A luxury

Decorative sinks at the Mt. Zion Hotel in Jerusalem. Photo by By Deror Avi, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Decorative bathroom sinks at the Mt. Zion Hotel in Jerusalem.
Photo by By Deror Avi, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Today we enjoy a luxury kings and queens throughout history had to suffer without: water is available to us just by turning on a tap.”Alexandra Stoddard

I don’t stop to think about it often, but running water is among the blessings for which I’m most grateful. Imagine what it must be like to have to walk miles to a well for clean water to haul home, then have to use it sparingly for washing, cooking and cleaning before the next trip.

Whenever I dread scrubbing sinks or toilets or floors, it helps to remind myself that all the clean water I need to accomplish the task thoroughly is right at hand. People without running water in their home might laugh at my notion that these chores are hard work.

When family members are home recovering from illness or surgery, the gift of having clean running water is even more obvious, as it tends to be needed more often during each day. Can you imagine how difficult it is to care for medical needs without this convenience?

A couple of months ago, my brother Al and I were chatting during a visit with Mama at her new home in long term care. It’s located on a pleasant, well-run campus of various levels of assisted living for seniors. We were counting our blessings and feeling grateful that Mama had such a place available to her in the heat of the summer, or the cold winter, when many elderly or disabled people might find themselves without power or water due to a storm, a maintenance issue or a forgotten, unpaid bill. As with so many things we take for granted, we don’t tend to appreciate daily blessings enough until we find ourselves without them.

Today, I’m sure most if not all of us will turn on a faucet many times, scarcely thinking about what we are doing. Let’s pause at least once to feel happy about this incredible luxury; to enjoy the refreshment of cool water running over our hands, or chilled, pure water to drink, or a nice warm tub of water to relax us after a long day. It’s a privilege fit for royalty.



  1. Cherie

    Julia, you are so right about having running water in your house. I didn’t have inside water until I was about 8. I remember going out and priming the hand pump outside to haul in water for cooking and cleaning. I have never took clean water for granted and to have it at the turn of a faucet even better! Thank you for that memory.

    Love to you and Matt.
    Love and Light!

    • Wow, Cherie, thanks for giving us some thoughts on your first hand experience of doing without. I bet you appreciate having running water indoors far more than most people I know, myself included. Thanks for sending me love and light so faithfully. It’s an encouragement that I hope I can reflect back to you in some small way. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you!

  2. Amy

    I tend to wash a lot of dishes by hand and each time I do I think how very lucky I am to have it right there and already hot. It is a luxury and as you said many today don’t have it. I am very blessed. Hope you get to enjoy a blessing today.

    • Thank you Amy. As you probably remember, I actually like washing dishes, and end up washing quite a few by hand too. I find it quite therapeutic, and I’ve read research that says it actually is, at least for some of us. Hope this finds you having a wonderful time with your family. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. MaryAnn Clontz

    Indeed! Clean water is a huge blessing! When you stated: “Imagine what it must be like to have to walk miles to a well for clean water to haul home”; immediately made me think about “Aaric’s water wells. My youngest grandson chose to send the money we get by recycling to Healing Hands, Intl. to their water wells project! We have seen many photos of children walking miles for water that is often not palatable. Other photos are of joyful children splashing & drinking the wonderful water from an HHI well. Thank you for reminding us to be GRATEFUL for this luxury!
    Love, MaryAnn

    • Mary Ann, I love your helping, giving spirit, and the way you are passing that along to your grandchildren. Lucky them! Lucky us! 🙂

  4. Beautiful photo, Julia. I would love to see those sinks. But I’m pretty sure I add running fresh water to my gratitude list at least once a week. Living on an island like Taiwan for 1 1/2 years, back more than 45 years ago and growing up with outhouses and a pump for water outside, it isn’t something I can ever take for granted. I’d bet there are more without that luxury than have it. Waste is not something I do. We need to be reminded often how delicate that balance is. Thanks for that.

    • Marlene, thanks for sharing your experiences with us to give us extra reasons to be present when it comes to enjoying blessings. I love what you said: “Waste is not something I do.” Hooray! I try hard not to waste anything, and sometimes take that to extremes, but having plenty of something is no excuse to waste it. Those are gorgeous sinks, aren’t they? But I wonder whether they would be hard to keep clean? 😀 I suppose they would be worth it.

  5. This hit so close to home Julia. I still can’t take a regular shower after living in the country for 25 years. There, we had a cistern and our water was trucked in. I’d never let a tap run, even in the shower. It was shower on to get wet, shower off to lather and scrub. Then shower on to rinse. We got by with 1200 gallons for 7 or 8 weeks with no visitors. I didn’t do laundry at home though. I took it once a week to a laundry mat. Now, that time is free for other things! It was the sacrifices we were willing to make to live at a lake because we loved boating so much. I’m sure we could do better now that we’re in the city, but we’re still very conservative about water usage. We are really lucky, for sure. xox

    • K, I have really enjoyed reading about other people’s experiences with little or no running water. It reinforces everything I said about it being a real blessing. Believe it or not, in the summertime when I am not so chilly, I still take showers the way you describe — turning it off for lathering and scrubbing, and then back on again for rinsing. It just feels so wasteful for heated water to keep flowing for no reason. Maybe I’m more focused on that after living with water rationing in Texas and California. But in any case, conservation is always a good idea. Whenever you miss living by the lake you can remind yourself it was a trade-off. 😀 Most of life is that way, it seems. Thanks for being here! ❤ And thanks for the lovely package you sent recently. Someday soon I hope to sit down and send thank you notes to all the kind people who have been so mindful of us these weeks, months and years.

      • oh yay! I was just thinking about that package today as I readied some mail for another friend. Glad you got it before you left for Thanksgiving. xo ❤ Much love K

        • Yes, and it’s always so fun to get something from you – beginning with the very unique mailing labels you use! I cut out part of your package decoration and it is now on my fridge. Love you!

  6. Jack

    The commencement address at Vanderbilt in 1981 was about water, how precious it was to become, how extravagance needed to be replaced by penury (I remember, my dad made me look it up!). Our chancellor, a smart and powerful man, said it perhaps wouldn’t come true in his lifetime, or maybe even in ours, but be assured that the day would come when we would turn on the tap and lament its absence. Here in Alabama, we’re under severe drought conditions, no rain now in more than 60 days now and none in sight, but in April, it seemed a never ending resource. I’m sure there’s a life metaphor in there somewhere.

    And Julia, may the abundance of God’s love, unlike water, never run dry. Prayers for nothing but joyful and pleasant memories in this season of dryness.

    • Thank you, Jack. My Atlanta family tell me that they, too, are suffering from drought conditions. We in southeastern Virginia have had much more humidity than usual, and that’s saying something. I had to buy a dehumidified to run in the downstairs portion of our new guest home (Matt’s apartment) and I instantly loved the difference it made. Jeff and I had also arranged to have one installed in the crawlspace of our new home, as the termite inspectors told us the humidity was reaching risk levels for pests. Strange how much of nature is a feast-or-famine situation. Hopefully 2017 will provide a bit of balance, in more ways than one! 😀

      I appreciate so much your prayers and good wishes. Some days are much, much harder than others, but Matt and I are still here and looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with many loved ones. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

  7. Raynard

    Julia when Ella was alive,she was a sticker about Washing her hands. She enjoyed warm showers on Sunday morning before church. I just wrote about the challenge we had getting bathing and drinking water over in Iraq.You stayed thirsty and sweaty over there. lol. As we speak have a church potluck today. Chocolate fudge cake in the oven. Going to decorate with combination brushed on coffee glaze with salted caramel frosting on top of that. Im marinading chicken wings in a rasberry vignette to be baked. Wish you were here is that what you said? Lol Be blessed

    • Raynard, I love to hear about Ms. Ella. She just radiated sweetness. I bet that cake was delicious and yes, wish I could have seen it in person! Hope you and Mary will have a wonderful holiday. I know it will be hard without Ms. Ella but her spirit, like Jeff’s, will shine on. Thanks for being here!

  8. Sheila

    Julia, I love water! I don’t require bottled water, although we always keep lots on hand. Recently, when Hurricane Matthew was approaching, I filled as many large containers as possible with water. Of course, that’s one thing people rush to the store for, along with milk and bread! I’m also guilty of overwashing my hands! You’re right about WATER being quite the luxury. I hope you’re doing well. Baby steps, my friend! 💛⛺️

    • Sheila, baby steps are about all I can manage right now, and some days, not even that. BUT I am giving myself plenty of time and not making any drastic decisions. I was on the verge of quitting school mid-semester a couple of weeks ago — didn’t see how I could finish this semester (and I may yet not be able to do that) but thanks to some timely encouragement I’m still giving it a shot.

      Your message reminded me about how my friend Ellis used to say she would fill all the bathtubs with water when hurricanes were on the way to the Gulf Coast. Ironically with Katrina the problem of the surge that brought way TOO much water was as bad as the storm itself — but of course, none of the water was useful, only destructive. I suppose the rewards of living by the sea are worth the precautions and occasional trauma. Now every time I hear of storms in SC I think of you and say a little prayer for your safety.

      Thanks for being here with us. We are OK and are always blessed by your visits.

  9. Ann

    Julia, you’re right- it’s so easy to take the simple things for granted. Last year, we had a serious flood in my part of SC, resulting in no drinking water for a week! An experience like that makes one aware of the many wonderful benefits we have in this great country of ours.
    I’m praying for the healing of your heart and spirit.

    • Thank you, Ann. We still need the prayers. So far, neither Matt nor I seem to be experiencing anything getting easier, but we keep holding on and hoping. As Alys mentioned, it’s a process, and I think moving from the “numb” stage to the “fully aware and aching” stage is a tough thing to get through. In the very beginning I told Matt that I thought each day would get a little bit easier. At first that seemed true, but then suddenly, SLAM! Not true at all, for him or for me. Still, we are hanging on. Thanks for helping us through this difficult but inevitable time. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

  10. LB

    Julia, I am ever aware of the blessing of water. Thank you for the reminder.
    Love you!

    • Thank you Laurie! Hope you and your loved ones will have a wonderful holiday. I am thankful for YOU! Love and hugs. ❤

  11. Good morning, Julia! At first, I thought that might have been a photo that you’d taken. We seem at times to have a similar eye, and I took a similar photo in Sardinia (maybe local sinks seem less exotic?).
    But to your point, behind (almost) every lovely sink is an even lovelier blessing: water!
    Thank God, He has made water and blessed us as stewards of this live-giving resource.
    (And certain sinks do have ways of making water look even more inviting – thanks to God for making artisans, too!)

    • Susan, so true. I think the most gifted artists and artisans are adept at using their gifts to accentuate the loveliness of nature. I am thinking of the light-catcher Pauline made for me, and how it throws rainbows all over my kitchen that provide delight or solace, whichever is most needed. I have such fun memories of running around our Kingstowne neighborhood with you, cameras in hand. You stop for photos as often as I do — I like that in a person! 😀

  12. John 4:14 – But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
    Julia, the above passage verifies your post on the importance of water.

    • Thank you, Alan. That is a lovely and poetic verse. A perfect analogy, too. Reminds me of Psalm 42:1. That entire psalm is so perfect for anyone in mourning.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: