Our team had just returned to our camp after a long day serving the poor in the city of Balan in Haiti. I had to admit, I was embarrassed how tired I was from just a few days in the Haitian sun. What long term missionaries endure hurt my brain. What the residents of this poor town experienced on a daily basis stretched beyond what my mind could fathom.
Our week was wrapping up and we were all exhausted. Upon return to camp I made sure to drink my favorite Haitian soda, “Limonade.” (So as to not get dehydrated, which was really my way of justifying crazy amounts of sugar intake.)
After showering and eating we gathered as a team on the roof for another night of recap, prayer and worship. We traded stories like currency and the sunset stretched into late evening. I specifically remember a moment when someone spoke about the kids who were always lying about how much cold water they had been given. Those sneaky kids had been intentionally deceiving us so as to gain more water and we started to game plan about how to sniff them out so they wouldn’t “double dip” us. “That kid with the old red Nike’s is the worst!” A few of us mentioned the same kids with the same outfits. There was some laughter again. “That sneak!” Yet underneath our laughter was another sound. One of the hosts at the orphanage was beginning to sob. It was small at first but it began to rise above the laughter. We grew silent.
Her words stung.
“Why should a child have to manipulate us for clean water?
Why should we call a child who WANTS WATER a sneak? Don’t they deserve water?
All of us were cut to the heart. More tears. Bibles began to flip.
The words of Jesus echoed in the humid evening breeze.
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Mt. 10:24)
Lord Jesus, this feels so wrong. What have these children done any differently than our own children to not deserve water. That conversation has stuck with me. A day later as our “Tap-tap” drove through town we saw a man laying on the side of the rode, passed out from dehydration. We pulled over and administered aid, water and passed him some money. Our hearts were sufficiently broken but time often causes one to forget...until today
Today, I entered a Starbucks in my neighborhood I don’t go to often. To be quite honest, it is a terrible place to work. It’s right up against a trolley station and is surrounded by transients without a penny to their name. They usually come in, use the restroom, ask for a water, or today I saw a dude ask for a hot water and you know what?
They totally gave it to him.
What kind of business strategy is that? You give water to the homeless so they stick around and paying customers like me have no seat and feel nervous when a crack head starts to stare me down and scream crazy crap. (Which has happened) It unnerves me and I am there to work not perform an exorcism. When the pea soup starts flying, I’m out. I’ve seen drug deals go down here and the hand-outs only encourages it to continue. BUT, as you have probably guessed, today I remembered the words of Jesus, once again.
Dang His words can cut like a knife.
If a non-Christian, publicly traded, organization, with shareholders can practice the work of Jesus, what’s my excuse?
Who can you offer a glass of water to today?
Do they deserve it any more than you?
Do they deserve it any less?