The Muddy Puddle Faith Lesson

I couldn’t help but wonder this morning why Shnookles the rescue dog was lapping so happily in the murky, muddy, mediocre to say the best post-storm water puddle to satiate his thirst. Undoubtedly the temptation was tantalizing. After all, last night’s latest round of tremendous thunder boomers, coupled with four dogs’ digging endeavors over the past week or so produced a bigger-than-usual mud puddle. But with bowls and buckets of water all around to cool off the dogs in the brutal heat wave, why would Shnookles settle for less than the best? Leave it to God to teach me the Muddy Puddle Faith Lesson in the midst of it all.

Shnookles is short. He is not just short. He is very short. Come on. All dogs are short, right? No, some dogs are short. Some dogs are shorter. And some are super short. All dogs are shorter than regular sized adult humans, but some dogs are just plain old short. Such is the case with Shnookles. As a Petit Basset Verdeen Griffon mix (no, I had never heard of the breed either), Shnookles wins the prize for short. Despite his 45 pounds (can you believe it?!), all his weight is stuffed into a very adorable, unbelievably unique looking, well – you guessed it. Short dog. So why shouldn’t he drink from a mud puddle?

I have sometimes caught Shnookles drinking from the buckets of water as opposed to the bowls. I cannot help but laugh. He totes his body upward, grabs the side of the bucket with his paws, and somehow tilts his mouth even higher and then drops it down lower to partake of the water. But if the truth be known, he has the option to drink out of the water bowls – a much easier reach. So why go for the mud puddle?

As I moved briskly about the yard this morning doing my just about never ending tour of doggy duties, I came to a realization. I have often drunk from the mud puddles of life because they were far easier, more comfortable, and more familiar than stretching out of my comfort zone to drink the pure, delicious, and cleaner  water from above. Why would I stretch my whole body upward, tilt my mouth even higher, and so on to get to the very best? Why? Because as a loved one said to me years ago, God does not want what’s good for me. He wants what’s best for me.

But drinking God’s best involves a decision. Will I give up the comfort and ease of drinking from muddy puddles and stretch upward to receive God’s best?

As I watch Shnookles resting in the air conditioned indoors, fully satiated, I wonder. When will I realize life is better when I stretch for God’s best? Surely given today’s heat the muddy puddle is dried up by now – or well on its way. Sometimes I have no muddy puddles in life to tempt me, so I automatically reach for God’s best. But sometimes a big storm comes along and leaves muddy puddles all around.

Then comes the question. Remember the woman at the well? Jesus asked her for water, and she hesitated because of their difference in backgrounds. Then He told her the water He offers comes from a well that goes on forever.

Which water will you choose today? Why not jump over the muddy puddles all around you and open your eyes and heart and mouth for God’s everlasting river of living waters?

 7 “When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:7-15 NIV)

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