Some years ago, in South America, a crew of Peruvian sailors were headed up the Amazon River. They came upon a strange sight: a Spanish ship anchored just off the coast, with all the sailors lying on the deck of the ship. As the Peruvians drew closer, they saw that the Spaniards were in terrible physical condition, literally dying of thirst. “Can we help you?” shouted the Peruvians. The Spaniards cried out, “Water! Water! We need fresh water!”
The Peruvian sailors told them to simply lower their buckets into the water. The Spaniards cried back, “No, we need FRESH water!” The Peruvians said there is fresh water below you. But how could there be FRESH water in the OCEAN? To their amazement, when they brought the buckets on deck they discovered that the buckets were full of fresh, cool water. It seemed a miracle of turning salt water into fresh water!
Scientific and oceanographic evidence shows that the flow of the Amazon is so forceful, especially at low tide, that an abundance of fresh water flows far out into the surrounding ocean before mixing in with the salt water. The parched sailors were operating on a rigid belief system: all ocean water is salty. That belief system nearly cost them their lives.
So it is with us as we sail the waters of life. We sometimes fail to recognize God’s love in Jesus Christ. Our modern belief system is that we can rely on ourselves. Our “bootstraps,” so to speak are enough.
We get very thirsty for true and lasting joy, for real love. We search everywhere, even in the wrong places, even the dark places of sin. Yet God’s grace is so powerful that it can push all that is wrong, the sin, out of our lives. God does this by divine love and forgiveness. God’s grace is the fresh, living water of true and everlasting love!
All we really need to do is lower our buckets of need into the fresh waters of God’s grace. When you see others in need, when our buckets overflow, there is enough to share God’s grace with others. We almost always need help and direction on how to do this. That’s why, in his divine wisdom, Jesus gave us the church, which Paul even calls “The Body of Christ.” Jesus sees out thirst. He gave us the church, the best place to lower our buckets of need.