Namikango Mission

Our News Articles

The Boy and the Bucket

Sep 27, 2012

By Ben Hayes

Before serving communion at church, the men came to the front of the congregation to wash their hands; each taking turns pouring the water over the hands of others. The water fell into a bucket located next to the podium. It was the first time I had ever seen this, and I thought it interesting because it reminded me of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet just before the Passover meal. I thought about it for a pleasant moment...then forgot about the washing as the service went on.

We all took bread followed by watered-down grape juice for the cup. It was thinned so there would be enough to go around. The communion service itself can last 30 or 40 minutes. Today was no different. That is, until we came to the end.

The bucket and cup used for washing the servers’ hands were still sitting there. As the service came to a close, a small boy walked to the front and quickly moved to the bucket of water, took the cup, and turned to face all of us as he began to drink the filthy water, his eyes peering at us as he drank.

I was sitting on the front row, four or five feet from the scene. I wanted to say, "Give this boy a clean drink of water!" But I didn’t; I only sat there and watched. The boy finished his drink, turned and disappeared into the audience. It was then that I remembered I had a half-filled bottle of water in my bag. Ashamed, I sat looking at the bottle – wishing I had done something.

I know this may have been a regular occurrence, and the boy probably won't even get sick because his body is so used to such water. But all the same, I couldn't shake the feeling that I should have done something. I looked for the boy after the service ended, but saw no sign of him. It was one of those moments I will never forget. I've seen poverty before in many places. But for some reason, in the church like this, it was different.

Jesus says, "Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will certainly not lose his reward" (Mk. 9:41). It is amazing that such a simple, small act can carry so much power.

As I think about this, it makes me realize my need all the more for God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit. How else will we be able to recognize these moments and be ready for them? There is often only a 3- or 4-second window to make a decision and to act. After that, the opportunity is gone, just like this little boy quickly disappeared.

I want to draw closer to God and to the Holy Spirit so I can be aware of where God is moving. I want to be aware of the Spirit’s moving in my life and in the lives of others.

And, perhaps, next time when God presents one of those flashing chances to become a little more like Jesus, I will be ready, even if it just means giving a child a cup of clean water.