Bill, sweet man, I just met him. Honest, open, friendly, kind. Shares a bit about himself and his family. Got three kids, “all medical,” he says. “The oldest used to be a doctor, but he quit.” “Says quitting is the best thing he ever did.” “Says, now he gets along with his wife…” Bill shakes his head, “Our health care system, it’s so broken.”
Bill may have said other things after that but I didn’t hear them. Broken: how do we know when something’s broken? It spills out into the rest of our lives. It pours out all over what we love and what we care about.
If the flow is unhealthy, it can extinguish what was once wonderful and pure and beautiful. Like the insidious oil of a punctured tanker, the evidence of the puncture doesn’t come first as a drop in volume, it shows itself in sheen and then surface-floating fish, disabled otters, and struggling seabirds, their feathers coated and useless.
We know brokenness by its damage. The spill. The despoiling. The carnage. The ugliness.
Now, call that ship on its misdeed and it will deny it all day long. It will gird up its loins, even as it goes below deck to patch the leaky spots. Not me. I am strong as they come. I am not responsible for this nastiness. Unavoidable. Not my fault.
Yet, when the ship is righted, the system mended, and the cargo tended to, that tanker sails on its merry way, delivering what it was supposed to, where it was supposed to, to whom it was supposed to. All systems go. Ecosystem maintained.
So many broken systems. So many people plugging holes with all their might. But the spill, it keeps coming. Because we humans are leaky. And feeble. No match for the tanker’s tons. But call us broken and we rail against it, blind to the drippings that puddle at our feet, coat our hands, and threaten to overcome our hearts and our lives.
In our humanity, we are broken, but also fixable. We’re clay, putty in the hands of our Maker. Pulling ourselves from the plug we once were, the spill may keep on, even gush a bit at first, but the evidence of brokenness begins to mend. We get along with the wife, the kids, the neighbors. We are whole again, and filling back up, we may even spill over in generous overflow.
Yes, there are many systems broken in our world today, but I refuse to be an unwitting funnel. It is amazing, just by taking one step out and two steps back, how one can welcome a new solution and a different approach.
Clear-minded and self-controlled, our adjustment does more than mend; it makes.
Isn’t osmosis amazing? Grapes swell. Roots absorb. Skin rehydrates. You know everything in the textbook that you slept with under your pillow last night…Well, all but the last one.
Who thought up water? Something so simple. Two H’s and an O. Specialized bonds that share charges in a way that attracts or repels. It designs its own environment. Goes where it pleases and in fact heads into the areas where it’s under-supplied. Where it’s needed most. Thirst is quenched, by chemical design, when water flows.
Psalm 107 says ~
He satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.
Not to say he makes everything lush and green…
33 He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
But just add water and voila!
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry live,
and they establish a town to live in;
37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
and get a fruitful yield.
Wrinkles fixed. Cracks filled in. Hunger satisfied.
Whole again. Useful again. Beautiful again. Fruitful again.
Humanity is thirsty. We hunger and eat but are not satisfied. We are cracked and broken. Leaking in our disrepair. We thirst for a drink that will fill us to overflowing.
But look at this:
What a beautiful image. Our cracks filled with precious gold, more beautiful in their repair.
Quenched and overflowing with water for a parched land. A thirsty humanity.
Just a drink of water.