Cool Water | Matthew 10:40-42
God starts with us where we are, for not even God can start anywhere else.
I have written that thought before. It may not be true, given that God is outside of time and space and can therefore start, or finish, or dwell, at the beginning, or the end, or everywhere in between at once.
Still, God starts with us where we are. To put it another way, wherever we are, God is already there.
The two verses from Matthew are oddly worded. What does it mean to welcome a prophet in the name of a prophet, or a righteous person in the name of a righteous person?
Perhaps we are dealing with the ancient belief that names were the essence of a thing—knowing the name of something gives you a powerful connection. To act in the name of something or someone is likewise to connect, to identify, with that thing or person. To welcome a prophet in the name of a prophet is, in a manner of speaking, to be a prophet. To welcome a righteous person in the name of a righteous person is likewise to be a righteous person.
To give anything good and helpful in the name of a disciple is to be a disciple, even if the gift is only a cup of cold water. Small service is still service. A little faith is still faith.
I have to admit that when I hear the phrase “cold water”, I immediately think of the Sons of the Pioneers and the Bob Nolan song “Cool Water.” There have been many recordings by artists ranging from the Pioneers to Hank Williams to Joni Mitchell. The song tells of a man crossing a desert, longing for water. Hearing it, one has to appreciate the power in such a simple thing as water.
Small gifts, small faith, and still one remains a disciple. That changes the perspective on Jesus rebuking the disciples in Matthew 8:26—O you of little faith! Even with their small faith and small understanding, they remained the chosen disciples of Christ. Likewise, a cup of cold water is no small thing, not to someone in the desert.
Not all deserts are made of sand. Some are made of loneliness, or depression. Failure. Rejection. Mourning. Loss. We usually don’t know what people need when we see them.
It may be something as simple as a cup of cold water.