Water Boys

Standing on the sidelines of a high school football game recently had me thinking about the water boy. This position is often seen as lesser member of the team, perhaps even viewed derogatorily. But to Jesus it is a noble position in the Catholic Church, and one to which we are all ultimately called.

Jesus refuses to be the water boy. He asks the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink. He says “I thirst” from the top of the cross. We hear in John 5:1-16 about a crippled man laying outside the pool of Bethesda. Jesus does not take him down to the miraculous waters, but instead heals him on the spot. Jesus is not going to interact himself with water. (Remember when he turns water into wine and walks over water on the Sea of Galilee?) Jesus, instead, leaves the water boy position to us. “Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” he instructs at the end of the Gospel of Matthew.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of water flowing out of the temple, south of the altar (cf. Ez 47:1-9, 12). The water grew increasingly deep until it formed a river and “wherever this river flows,” said the angel to Ezekiel, “every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live.” Ezekiel had people wade through the water. We too need to have people wade through the water, for the water is life-giving. Not everyone will go to the water, so we need to bring it to them. The water needs to flow south out of our altar at St. Juliana and onto Touhy Avenue and into Edison Park. Let us be water boys and proud of it.

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