Watering our little patch of greens takes about an hour.
I picked up the bucket and the Jesus Prayer, and headed outside.
Usually the Jesus Prayer stays in mind for all of five minutes. Then it unravels into thoughts of some hymn or pop tune or film trailer. But tonight somehow there was enough head room to let the prayer stitch together over and over, and flow at its own rhythm over the rocks and roots and pavement cracks between the outdoor faucets and the leafy greenage.
The ballast from the water and the prayer let other small things edge in.
There was my wasp, or one just like him. He shows up as soon as I fill the bucket. How can he tell there is water going on? But he always does. I fill his shallow little water dish with the broad edge where he can drink safely, clinging with his feet.
There was the flat Ank-Ank of a nuthatch, fluttering distressed in the pines.
There was the holler and squeak of kidlets in the swimming pool.
There was beige dust of dry and crumbled pine needles and grass, edging as splinters into my socks.
There was the nice smell of pasta sauce bubbling on a stove right inside the window over the faucet.
There was the flow of crows rivering home to roost.
In Samaria, the woman at the well filled her bucket all alone, at The Sixth Hour, around noon.
Word was that she’d had five husbands. So she went at noon to avoid the comments of proper society women, who drew their own water at sunrise and sunset.
Jesus showed up one day at the well, at a place where only women were likely to go, even though a more efficient preacher would have headed right for the city gate and talked directly to the men. And he went for his drink of water at noon, when chances are nobody would be around to get it for him.
But he never got his drink of water anyway.
He was too busy offering spiritual water to this woman who showed up by herself.
“Where should I go, to worship?” she asked him. Jerusalem maybe?
But he told her that as long as she worshipped in spirit and in truth, it didn’t matter where she went. A well was as good a place as any, even at hot noon for a drudgey chore. To worship, all she had to do was show up and ask for water.
The sky was soft and rosy from a forest fire east over the mountains.
A half moon and breeze were coming up.
The leafy greens were safe for one more day, amen.