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"You can live without love but you can't live without water." -Sudan Proverb

Homesick Water

I’m sure every road-weary man around that wilderness campfire never forgot the moment. That sacred moment.

A gift of love delivered at great risk and cost.

As the crow flies, it's over 9000 miles to my hometown of Dry Creek, Louisiana
As the crow flies, it’s over 9000 miles to my hometown of Dry Creek, Louisiana

Homesick Water

 

It’s strange the things you miss on an extended sojourn.

That’s especially true in Africa.

The big question when a teammate is making trip to the U.S is, “Where’s the first place you’re going to eat?”

Chick Filet or Logan’s?

BK or a Big Mac?

For me, it has a Louisiana flavor.

Foreman’s sausage and boudin.

Fried chicken at Fausto’s.

A seafood platter at D.I.’s. with a Cajun band chank-chanking in the background.

Crawfish. It’s been three years.

It’ll be four before I’m home during crawfish season.

 

The tastes of home.

My Mom’s steak and gravy.

Always the Prodigal’s returning meal.

Mom, don’t forget the Dry Creek chocolate pie and your homemade yeast rolls.

 

Sometimes, it’s a drink.

A hot cup of Community coffee.

I’ve had friends bring Community over here.

It was good, but it’s best under the pines at the table with those you’ve loved the longest and best.

 

The desired drink can be water.

Hometown water.

My pastor, Charlie Bailey, left this hat on his last visit.  This gift has meant the world to me.
My pastor, Charlie Bailey, left this hat on his last visit. This gift has meant the world to me.

I call it homesick water.

There’s something about hometown water.

I grew up on well water.

Dry Creek water.

That’s an oxymoron if ever there was.  I’ve every old joke about my hometown of Dry Creek.

But Dry Creek water is special.

We had out own personal well operated by an electric pump.

Water wells are lots of trouble.

They become waterlogged.

You had to prime them.

Freezes and wrapping the pipes and running a extension cord and electric bulb to heat the well.

But it was the best water ever.

 

I always sniggered at my Shreveport grandparents bringing plastic jugs of their city water to Dry Creek.

It astounded me that they preferred this chlorinated fluorided citified water over ours.

A few years later, I was equally amused that brought empty jugs from Shreveport, filled them with Dry Creek water before returning north.

 

We learned so much about water while drilling boreholes among our refugee friends.
We learned so much about water while drilling boreholes among our refugee friends.

There’s an overlooked story in the Bible about homesick water.

It involves King David.

He’s a feast or famine monarch.  Either things are great or he’s in trouble.

As this story begins, he’s the latter.

On the run from his erstwhile enemies the big bad Philistines.

A fugitive.

Fleeing with his band of merry loyal warriors.

One night, David and his closest allies, are camped in the wilderness.

Sitting around a campfire.

Telling stories.

Missing home.

In David’s case: Bethlehem.

Exiled from home.

An uncertain future.

He was just plain homesick.

The men in the campfire circle talked about what they missed.

The King mentioned a little comfort food.

Rather comfort water.

Not just for any water.

But home water.

Campfires make you reminisce.

And often you talk about things you miss.

KatahdinAT

Water is a precious resource among refugees.

I once camped at the foot of Mt. Katadhin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. My campmates were a scraggly lot of thru-hikers who’d walked from Georgia to reach this spot. That’s over 2000 miles.

They say 5 million steps.

The next day would end their journey.

They didn’t talk much about the miles they’d covered.

They discussed the food they were going to eat off the trail.

One of them said, “I’m going to eat so much ice cream, it’ll make my Momma fat.”

Water is a precious resource among refugees.
Water is a precious resource among refugees.

 

King David, who was a refugee at this moment,  didn’t mention ice cream.

He probably licked his lips, “Boy, if only someone would bring me a jug of that water from the well in my hometown of Bethlehem.”

It seemed an off hand remark.

I don’t thing he meant for his men to act.

But he was the king.

As is, “Your wish is my command.”

I wonder if he noticed three of his bravest warriors slip away into the darkness.

I’m not sure how far it was. Or how long it took. Was it all stealth or hand-to-hand combat to pass twice through enemy lines.

But they returned proudly holding a jug of that hometown home well water.

I’d like to have seen David’s reaction. “What’s that, men?”

One of them handed it to their king. “A jug of your Bethlehem well water.”

I’d like to have seen their faces when King David poured it out on the ground.

“I cannot drink this water. It’s sacred. It represents the blood of these men.”

He poured it out.

The scriptures elaborate, as to the Lord.

A drink offering.

I’d like to have been there.

A holy moment.

A sacred moment among a group of violent men.

Knowing David, I imagine there were tears.

Men among men.

Around a campfire.

One of my favorite places to be.

I’m sure every road-weary man around that wilderness campfire never forgot the moment. That sacred moment.

A gift of love delivered at great risk and cost.

Home water.

Home sick water.

I can taste it now.

You can read this obscure but stirring story in II Samuel 23.

"You can live without love but you can't live without water."  -Sudan Proverb
“You can live without love but you can’t live without water.” -Sudan Proverb
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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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