Cool Water

The whole time I hacked at those stubborn stumps, the only thing I could think of was getting a drink of water.

Cool, clear water.

I stood out in the early summer sun again today, swinging that mattock.  One would think the pain from the blister I just tore the top off would give me something else to think about.  

One would be wrong.

The sweat poured from my forehead burning my eyes, all the while, soaking my clothes.  I gasped for breath from the exertion.  Water was all I needed.

Cool, clear water.

At my age, I can’t keep swinging the heavy tool over my head incessantly.  I stopped, again and again, leaning on the wooden handle and thinking about the two black labs over at their water dish, lapping up water to quench their thirst as if the liquid would never run out.

Lucky dogs.

Finally!  The last piece of wood was dug out of the ground and I threw down the heavy double-edged tool and headed into the house.  

My hand—with the raw blister oozing blood—throbbed painfully, but, do you think I looked for salve and an adhesive bandage the moment I came through the door?

I did not!

Water!  Nothing was more important to me in that instant.

Cool, clear water. 

I gulped it down, that life-giving elixir, pure and clean.

Ahhh!  I’ve never tasted anything better.  


But, there was something else I was going to write about when I sat down tonight.  What was it?

Oh yes.  I’ve got it!

Cowboy music.  That was it.

Some of you knew I was going to talk about it.  You’ve either reached a certain age when you can remember the Sons of the Pioneers, with Roy Rogers among their ranks, harmonizing sweetly on the song close to eighty years ago.  Or perhaps like me, your Dad sang it while working in the hot sun of South Texas or whatever place under the hot sun you hail from.

Cool Water.  Cool, clear water.

I hummed it while I stood and sweated in the sun myself today.  It is a song about a man and his faithful mule, Dan, who wander through the desert day after day, looking for nothing more than the next drink of water.  Full of warnings of false hope (mirages) and prayers to God above for relief, it’s a cautionary tale about wise choices and the drudgery of life when days and nights of hoping and praying turn into more days and nights of hoping and praying.

I don’t usually find much inspiration in cowboy songs.  This one makes me think.

All day I’ve faced the barren waste
Without the taste of water, cool water
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry
And souls that cry for water, cool, clear water.

Keep a-movin’, Dan, don’t you listen to him, Dan
He’s a devil not a man
And he spreads the burning sand with water
Dan can you see that big green tree
Where the water’s runnin’ free
And it’s waiting there for you and me?*

The Teacher said if we have open hands and will share cups of cold water with those in need, we’ll be rewarded.  (Matthew 10:42)

On a recent afternoon, our soon-to-be-neighbors demonstrated that generosity, offering bottles of water to our grandchildren, along with the Lovely Lady and me, as we worked raking a section of our new yard which had been neglected for many years.  It was a kind thing to do.

I believe the Teacher.  They will be rewarded.

But, I wonder if He had more in mind than the simple physical act of handing water to those who are thirsty.

I don’t want to discount that act—not at all.  There was a day when our Savior desperately could have used such an offer.  He had fasted and prayed.  In the desert.  Forty days, he had gone without food.  We’re not told that He was thirsty, but we do know He was desperately hungry.

The tempter showed Him a mirage and gave Him permission to eat.  Offers of safety and of glory followed, but the devil could give Jesus none of those things.  Like a magician’s tricks, not one of the things he offered was real. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Unlike old Dan the mule, the Teacher knew a mirage when He saw one.

We should offer the cold water.  But what about when it’s the “soul that cries for cool, clear water”?

What if the soul cries out?  What then?

What if the soul cries out? What then? Click To Tweet

When Jesus sat at Jacob’s well in Samaria, he first gave the woman who came the opportunity to be the one who offered a cup of cool water.  But, He knew something more was needed. (John 4:4-15)

Her soul was thirsty, needing cool, clear water.

He gave it to her.  Water, so her soul would never be thirsty again.

I’m going to keep the bottles of water ready to share with other thirsty travelers.  But, I’ve got a dipper handy beside that other, ever-flowing spring bubbling up inside, too.

It’s no mirage.

The water’s running free, and it’s waiting there for you and me.

Cool, clear water.



When you drink the water, remember the spring.
(Chinese proverb)


Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
(John 4:13,14 ~ NLT)


*(from Cool Water ~ © Songwriters Guild of America ~ Dan Nolan ~ American singer/songwriter ~ 1908-1980 )



© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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