Unexpected gifts by unexpected people. God breaking into the ordinary. I was on my way to a healing service on a cold dark night, and drew into park off the busy road. A smile and wave met me as I pulled the car in. This was surprising, as no- one except the priest knew that I would be attending, and the smile was one of recognition. ” Ah there you are, at last!” Getting out of my car, the gifter -of -welcome ran towards me holding a small bottle of water. “I got this for you- for your car” she smiled shyly and ran back into the shadows. A lady I barely knew- a ‘fringe person’ from church who drops in occasionally, and whom I had once welcomed. Now she welcomed me – with a gift and and a smile. She had clearly been expecting me, and was very pleased that I had come. How did she know? Why did she buy me a bottle of water ‘ for the car’ .. for the journey? I thanked her warmly and went in.
The unexpected nature of the encounter stayed with me. I have learned over the years that God often breaks into the ordinary- sending blessings that are almost in disguise. I need to be attentive to notice and receive, and perhaps that is part of the point? Water for the journey. A draft of refreshment when it is needed. Angels unawares. Elijah, when he is running from Jezebel’s persecution is weary in body and spirit, and feels he can go no further. Spent, he lies down hoping never to wake up. An angel gently wakes him, whispering ‘ “Arise and eat”. He looked, and behold there was a cake baked on the coals, and a bottle of water at his head. And he ate and drank and lay down again’ ( 1 Kings 19 Amplified) He sleeps, and again is woken by the angel’s touch. “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”
Sometimes the journey is too much, and God meets our weariness with gentle, practical love. Sleep and food/water. Perspectives can be distorted by weary bodies and stressed out, fearful minds. What is small fry one day ( Elijah had just trounced the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel) becomes huge. A threat too far. A mountain too high to climb. With rest and refreshment, Elijah journeyed on towards Mt Horeb, where he was to hear ‘God’s still small voice’.
Thirst is a basic need that is designed to keep our bodies alive and functioning. We do well to heed our inner prompts to take on more fluid.. ( though our choice of that fluid, perhaps sometimes needs wisdom!) Travelers are advised always to take plenty of fluids and to keep a bottle of water handy. Thirst however, is also a basic spiritual need, telling us when we are dry and in need of replenishment. Sadly, this inner prompt is often set to ‘override’ and we ignore our spirits pleas for nurture because we are too busy, and stopping for water is an interruption we can’t afford just now. Later.
Step in an ‘angel’ bearing a gift of water.. with a smile. Water for the journey.