Just a Cup of Water
My thoughts kept going to, “What I really need is a cup of cold water.” Driving home from yet another
weary day at work and too tired to stop anywhere, this thought would not go away and was beginning
to annoy me. Up ahead I saw the familiar sign of a fast-food place and decided to go through drive-thru
and get a cup of water. Pulling-up to the speaker, I ordered my water; nothing else, just my cup of
As I reached the window, there stood the server holding my greatly desired cup of water. “How much
do I owe?” I asked, reaching for my wallet. The server looked at me a bit puzzled and replied: “Nothing.
We just give water for free.” Reaching out and circling my fingers around the cool, paper cup that held
what my parched throat needed, I replied: “Really? I’m willing to pay for this.” “No ma’am, that’s not
necessary, he replied with a smile.” Thanking him, I drove off and gulped down one straw-full after
another of cool, refreshing water.
This experience made me think of the simple needs of those around us and how easily we could help
meet them. Something as simple as a cup of water, when so badly needed, brought me a sense of
gratitude all because it was done in the spirit of giving. Giving and not expecting, demanding or
requiring something in return. This restaurant knew that people need water and they are willing to give
it freely, even if the customer doesn’t buy anything else
As we head into this Christmas season, I wonder how many of us are thinking of “giving with ‘no strings’
attached?” Will our list be limited to only those we know? Or are we willing to step-out and meet the
needs of those who so desperately need someone to be their “Angel of a drink of water?”
The Angel Tree Ministry has been offering a way to help provide Christmas to the children of inmates for
30 years. Through this ministry over 1.7 million children have received the gift of joy, gratitude and love
in action. Imagine what it must be like to have your parent in prison and your Christmas wish being: “To
have a gift from my parent to show my friends at school.” Receiving a gift, with a note from their
parent, provides so much more than an “object” to hold. It’s a confirmation that their parent is thinking
of them … they do care about them. To help a child experience the affection of their parent, all it takes
is a donation from people like you and me and a heart for meeting the needs of others.
The Angel Tree ministry, in connection with Prison Fellowship Ministry, offers real hope and joy for
millions of children; not only at Christmas, but throughout the year with programs designed to meet the
needs of a prisoner’s child. If we want to show God’s love to others, we need to be willing to be the one
holding the cup of cold water and not asking for anything in return.
On my way home, I stopped and bought my “Angel Tree Child” gift for this year. An activity I have
enjoyed doing for several years. This year though, it felt different. My heart was full of gratitude for the
kind gesture shown to me and in a way, buying the gift for my “Angel Tree Child”, felt like a link in the
chain of “paying it forward.” Will you join me and “pay it forward” to a child in your community?