I have always loved the sound of water in its various forms. Well, water in motion against surfaces. Like when the timbre of cold water running and hitting a hard surface turns thinner, brighter, and higher pitched upon getting hot. What a reminder that you have received the luxurious gift of getting a hot bath. And the sound of a swishing dishwasher sings you to slumber reminding you that you had food to eat and people gathered around your table with whom to share it. I could go on and on and on.
So much of my life revolves around water, honestly. In fact, there are four pretty regular occurrences in my life-routine with my children: (1) cooking, (2) washing dishes, (3) doing laundry, and (4) bathing them.
And so, I’ve been looking in the scriptures lately on water and what I can know as I feel water on my hands and as I pour water on the heads of my babies in the evenings.
Jacob and Rachel began after a drink from the well, really. Seas were split, floods covered, people were baptized and healed in water, and, of course, there was Jesus’ first miracle of changing water into wine. People have argued this passage as a support for drinking. To me, it’s like all Kingdom things – there is much more than meets the eye. Would Jesus have really made this huge spectacle and performed his first of all signs and miracles to okay a beer here and there? Grab a Woodchuck and chill out! Again, there is much more, I believe. Water is not just water. Water is God’s instrument.
C.S. Lewis says “Each miracle writes for us in small letters something that God has already written, or will write, in letters almost too large to be noticed, across the whole canvas of nature.” He says that this is what Jesus is doing: He is overleaping the elements of time, of growth, gathering, crushing and fermenting. He takes water---an inorganic, non-living, commonplace substance---and without a word, without a gesture, without any laying on of hands, in utter simplicity, the water becomes wine, an organic liquid, a product of fermentation, belonging to the realm of life. Thus he demonstrated his marvelous ability to master the processes of nature.
As a mother, it is easy for me to see my role as functional, mundane. Where is the “all things new” that scripture talks about when every day starts just as it ends? And then, as if I’m Phil in Groundhog Day, it all repeats. It’s always hard to see things when you’re in them, you know? And yet, Mary herself, raised her children and would’ve been doing these day-to-day tasks too. Washing, cleaning, feeding, running hands in water. Day in, day out. And God chose to use a homemaker – the one who wipes noses and bottoms to bring His son into the world. Jesus Himself began enveloped in the water of a womb.
Brother Lawrence reminds us “we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” What I am seeing is that I, like Mary, have the capacity to see the Son of God birthed anew daily in my home. Little hands break bread daily. I have the opportunity to wash fruit, wash dishes, wash diapers, wash walls, and see that Jesus is overleaping the elements again. He is taking the inorganic and making something out of nothing. Will I see it? Will I see that Jesus is washing away our sins? Washing over us with His love? I will have many opportunities, just praying for the eyes to see, ears to hear… hands to feel.