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Lifelines: Water—a Weapon of Kindness Lifelines: Water—a Weapon of Kindness
July 2012

For years I’ve seen several generations of a Thai immigrant family in my medical practice. The grandson would bring other family members because he was the one who spoke the best English. During the day he ran the family restaurant, and at night he started a heating and air business. Every time he came he handed me his card.

I didn’t think much of it, except one year on the Fourth of July, our air-conditioning at home went out. In Memphis on the Fourth of July, I guarantee you it will be 100 degrees, and this year was no different. I pulled out one of the man’s card and called him. Within 30 minutes he was at our house and had the air conditioning back on.

Those brief hours without air conditioning reminded me that many people do not have air conditioning in their homes. And summer heat can be a killer—literally. One of the simplest weapons we have to fight back with is water.

When Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom, he knew they would meet hostility. He wrapped up his sending-off speech by saying, “and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).

Just a cup of cold water. The disciples were about to walk miles on dusty roads. No telling what the temperatures were. And Jesus tells them that someone who gives them a cup of water because they are his disciples is showing the kindness of the kingdom of God.

This summer, when the heat comes—and it will—remember the value God puts on a cup of cold water. Staying hydrated is the best defense we have against the dangers of heat, and a cup of cold water given in kindness is an easy way for us to do the work of God’s kingdom.

  • When you grab a water bottle on your way out of the house, grab a second one to give to someone who needs it.
  • When your neighbor saunters by to chat, offer a glass of cold water and enjoy the conversation.
  • Set an example for your children by letting them see you drinking water often.
  • Going to an outdoor event? Take a jug or cooler of water and some paper cups to pass around.

This summer, be ready to share a cup of cold water. Both the water and the act of kindness will be good for your health and the health of those who receive your gift.

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Rev. G. Scott Morris, MD, is founder and CEO of the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tennessee. This is the largest faith-based, not-for-profit primary health clinic in the United States, providing health services to over thirty-thousand patients who are working but uninsured. Dr. Morris is a physician and a United Methodist pastor.

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