Saturday, July 08, 2006

The woman at the tank truck

So it wasn't much of a flood by Biblical standards; no ark was required for this one, although I did notice some displaced animals wandering in confusion through our backyard, including a groundhog, a turtle, and a deer. But, in another Biblical allusion, I have become the woman at the well (or, in this case, the woman at the stainless steel tank truck).

The place of Jacob's well has been taken in our town by a silvery behemoth parked in back of the local firehouse, which I more commonly visit to vote or give blood. If you get your water from a private well, one of the aftereffects of major flooding is that you can't drink what flows from the tap until it's been tested and proven safe. That can a week or more if the flood happens right before a long holiday weekend, so every other day or so we drive up to the firehouse to draw water from the twin metal nipples sticking out of the back of a truck that has been provided to us through the generosity of the county Water and Sewer Authority (and in this case I certainly hope the first word is the operative part of that name).

As I stood there last night filling my motley assortment of bottles and pitchers, I couldn't help considering the obvious ironies that an excess of water had brought us a water shortage, that we experience water not only as a source of life but also as a force of destruction. I was thinking, too, about the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, who was really pretty bold but who knew a good thing. I didn't find Jesus waiting for me at the firehouse, though, just the fire chief.

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