1324 GA Highway 49 South | Americus Georgia 31719

(229) 924-0391  |  info@koinoniafarm.org

A Cup of Cold Water

Sunday, July 2, 2017
Gathered Worship Lesson, Matthew 10:37-42
By Elizabeth Dede

Just in case you haven’t noticed, it is really hot in Georgia right now. So what does that have to do with today’s Gospel lesson?

When I lived at the Open Door Community, we constantly faced the suffering of homeless people and the city of Atlanta’s indifference to it. In those days, there was one public water fountain in the whole city, and there were no public toilets. Most shops and businesses had taken the handles off their outdoor water spigots, and no homeless person was welcome to come inside to use the restroom. It was a hard life for people without homes in that city.

In protest of those conditions, and even though it made our neighbors angry, we had two water fountains (one inside, and one outside), lots of public toilets (both inside and outside), and a water spigot outside. There was plenty of water available to the poorest of the poor at our house.

Elsewhere in the Gospel of Matthew, we’re told that to give a drink to the thirsty is to give a drink to Jesus. Here at Koinonia, we, too, give a drink to the thirsty.

We serve each other by putting food and drink on the table every day. And often we serve a stranger that way. Matthew also wrote that to welcome a stranger into your home is to welcome Jesus. Providing for the physical needs of people is clearly a Gospel call, and it brings us into relationship with Jesus.

From this Gospel reading, we learn that this relationship with Jesus is more important than any other relationship we can have. We have to love Jesus more than our mothers and fathers, more than our daughters and sons.

I think Matthew tells us pretty clearly how to love Jesus. But it isn’t easy to lose your life.

I’ve just got back to Koinonia from a trip to visit my mom and dad. For a long time, while I lived at the Open Door, I neglected my relationship with my mom and dad. I felt strongly called to serve the physically poor, and I truly believed that meant that I, in the strong words of Jesus, had to hate my mother and father. I didn’t actually hate them, but I didn’t pay much attention to them either. I felt that giving up my old life and ideas of how I should live it was finding my life in Jesus. And I suppose that for that time in my life it was true.

On this visit to Florida, though, I found myself regretting that neglect. Those years while I was at the Open Door were probably my mom and dad’s best years. They were still relatively young and full of energy, and they were mostly free of the weight of caring for children. Now I wish that I had not been so focused on a literal understanding of Matthew 25. I wish that I had enjoyed my Mom and Dad more.

But I don’t want to wallow in regret. Now that they are old, I can care for them, and lose my life in that. It is in those relationships with my mom and dad that I find my life in Jesus.

So give a drink of cold water to a child of Jesus. You will find your life.

Share this with your friends:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More to explore

Charles Bradley Performing
Steve Krout

The Lamentations of Charles Bradley

I became aware of Charles Bradley in 2015 and instantly took to his music. There was something in him that reminded me of two biblical figures that I’ve long loved: David, the psalmist, and Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Bradley had both the heart and voice of a poet- prophet. One will hear in many of his songs the spirit of a man trying to stay righteous and honest and decent in a world that is going up in flames.

Read More »
Steve Krout

Reflections on Martin Luther King Day

In many of the people I grew up with, I see a Christianity that is not informed by spiritual and civil rights leaders like Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, and Cesar Chavez. I wonder how differently our country would have been shaped had we been taught to be open to the Spirit’s moving in and through such prophets.

Read More »
Bren Dubay


Leisure is an end in itself, a time to dwell on the beauty of creation, to read a challenging book, to be carried away listening to a soaring symphony, to catch one’s breath at a stunning work of art, a time to step back to admire the work that one has done. It is a time to worship and pray, the highest forms of leisure. It is a time to contemplate goodness and allow that goodness and all these meaningful activities to re-create us.

Read More »
Springtime Orchard
Bren Dubay

The Great Divorce

Good art, good literature, helps us imagine what a new normal and a new world can be. It is vital in times like these to seek out that which helps us imagine a better world and encourages us to work together, perhaps in small ways like Sarah Smith, to build this new world now.

Read More »
Peace Trail Sign
Bren Dubay

Lessons for Disciples

The father went on directing his remarks to Naomi, “You aren’t one of us. Why would my children play with you?”
Naomi looked at the grown man. She could see kindness in his eyes even though his tone and words did not match it. She said to him, “Aren’t we are all God’s children, sir? That makes us one family … doesn’t it, sir?”

Read More »