“As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, The teacher asks – where is the room that i can eat the passover meal with my disciples” (Luke 22: 10-12)
Possibly not the most well know episodes, statement or actions of Jesus, an unremarkable instruction. But , aside from the due diligence, dedication and devotion of the women at Easter (John 12: 1-12, Luke 21 1-5, Luke 23: 26-33 and Luke 24 1-12), its this simple little episode that has got my attention. For at least two reasons, and two reasons in which we as christian faith based youthworkers might reflect on further.
Firstly, Jesus knew the routines of the community. Ok this might reduce his aura slightly, but instead of him knowing prophetically that the water carrier was there, he’s actually seen him on previous occasions, doing his dutiful actions, day by day, collecting water, filling the buckets and delivering it. Maybe thats a benefit to being up early, Jesus might have seen him on his early morning prayer times.. but Jesus had some knowledge of this routine, this person, his duty, his influence and his resources. It was all these he needed at a time of pending crisis.
Secondly, moving on from the first. Once the routines of the community had been sought, Jesus could use the resources that the Water carrier could give. The water carrier was familiar to the community, had power and resources, did a daily routined job well, hidden (possibly) and was relied upon for an essential resource. Crucially at a time of crisis, Jesus didnt turn to the powerful leaders to give him and his disciples a home, a space, a welcome. He found, not the least likely, but someone dependable, reliable, familiar and unassuming. And the water pitcher led them to the right place.
At Easter this year, i wonder whether as youthworkers we take our role as the water carrier a little more seriously. Often we are hidden and unassuming in our communities, and actually deep down we know this is a space we love to be, hidden in the margins, guiding and leading, having conversations – yet all the while young people are led to new places, places where new things become familiar, because we do do the regular, the week by week, listening to the community and its resources, and most of all being familiar in times when young people need someone who can be trusted. Its a sacred space, a gritty space.
Crucially too, the water pitcher, is relied upon by Jesus to propel him and his team into the space of the last few days of that Holy Week, the ordinary used to lead to extraordinary. As youthworkers our role in the ongoing drama is to have conversations which reflect a new reality that propels young people to new ideas, dreams, visions – but that will only occur if we aware ourselves of the drama of that change.