Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.
- Exodus 15:22-27
In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.
Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.
- Numbers 20:1-13
This post has nothing in it about not running the water while brushing your teeth, placing a brick in the toilet tank to reduce the water of each flush, taking shorter showers, etc. I am strictly looking at the bill, in a humorous way – or at least I hope so.
A few years ago, actually before I started writing these posts, we went on a two-week trip that lasted over four weeks. My wife’s mother passed away on that trip, and we stayed around for a while.
When we returned, the water bill was the same that it had been the month before. My wife was paying the bills in those days, and I explained to her that they sometimes do not have a chance to read the meter. They estimate instead. I told her that we would get a low bill or no bill at all very soon.
Now, my wife remembers when we first got to Pennsylvania. We had moved here from the high desert of Washington. There, our water and sewer were together in the same bill and the small fee for trash collection was insignificant. But in PA, where we have three rivers just a spitting distance from our home, The water bill and sewer bill and trash bill (billed quarterly) were more than the water, sewer, and trash combined in a desert community. But we did not like the prices in Washington state. When we left Mississippi, the combined water, sewer, and trash was less than one third what it was in Washington state. But another factor needs to be considered. My wife and I had two teenaged sons in Mississippi and it is just the two of us in PA. So, now we pay over ten times the fees for half the usage, less than half considering a teenager’s long showers. While the price of everything is going up and has gone up over the 25+ years in PA, I am just looking at a two-year timespan in the mid-1990s. Inflation would not explain the change. Just three bills each month meant three times the administration overhead… And I still have not figured out why sewer is higher than water.
Just as I said to my wife about estimated water usage, a couple of months later, we got a bill for about $25, instead of the usual $60+. Now, I was upset. I looked at our water usage. It was less than zero, meaning that the adjustment on their estimate would make next month a little lower also. So, why $25.
Well, there are the meters in everyone’s homes. They cost money. We are presently on our third meter over the past 25+ years. Note: The installation crew screwed up while I was off in India (I think that was where). They installed it wrong and the meter leaked, flooding our basement. It was considered a mistake in that the water leaked upstream of the meter and we did not have to pay for the water that flooded our basement. If the water had leaked downstream, they would have given the installer a promotion. As it was, a different installer came to put in a different meter.
There are people who drive through the neighborhoods and the meters communicate wirelessly to the truck, telling them how much water we have used. That costs money.
There are a lot of people in the office who take the new meter reading, compare it to the estimate payments we have been paying and then adjust for the next month’s bill. There are people that send the bill. Then there is the postage. Then there are people who account for all the payments sent in.
I thought and thought, and I could easily see why that might cost someone $25, when we had not used any water at all.
So, I am someone who sees problems and fixes them. I did a lot of that in my career. All these administration fees revolve around calculating how much water we use so that the bill is right.
After years of thinking about it, my solution can be found in the Scriptures above. God provides the water. Why do we pay someone else anything at all for that water?! If we do not have a meter to be maintained, we save money. If we do not have a meter to read, we save money. If we do not have meter readings to compare to estimates, we don’t need those people either.
If you do not have any workers, why have eight executives that make over $100,000 per year and three of them, the top executive’s two cousins and his brother-in-law do not even have a third-grade education – and there is one executive that is not a relative, but he has photographs of the top executive in compromising positions?
Note: I am making this stuff up, except for the ten times higher bill for half the water usage – and the water tasted better in Mississippi. Who knows? The company may be mobbed up, and I would hate to make them angry…
My point is, when you give the credit to God, you can give away the water with no fees at all. You save all those administrative expenses, and we have $60-70 more in our budgets each month. Did you catch that? Nearly half the bill for water has nothing to do with water.
And not giving God the credit is a serious offense. Moses struck the rock twice and said that he and Aaron were tired of giving the people water. Then while everybody and all the donkeys were drinking water, God told Moses and Aaron that they would not enter the Promised Land. They had shown that they did not trust God’s plan.
Ouch! Moses was simply angry because he was tired of the decades of whiners crying in his ears.
But think of it. The census that starts Numbers counted over 600,000 men, basically of the age to serve in the military. So, adding women and children and you have over a million and that did not consider the 22,000+ of Levites. Then they had donkeys to carry those belongings … We are talking about a lot of water. They travelled through a desert. They had to stop where there was supposed to be water.
All this talk about travelling through the desert and water and donkeys who are thirsty reminds me of a “wonderful old song about the west.” Here is Mark Lowry “ruining” Cool Water. Jake Hess joins the Gaither Vocal Band for this song, and finally at the end of the song gives Mark Lowry the water he “deserved” to get.
I sent my suggestion to the water company (not really). They have not replied. I have no idea why. It makes perfectly good sense. … But if there is a knock at the door in the future and the guy looks like Baldwyn Apple or Red Delicious Apple (shameless Deviled Yeggs mystery plug), I am not answering the door.
Of course, I am just guessing about some of this stuff for comedic effect, but there is some truth in it as well. Prices go up, and with those price increases, some of it is unnecessary. It makes these people think that they are “making” the water that God provides. The company that I worked for would charge $150 per hour for my services, but I made less than a third of that. They added my benefits and then they said that the customer might not give us a contract until next year and we wanted the price to still be good. They estimated a 20% pay increase when I never got more than 3%. Then they doubled the price to cover the administrative costs, the physical costs of the building, etc. The cost of running a business turned less than $50 per hour into $150 per hour. It simply seems like highway robbery. But I would love free water that tasted good.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
I was puzzling over our water bill recently. Finally gave it up as hopeless. We need water, we need the sewer, so we pay. Sigh…
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But where you live, I might see a higher bill, but PA has not been in a drought. We have rivers, creeks, and runs going everywhere. Sure, there is purification and pumping, but the way PA gets you is every little thing is a lot higher than it should be.
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