Our Sunday School lesson today was about Nehemiah, who was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia and the then-known world. What struck me as funny was that as the job description was being told, several of the kids were shocked by it. Well, what shocked was that, before the cup was handed to the king, his cupbearer would drink from it first. Now, in fact, he may have poured some into a separate vessel and taken a drink, but it is just as likely that he took a drink from the cup itself, first and it was more fun this way anyway. The point was that this job was very important and required great trust in the fidelity of the individual because the king’s very life was at stake. It was a very highly honored and respected job.
And actually, I’m not really going to tell the story about building the wall with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other again here this time. What I want to get at is the attitude of the kids. Many of them thought it was disgusting to drink after someone else from the same cup. Well, they should have grown up when and where I did.
At my Grandma’s house, there was one drinking glass that was shared by everyone. It was an old A&W Root Beer mug and I am fairly certain that it never got washed. Maybe rinsed out when the next person used it, but why bother washing something that only had water in it? I know, in today’s germaphobic society this would be unthinkable but it was normal to me. And you would think that, over time, I would have a different view of it now but I don’t. What did people do before electric pumps like my grandparents had to pump running water into the house? They had to go down to the well and lower a bucket and drink from a ladle, the same bucket, and the same ladle that everybody else used.
Remember, the Good Book says, “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.“