A CUP OF COLD WATER
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
I guess it was the heat wave last summer that drew my attention to the part of today’s Gospel reading that talks about giving someone a cup of cold water. We probably wouldn’t attach much significance to offering someone a cup of cold water, but, in today’s text, Jesus puts great emphasis on this small act. This seemingly trivial act represents something that is very important to the nature of a Christian because it is very important to the nature of Christ – the attitude of servanthood. Jesus said that the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Jesus talks about a cup of water. That cup of water can be the smallest of gifts or the largest of gifts. A cup of water given to someone who is hot and tired and thirsty is a gift of refreshment that brings the body back to life. A cup of water given to someone who is dying of thirst is a heaven-sent blessing that keeps life in the body. Either way, when done as an act of Christian love, it’s important. Also important is the fact that Jesus used water for his example. Next to oxygen, water is the most important ingredient for maintaining life. The use of water as our example tells us to look to do things that are necessary. And, again, you don’t have to think too big to find things that are necessary. This cup of water that you give might be a hug and a shoulder to cry on at the funeral home. This cup of water might be volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center. This cup of water might be buying lunch for the man holding the sign that reads will work for food; or any of a million other small acts of love that no one but the Lord sees. Remember, no act of love is so small it escapes His attention. The cup of water that you offer when you witness to an unbeliever isn’t just ordinary water that refreshes the body. No. This is the life-giving water that becomes a spring of living water that wells up in the soul. This is the water that Jesus offered the Samaritan woman at the well. This is the water that quenches the thirst of the soul. This is the good news of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful cup of water to offer someone! Mind you, Jesus lived in a semi-arid region without benefit of refrigeration. In that place and at that time, there would have been a big difference between offering someone a cup of water and offering them a cup of cold water. To offer a cup of cold water would have meant that you went out of your way, you did something special, you went beyond just doing what was necessary. How does that translate into the real world? Love is a tangible thing. It can be felt. Not with the fingers, but with the heart. Our acts of Christian love, our cups of cold water, can’t be just mechanical responses to a need. They must be heartfelt acts of servitude performed as the visible hands and feet of Jesus on earth. They must overflow from the love that we have received so that others can see Jesus in us and praise Him. They must show that we are only giving from what we have been given so they begin to want. CLERGY MONTHLY MEETING“Equipping the Saints”JULY 8, 2017 Saturday 7AM - LFMA When you give someone a cup of cold water, whether your money, your talent, your skill, your time, or even your love and compassion, you are only giving away something that doesn’t belong to you anyway. You’re only giving away something that you wouldn’t have if it wasn’t given to you in the first place. The cup of cold water that you offer isn’t your cold water – it’s Christ’s, bought and paid for on the cross.