, thirsting for a drink, needing refreshment from the heat of life's circumstances, hoping for a temporary respite?  And what has been, what is my response?

If I am following the example of Jesus, it must be more than simply setting out a bowl and remembering to refill it.  I must be attentive, offer hospitality that includes a response that is pure, clean, non-judgmental or perhaps simply listening without feeling the need to give advice.  I need to provide a shady spot where limbs of love provide shelter and encourage growth that is healthy and life-giving.

As an earthen vessel, Spirit-filled, may what I offer be as truly refreshing as The Living Water that has been shared with me.


Deacon Martha