The journey to Lakoma Island off the mainland of Malawi, Africa, had been tough. Hours on the open water had turned us green and our stomachs upside down.
After a good night’s sleep on solid ground, we awoke to high winds and the sound of waves beating the beach.
Our accommodations were adequate. The availability of running water on a remote island came as a surprise. Having a warm shower was pure delight. We were void a few of the luxuries of home, but our challenges weren’t close to the challenges contestants face on the hit TV show “Survivor.”
Each morning, we observed nationals fulfilling their daily routines as they washed dishes, took a quick sponge bath and watered livestock all within a few feet of each other in the splashing surf.
The thought of washing dishes and bathing all within in a few steps of a herd of cows and goats seemed different to us, but for the locals, it was perfectly normal and within cultural bounds. We were pleased our hosts had made alternate arrangements for our daily rituals.
The warm showers became the highlight of our day following a full day of witnessing in the bush. Achy muscles found relief and relaxation under the cascading shower faucet. Metal water tanks above our rooms were heated by the hot African sun. By nightfall, they provided the perfect water temperature for weary travelers.
On the day we were to leave the island, we noticed two of the local staff clearing sand from the beach. At last they located that for which they had searched, a PVC pipe buried in the sand. It appeared to be running from the beach and back toward our rooms. Within minutes, a hose was attached to the pipe, and water from among the cows, bathers and dishwashers was being pumped, you guessed it, into the metal water reservoirs above our rooms. Our nice warm showers were being fed from the very same water as the locals. The only difference was that ours was heated, and theirs was fresh from the source! In the end, it all came out in the wash.
And we thought we were so special when, in fact, we were in pursuit of the same result-refreshment, cleansing and a fresh start on a new day. The Lord brought to mind other similarities.
Not only did our physical bodies need cleansing, but our souls were in need of a new beginning as well. The source for both was the same. True redemption, salvation, comes from the Living Water. Our cultures may have caused us to take different approaches to life, but the need we shared for a Savior was one and the same.
He never asks us to get cleaned up to take a bath. He takes us as we are and makes us white as snow when we accept His payment for our dirty lives. What a Savior. What a God. How could anyone resist being loved like this?