The day after I write this article, I have the privilege to travel with a team from my congregation to the Colon region of Honduras.
Partnering with Living Water International, we will work to drill a well that, when functioning (hopefully by the time we leave), will provide clean, safe drinking water to a community that doesn't currently have that resource. While we don't know many details about the community where we'll be serving, we do know that, due to the lack of a protected source of safe water, families often have to walk long distances for that precious commodity, or suffer the consequences of water-borne illnesses.
Because of our ongoing partnership with this particular ministry, we already have seen the joy and celebration of other communities in Peru, India, Zambia and Haiti as they pump fresh water for the first time. When we've been able to see pictures of those celebrations, I've often been reminded of something that Jesus said. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says to his followers, "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward." (10:42).
The average temperature in Honduras this time of year is close to 90 degrees, with significant humidity. Can you imagine how refreshing a cup of cold, fresh water will taste in that kind of weather? I am profoundly humbled by the honor we have to help share that life-giving gift with some of God's children.
But I also am reminded of the times that others have shared that kind of thirst-quenching gift with me - not necessarily a cup of cold water, to be sure. I think about the last time I was in Honduras, which was many years ago as a seminary student. One day, we traveled to a remote mountain community, Monte de la Virgen, that 17 families called home. As we arrived, we were invited to stay with one of those families. In advance of our arrival, this wonderful family had moved all of its belongings into one room of its two-room home. On top of that, they had gathered and spread fresh pine needles over the entire earth floor of what would be our room to make our stay more comfortable. The next morning, the women of the community began before dawn making fresh tortillas to provide for our lunch and the whole village refused to eat anything until we had eaten at least seconds.
Their hospitality and generous spirits toward these complete strangers from thousands of miles away felt like a cup of cold water on a 95-degree day. They shared what they had in a way that gave life to some weary travelers.
Whether it's welcoming the stranger, sharing the gifts that we have or traveling to a faraway place in mission, each of us has the opportunity, joy, and I think the command from Jesus to find folks in our lives whose spirits seem parched and to offer them something to refresh their lives. Then one day we will hear Him say to us, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:35-36.
- Leland is the pastor at Faith United Methodist Church in Montoursville.