Sunday, October 31, 2010

Relatively Clean

Mike brought home the external hard dive this weekend as I was looking for something. I can't find what I was looking for but I did find the following story.  I wrote this about a year or so ago and I remember that weekend very clearly.  I'm so thankful for how far God has brought us, and also thankful for how He continues to teach me of His greatness and perfect provision. 

Wednesday afternoon we had the water cut off. So far it has only been a little over 24 hours, but it has been long enough. Yesterday, the girls and I had to go to Lakeland, so we headed over early and showered at my mom’s. When we got home it really wasn’t more than an inconvenience although I had no idea how often I wash my hands. But, we had plenty of bottled water and were just making due. However, I cooked Wednesday and Thursday night and the dished were piling up fast and we were running out of clean ones. So, this morning, I set out to do the dishes. I have never minded doing the dishes, in fact, I prefer doing them as to doing the cooking, but that’s another blog. So, I wasn’t exactly sure how to wash dishes with no running water. The neighbors had offered us their water so I filled up a bucket and began.

At first I was just dipping my sponge in to the bucket and tried to wash them that way. That plan quickly failed. Because these dishes had been sitting without being rinsed, the remaining food was pretty well glued on. So, my next move was to fill up one side of the sink with water and let them soak as I washed. This worked better for a few dishes, but my sink plug wasn’t really working and all the water was quickly going down the drain. Now I had to completely unload all the dirty dishes from the other side of the sink and see if the plug worked on that side. Thank you Lord it did. So, I put a handful of dirty dishes in to this soapy water and began washing. Then, I stacked them (soap covered) in the other side not really sure how I was going to get the soap off. Some of the dishes came clean pretty easily. Some however had to soak the whole time I washed. Did I mention that I fried plantains Wed. night and there was olive oil everywhere? Yes, I did. I know, not my smartest move when there is no running water. However, all the oily plates and pan had to be cleaned too. I did at least save them for last so that hopefully the oil wouldn’t get over ALL the dishes. As I got to the end and was reaching in the bottom of this soapy water it was so gross! Way to much left over food and the water was soo gray! Well, finally they were all washed. Now my problem was how to rinse the soap off?

I went back to my neighbors hose and started with a fresh bucket of water. There was really no way that I could pour water over these dishes by myself to get them clean, especially since I was sure that soap had dried on some of the dishes on the bottom. So, my best solution was to put the bucket in the sink and just rinse them in the bucket.

Clean has now become a relative term.

I think that the first dish was probably the only dish that was actually clean. As I began to rinse the soap off the other dishes my water was getting dirtier and dirtier. Not filthy like when washing the food off, but definitely not clean like fresh running water. As I got the end of the stack I was trying to rinse a cookie sheet and it just wouldn’t fit in my bucket. I had already been forcing some of the plates in and the bucket was giving way, so I thought I could get this pan done too. Well, I used a bit to much force and the bucket cracked. And it wasn’t just a little “I can keep going” kind of crack, it was a “your done now!” kind of crack. Now I needed another source to carry the water in from outside. And for the sake of belaboring the story, I found one and finally got it all done. What a task! How convenient is running water? And Lord Jesus thank you for helping someone invent dishwashers!! What a blessing to be able to bath, shower and clean our things! I am reminded how much I take for granted!

The whole time I was washing all this dried on food I kept thinking how Jesus introduced himself to the woman at the well as “The Living Water”(John 4). A fresh flowing fountain for drinking and cleaning is who He says He is. How much cleaner are the dishes that are washed in running water? I had such a fresh understanding of how when we try to wash ourselves and make our selves clean for God, we are still dirty (Isaiah 64:6). As I did my best to clean the dishes and take care of the old food and mess, I know that the dishes are not as clean as they normally are. At a minimum, there is still soap residue on all but the first dish because of how I rinsed them.

 When I try to clean myself up before the Lord, there is still a hopeless sin residue. How can I get it all clean on my own? I can’t. No one else may know or be able to see the residue, but I know that it is there. There are so many messes in my life, some people can see and some they can’t. But I have a choice, I can try and clean them up on my own in murky water or I can take my issues to the Fountain of Living Water and truly be washed clean. Come with me to The Fountain.

Lord Jesus, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Surely you desire truth in the inmost parts. Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. 

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