The hot water in our shower would not shut off last night – in a newly remodeled bathroom. We had installed new fixtures, but some of the stems upon which the bright and shiny brass and porcelain knobs rested were old – indeed, worn out. The stems were not visible. A crack caused a screw to slip, and a washer fell off, meaning no matter which direction I turned the knob, hot water pulsed through. And no turn-off was readily apparent – meaning the only cut off was in the adjacent alley, under a manhole, close to the fence. Douglas bundled up, for the temperature had dropped to 27 degrees, and valiantly stopped the flow of water.
While he struggled to cut off the water, I quickly filled up a water jug, prepared the morning coffee, and filled the bathtub so we might flush the toilets. And we settled down awaiting a jingle on the phone. By 12:45 A.M., we gave up and went to bed. At 8:00 A.M. the plumber called, set an appointment, and came, discovering the problem, and fixing it with some new stems and washers.
The simple motion, turning off a faucet, was thwarted. A good thing, hot water, became scalding and harmful because of an aging piece of hardware, hidden from view finally wore out. And one faulty faucet meant shutting down all running water. No running water changes a lot -- stopping many things, anything that I had not made provision for before the water ceased to flow.
Christ said water was to flow out of me – living water. (John 7:38-39) But sometimes, what comes out of my heart and mouth is as unsafe as that scalding hot water, and the cause may be as unanticipated as that corroded faucet stem – that cracked under heat and persistent turning. Intemperate speech can also shut down all kinds of things as surely as Doug shut off the water to the house. Unfortunately there is no advance preparation for such a debacle the way I provided for the inconvenience of no running water. I have scalded other people with my tongue. The only provision I have is that there is a Balm. (Jeremiah 8:22)
The plumber replaced the damaged pieces, turned the water back on, and now the shower turns on and off again – the water’s temperature easily moderated because he reset the temperature on the water heater. What comes from me also can be moderated, though I can’t see or know the stuff in my heart. My heart “. . . is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.” ( Jeremiah 17:9 from THE MESSAGE )
Grace rests the gauge on my emotions when I remember these things and act:
God did not die and leave me in charge. “You grab a mad dog by the ears when you butt into a quarrel that's none of your business.” (Proverbs 26:17 from THE MESSAGE )"[S]he who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From [her] innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38-39)
God gave me Scripture to get at the corroded corners in my heart and soul. “Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults.” (Psalm 19:12 AMP)
God has a purpose in my speech. “ When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.( Proverbs 31:26 from THE MESSAGE )