A Thirsty Woman
Rachel Olsen

"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11:25 (ESV)

I sat in the crowded café of a bookstore working on my laptop. My stomach growled repeatedly—I'd not yet had lunch. Hunger urged me to pack up and head in the rain to a restaurant but I purposed instead to focus on the project at hand. Then something else caught my attention.

A woman wearing a green rain jacket walked by. I noticed because she walked with the gate of a person with a disability. Several steps past me she stopped, turned and looked at me. I smiled. She spoke to me in incomprehensible syllables. Not sure how to respond, I kept smiling. She repeated her groaning.

"What is it?" I inquired.

After "speaking" a few more sentences, she reached her hand toward me. All her motions were noticeably slow. With her arm extended, she wiggled her fingers while looking at me with soft eyes that didn't seem to fully focus.

Patrons at surrounding tables stared in our direction. The awkwardness was growing. She kept wiggling her fingers, uttering sounds no one understood. I looked around. She was alone. I smiled again and asked, "What do you need?" She came closer, her hand reaching for my wrist. Maybe she just wants to touch me for some reason, I thought.

Instead, she took my hand and pulled me up from my chair. My eyes made contact with the man at the next table. He looked at me with a mix of surprise and questioning. I suspect my facial expression matched his.

She lead me by the hand to the coffee condiments counter that housed a stack of plastic cups and a help-yourself pitcher of water. She grabbed the cup-stack, wrestling four off the top. For over a minute she struggled to separate one cup from the four. I held out my hands in a gesture of help but she never allowed me to reach the cups. I waited.

Once she had her single cup, she pointed to the water pitcher. I lifted it and poured her a glass. She drank the whole thing, and pointed to the pitcher again. I poured another cup. She downed it and reached for the pitcher herself this time. Uh oh, I thought.

I watched, gauging her ability as she attempted to pour her own drink. Moving ever so gingerly, she tilted the pitcher while holding the cup. She seemed in slow motion. Her aim was off a few fractions of an inch, so at the last second I maneuvered her hand with the cup to the precise spot to catch the water.

All this while she didn't look at me or speak to me. I just stood next to her at the counter.

When the cup neared full, I said, "OK." She stopped pouring and drank her third glassful in a row. Wow, she was thirsty. Maybe she just doesn't know when to stop. I wondered if I should cut her off when she began pouring a fourth cup. Instead I let her fill it, as slowly as before.

As she drank that fourth cup, I wiped the small spills from the counter. Suddenly this passage flooded my mind:
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed
by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the
world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.
I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave
me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited

Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you
hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger
and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see
you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I tell you the
truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you
were doing it to me!'" (Matthew 25:34-40, NLT)

I'd just been chosen to share water, perhaps with a woman and perhaps with the Living Water Himself. This was the best thing I did all day. All week. All month even. Maybe all year.

After the fourth cupful, a caretaker came and led the woman away. She looked back at me one last time. I smiled. By the time I returned to my seat, the café patrons were no longer watching me or the woman—our interaction at the condiment counter had been lengthy and quiet. They'd gone back to reading their books. I, however, couldn't return to my project. My thoughts were captivated by Jesus' words, and the woman in the green rain slicker.

Dear Lord, I give thanks today for the food and drink on my table. Help me see ways to share it with those less fortunate. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to meet this King who rewards those who serve and share with others

Visit Rachel’s blog - My Life in Chapter and Verse

Share Living Water with a Compassion International sponsored child

God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional by various P31 Encouragement for Today authors.

Application Steps:
Share. Give. Serve. Bless.

What are two ways I can provide food, drink, clothing, medical care or hospitality in the weeks to come?

Read ideas of how you and your children can share A Cup of Cold Water.

Power Verses:
Proverbs 19:17, "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed." (ESV)

John 4:13-14, "Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" (ESV)

© 2009 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing this interesting happening in your life. How wonderful that you were sensitive to her need and didn't turn away. Letting the beauty of Christ's love show through you.

Blogger GEARS said...

Isn't it interesting the way an angel chooses the exact moment to interact with you? I have noticed many angels, but only after the fact, as I look over my shoulder and watch them walk away. I wonder how many more are there that I never even recognize!

Anonymous Andrea said...

Thank you, Rachel, for bringing to life Jesus' statement about serving "the least of these" and literally giving a cup of cold water to someone in need! As the mother of a child with a disability (she has Down syndrome) I am highly impressed and encouraged with your love to this woman, and following the lead of the Holy Spirit in your encounter with her. I applaud your sensitivity to her, and thank you for what you did!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for being an example of real Christianity. Jesus himself came to serve rather than be served. He gave His LIFE as a ransom... how can we not give but a few moments? How can we not allow ourselves be inconvienenced for the sake of someone else? May God grant us perspective daily.

Blogger Angela Dell said...

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of living water. For your patience with us as we try so hard to do it ourselves and for your intervention to help us get it right. Thank you for cleaning up the messes I make and not making me feel incompetent for accidents my life can so easily incur. Thank you that you are my father in heaven who loves me and is willing to listen despite my incomprehensible requests and confusing talk sometimes. Forgive me for my stubborness in want ing to achieve perfection on my own so often for falling into the rut and staying there. Please help me to focus on seeing you everyday in all the ways you show yourself. Help me to tune into you rwords and to be grateful for all the blessings and favor you bestow upon my family. YOu are a great God and I am am so happy to be your daughter.

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