If anyone is thirsty . . .
We’ve lived in Austin a bit over a year. For a bit over a year we’ve talked about the homeless in Austin. We drive by them almost daily. My son has said repeatedly, “We should give them/him/her…” I nod my head and do nothing.
“What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 3:13)
Once we volunteered with our small group at a ministry that serves the homeless. I loved doing the work, but I felt uncomfortable interacting with the people there. Honestly, my human heart has not bled for the homeless. God is changing that and He’s using His Word and my son to soften my heart and open my eyes.
When we lived in Wheaton (Illinois) our boys had much freedom. It is a safe place and I felt comfortable with them roaming the streets on their bikes. My heart dipped in a bit of fear, though, when my son would occasionally tell me how he stopped at the bridge and talked to the homeless man there. I’m not sure how often he did this. I really didn’t want to know. Thankfully, God did know and, unbeknownst to me, God was giving him a heart for those who do not have a roof over their heads at night.
Fast forward to Austin. My son is now halfway through high school. This last week I prayed that the Lord would prompt me to actually do something about my son’s repeated requests to help. On Saturday it was super hot here. We knew the people on the street corners would be so very uncomfortable. Ethan loaded a cooler of water and I bought some packages of mints. Ethan described a woman who is usually at a certain intersection and we headed there. We saw her walking alongside a line of cars holding her sign. I remembered that I had seen her too, many times. But I could not have told you which intersection she called hers.
Ethan asked her if we could get her something to eat or drink. She smiled and said no, thanks. But we pressed. Finally she admitted that she really loved the lemonade at a local burger joint. We were thrilled. Eventually she gave in and allowed us to buy her a burger too, with extra sauce and everything on it. I think for the first time I saw her as a person that enjoys ice-cold lemonade and extra sauce. I like extra sauce too. My husband loves ice-cold lemonade.
We continued on and gave everyone we saw cold water and mints. They all expressed thanks that the water was cold! Ethan set several water bottles beside a sleeping man under an overpass. He had a picture of a woman and child beside him. That broke our hearts. That broke my heart.
As we drove away from a person, we would pray for them. Our hearts were filled with sorrow and also the joy that comes from caring about another. I am so thankful that the Lord not only pressed the need upon our hearts, but also gave us the grace to move our feet into action on this sweltering Saturday. In being His hands and feet, He gave us desperately-needed living water for our souls.
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37)
— Carissa DeAngelis, Board Member
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