The canteen of God’s grace

By: By Brent Hairr - Guest columnist

There once was a man named Bill. Bill was an adventurous soul. He often did things that seemed far-fetched or even dangerous. But that was Bill’s nature. Bill was not content to just sit around. He wanted to explore and see what this world was all about. It has been said that there is a little bit of Bill in all of us.

One day Bill decided to take out on a trip. He was going to walk to a new frontier all the while taking in the many sites that this land had to offer. Bill felt fully prepared for his venture. He had packed his backpack and filled his canteen with fresh water. As the sun came over the horizon the next morning, Bill set off.

The trip began innocently enough. The weather was fair and the temperature mild. Bill was enjoying his freedom and was mesmerized by the many things one encounters when walking through nature. Things were going well for Bill. Each night Bill would set up camp and fill his canteen with fresh water from a nearby brook. Yep, things could not have been any better and Bill was glad he decided to take this trip.

A few days into his trip Bill came upon a dry area. He thought it was strange based on everything he had seen to this point and figured the dry land would return to the lush forest he had been accustomed to so far on his trip. However, Bill could not have been more wrong. Little did Bill know but he was entering into an area that had been in a drought for a very long time. All of the creeks were dry and what trees and shrubs were there offered very little shade. The first day through this area Bill limited his drinking to save what small amount of water he carried. He settled down on that first night through the dessert looking forward to tomorrow when he felt certain he would be through this dry and desolate land.

As the sun came up and woke Bill he remembered where he was and how he longed for the shade of the forest and the coolness of the water from the many streams. Bill gathered his limited belongings and set out again. About midday, Bill could no longer ignore his thirst. He opened his canteen and took the last few swallows of water. He was now out of water and there were no streams or brooks in sight.

Having committed to finishing his journey Bill plowed forward with reckless abandon. He just knew he would be to the end of this dry land soon. Unfortunately, that was not the case. As that day drew to an end Bill found himself exhausted with no water in sight. With nothing else to do, Bill set up his camp and fell asleep.

The next morning when Bill awoke, he instantly felt the pangs of thirst and remembered his predicament. Unfortunately there was nothing Bill could do but strive forward so he packed up his camp and set out again. Around three that afternoon Bill could go no further. He had been over 24 hours in the hot desert with no water or shade. Bill knew he would not last much longer and he now felt silly, even careless, about his decision to embark on this little adventure. Bill collapsed to the ground barely able to walk from dehydration and exhaustion. He realized at that point just how perilous his situation was becoming. There was nothing Bill could now do but pray. Bill had never been much of a praying man. He always thought he could take care of himself and the rest would take care of itself. But Bill was no longer able to take care of himself. Due to his nature and the decisions he had made he now found himself in a hopeless situation and prayer was all he had left. So he prayed and prayed hard. Bill doesn’t remember how long he prayed but he does remember thinking that canteen up ahead on the ground must have been a mirage. However, he couldn’t take that chance. Bill had to crawl up to the canteen and hope it was real. To his wonderment and delight, the canteen was real and it was full of water. Bill supped at that canteen and was refreshed immediately. Not knowing how long his journey would be before he made it to his destination, Bill decided to try and save the water. However, a few hours later Bill was extremely thirsty and had to drink some more of the water from his newly found canteen. Unfortunately as the sun went down that night Bill discovered that he had consumed all of the water from the new canteen. Bill fell asleep that night hoping that when he woke up he would be near the end of this desert.

The next morning when Bill awoke he started on his journey again hopeful that he would soon be out of the desert. Around noon Bill was still in the desert and there was no end in sight. Out of frustration he grabbed the new canteen from yesterday to throw it away when he discovered it was heavier than an empty canteen should be. Bill opened the cap and discovered the canteen to be full of fresh water again. Bill was astonished. How could that be? It made no sense at all. He was certain he had drunk all of the water the day before. Regardless, Bill was just glad to have more refreshment. He knew without the water from this amazing canteen that he would not be able to make it through his journey.

For the next several days, similar events occurred. Bill would go through his day relying on the water in the canteen to get him through. It wasn’t easy, but knowing the canteen was always there made it bearable and Bill pushed through. He could never figure out how the canteen was full again each morning. But Bill didn’t need to figure it out. He just needed to accept it.

Finally after what seemed like a lifetime, Bill came to the end of the desert and was greeted by the most beautiful site. The area was bathed in the soft sunlight with abundant rivers of cold water flowing down majestic mountains. This place was even better that Bill had imagined it to be. Not in his wildest dreams had Bill pictured anything as beautiful as this place. Here there was plenty of fresh water and oh the fruit trees. One could never eat all of the fruit available in this place.

Bill was so thankful to have made it through the barren desert. He knew he would have never made it without the refreshment of the magic canteen that would be full again each morning. He wondered what he should do with the canteen now that he was in a place where a canteen would never be needed and that’s when he realized the canteen was gone. He had not put it down or misplaced it. It was simply gone. Just like it appeared at Bill’s direst moment, it was now gone when Bill no longer need it.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Bill is who we all are. The journey that Bill set out on is our journey of life. The desert, of course, is an example of how hard life can and will be. The canteen, well that is a metaphor of God’s grace. Each day we wake up we find God’s grace renewed. There is no limit to His grace. It just simply does not run out. We will all need his grace every day until we reach our destination. As Christians we can rest easy knowing that God’s grace is sufficient and never ending.


By Brent Hairr

Guest columnist

Brent Hairr resides in Salemburg where he is a deacon at Freedom Baptist Church. Contact him at 910-385-8421.

Brent Hairr resides in Salemburg where he is a deacon at Freedom Baptist Church. Contact him at 910-385-8421.