He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” Mark 14:12-16
Sunday’s Gospel reading is a familiar one to most Christians — in his characteristically spare style Mark records the events leading up to the very first Eucharistic celebration. Mark doesn’t even name the two disciples Jesus sent to make Passover preparation — but the Gospel writer goes into some detail about Jesus’ directives on how to find the place they were to spend Passover: a man carrying a water jar would lead them there.
Why was this “a sign”? How could they be sure they were following the right water-toter? Simply put, carrying water was “women’s work,” and few men would be caught in broad daylight engaged in such a humble endeavor. It simply wasn’t done.
Earlier today I posted an announcement about the review of “Raising Up Mommy” at CatholicExchange. No many how many other books I write, this little book will always be close to my heart. It records my own journey toward grace, my own purifying experiences in motherhood. Most of them involved copious quantities of humble pie. And yet, invariably good things — life-transforming things — were the result.
Sometimes God asks us to do things that take us outside our comfort zone. We may even appear foolish — as I was reminded last night at a VBS meeting, in which I taught my Tribe Leaders the songs they would be singing next week with the kids. (This year we have an “International Church” theme, so it involved singing songs in other languages, which was clearly outside the comfort zone of most of them.) “Don’t worry,” I encouraged my sheepish group. “If you look like you’re having fun and enjoying yourself, so will the kids!’
That’s true for most of the “water carrying” tasks God gives us. Attitude is everything. Just hoist that water jar, put your chin up — and lead on! In the words of Oswald Chambers, “If you’re going to be used by God, he’s going to take you through a myriad of experiences that were not meant for you at all. They were meant to make you useful in his hands.”