Rebuilding relationships


ONE of the problems of remote living is the need for a preparedness to tackle all manner of practical issues.

So, this past week saw the failure of our recycled water system, which as a result, started leaking a strong-smelling, dark gray fluid down the hillside.

Removal of manhole covers and a bit of prodding around revealed the cause being that channels connecting the three sections of what’s similar to a septic tank, had become blocked by grease and organic material, preventing them from working properly.

Submersible pump and very long pipe emptied most a suitable distance away, but still left some two inches or so of sludge at the bottom.  So the only solution was to don wellies and lower myself down the small access hole into the very cramped, dark recesses of the first two sections and start baling into buckets, which were then passed to my wife waiting above, for disposal.

Once empty, the serious stuff of cleaning and enlarging the holes between sections was followed by a general clean and hose down both of the tanks and myself!  Fortunately after only a few minutes the aroma becomes unnoticeable, though from the looks we received on a subsequent visit to Mercadona, we gathered, even after a hot bath, that we weren’t exactly ‘sweet smelling’.

But with no vehicular access; no space to manoeuvre a pressure washer, and no way of identifying or curing the root problem from outside, there had been no alternative to actually climbing in and becoming a part of the system.  Extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant as it was, there was no other way to clean it up and get it working again properly.

And being me, I couldn’t help but recognise the Christian comparison.  You see our lives, with all our wrongdoing, pride and selfishness are in a right mess, and the only way to sort it out properly was for Jesus to get involved.  His coming into the World must have been incredibly uncomfortable and unpleasant for him, but there was no alternative.  Only by being there and getting involved, dying in our place, could he really clean up the mess we’ve made and allow working relationships with each other and God to be rebuilt.