Water Bottles and Wineskins
In my younger years I
climbed mountains. Whenever the weather cooperated, I could be found crossing a glacier, dodging crevasses, or inching up ice and rock
toward a summit in the Cascade Range
or in the Olympic mountains. Ò.
These were expensive bottles: The cost was more than double what I
paid for my cheap, plastic-tasting bottles, but there was no bad
after-taste! Incredible! The water that filled our bottles was the
same, but the difference in taste was amazing.
One of the challenges of climbing is finding water. Climbers melt
snow or ice on small stoves to
produce the water necessary to climb. In the early days I carried
cheap plastic bottles to hold my water
supply. The plastic gave the water a terrible taste, but my need for
water superceded the luxury of good
flavor. One day a fellow climber offered me a drink from his bottle.
As I drank, I realized there was no bad taste! When I asked my
friend how he kept his water pure-tasting, he told me he only purchased bottles made by a company called Nalgene
I was musing as I often do, about the tension between what we call
Institutional Church and Emerging Church.
Those of us who are “Post IC” Christians often find our motives for
leaving the existing church and even our
very faith called into question by IC folks – and especially their
One argument I’ve heard is this: “Of course the church has problems.
The church will always have problems, but if the Holy Spirit is
here, why do you have problems with the church?”
And I was musing. And it occurred to me in the form of a question:
“Does it matter what container holds water,
so long as the water inside is pure?” Before you quickly agree that
it doesn’t matter, remember the story about cheap bottles and
containers and consider this: If the container is dirty, or if it is
made of materials that include PCBs or other harmful substances that would taint or give a bad taste or even poison the water, does the
Perhaps if we’re willing to spend a little
more, we can find a container that will allow people to Taste and
See that the Lord is good!