Gideon the water man.

Mark 14:12-16   

“Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.” v. 13 

Gideon Ben Joshua rose earlier than usual this morning. The Passover was drawing near and he had much to do before the sun burned hot.  He held his breath and braced himself for the cold splash of water in his time etched face.  Pulling on his tunic and sandals he dashed out to the well to begin his routine. Down the sleepy street he could hear familiar sounds of life emerging in downtown Jerusalem.

The old man kind of liked this time of the morning. The faint morning glow pushing the shadows back into the corners of buildings, washing the horizon with shafts of gold. If he stood in just the right place, at the right time he could see the sun resting, briefly between two mountain peaks, like a fine jewel in a magnificent ring. Looking up to the purple and orange skyline he breathed a prayer, “That’s a nice ring you’re wearing sir!” Then he grinned as he muttered, “Better not let the Pharisees hear me talk to you like that. They’ll have a fit.”

He was as simple man with a simple life. He spent his days rushing about the city carrying water for merchants, and at times for the temple. He lived alone, since his loving Rachel died six years ago. But he was surrounded by adoring children, and grand children. If you want to get an earful, just ask him about them. But be forewarned, he will talk incessantly, so pack a lunch. His five children are all the most successful people in the world, and all of this fifteen grandchildren are destined for greatness because of their exceptional gifts and abilities. Gideon is no one to overstate such things. He just tells it in grand style to make sure you understand just how wonderful they really are. He looked forward to Passover every year. His little house would be bursting at the seams with food, music, prayers and great joy.

Gideon Ben Joshua was a water bearer, if that’s even a career. If not, it should be, because he is known all over the neighborhood for making sure everyone has enough. He never expected to account for much in the grand scheme of things. I mean how can you expect much when all you do is carry water. Well, he is kind of famous for his arm wrestling ability. He has a bit of a reputation for putting some of the younger men to shame now and then. But everybody loves Gideon.

Sometimes, though, it kind of bothers him. He wonders if he could have made a bigger difference in the world. Sometimes, while he’s rushing through town he looks up at the temple, or the Palace and wonders what it would be like to really be somebody. Then after a long day, he trudges home only to be stampeded by adoring grandchildren. He falls to the ground laughing with them, and thinks, ” I’m the wealthiest man in Jerusalem!”

Oh, there is that other thing. Sometimes he rents his upstairs room out to people during the Passover. It’s not much, but it has plenty of space, which is difficult to find in this town.

Filling up his first jar of the morning he remembers. “I’ve got to meet those disciples today.” That Rabbi Yeshua asked for it awhile back. He had such kindness in his eyes. Gideon remembered feeling a warm strength radiating from this man. He felt his soul strangely embraced by every word the Rabbi spoke. When Yeshua asked how much it would cost, Gideon just laughed in his great big voice, ” For you! consider it my Passover gift!”

The sun had climbed up out of the mountains and the city was quickly springing to life. Mills grinding, animals complaining, children celebrating consciousness. Jerusalem was waking up fast, and Gideon had to get moving to beat the rush. Hoisting a massive water jar on his cracking but powerful shoulders, he headed down the street.” Gideon Ben Joshua the water carrier may not ever do anything too significant with his life, “but I’m glad to do what I can to help get the water to those who need it.”

” I hope Yeshua likes the room. I hope he has a fine Passover!

I suspect that young rabbi is going to make a big splash some day. Then I can say I knew him when! You just never know about such things.”

Then he chuckled at himself and went singing on his way.


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