Some years ago, down the hill and around a curve lived Phil. Phil owned a goat. In order to track his pet he hung a bell around its neck. Each morning we were awakened by the sound of that jingling bell. One morning a deep male voice floated up the mountain. It was Phil's daddy, here for a visit from New Orleans. He was singing negro spirituals, accompanied by a happy-sounding bell hung around the neck of a frisky goat. Can you imagine it?
In Oberammagau, Germany we listened in awe as the townspeople presented "The Passion Play" that has been performed at intervals since 1634. In Switzerland we awoke before dawn to the sound of jangling cowbells, hanging from the necks of Swiss Browns as the milk maids herded them into the barn. We rode a gondola to the top of a mountain where yodelers echoed their messages across the snow-covered peaks. At a restaurant high in Austria's Tyrolean Alps we sang "Edelweiss" with other diners. In villages and towns chimes rang out from bell towers. Majestic-sounding clocks announced the time on the hour. The varied sounds of music in the mountains delighted us.
.Journeying on to Rome we sat at night in the market square beside bubbling, singing fountains. We flew to Athens and Corinth, then boarded a ship to Ephesus and Patmos. Muscled men entertained us as they vigorously danced to Greek Island rhythms.
In Jerusalem, on a Sunday night in a tiny little Arab church I played an old upright piano as we sang "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that Day." My soul was blessed when I least expected it.
Upon landing in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa, to our surprise Christian music was played over
loud speakers. In the nearby mall Christian music played. Does that mean that Africa is Christianized? By no means, but there was a hunger to learn scripture as my Ted taught at Phil's training school, such as we had not experienced here in America since the Jesus Movement in the late 60's and 70's. Our souls were heartened and we could come back to our pastorate with anticipation.
Deeply embedded in the African soul are rhythms and harmonies. At Stephen's church where Ted preached, a large circle formed outside, walking and slowly singing in harmony. We visited an orphanage. On the property stood a church where children gathered to sing Gospel music in harmony. I attended a Catholic mass in Nairobi. Hundreds of people sang in parts, accompanied only by drums. We flew south to the Mara Safari. After dinner Masai Tribal Jumpers, hair and bodies covered with red clay sang and danced to their rhythmic chants. By invitation, Ted taught a Bible study to the camp's employees where we sang, accompanied by a soft guitar. In the group were newly born-again Masai Jumpers. Our souls were encouraged.
Before the break of day on teaching ministry trips, in two Muslim countries the blasting call to prayer jarred us awake. Our souls were unsettled and troubled.
On the day South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnam Communists we were standing in a circle in Dalat, singing, joyously with the Chief and his two sons of the born-from-above Su Tong tribe. Police came to the door, telling us that we must leave or we would be unable to escape. We hailed a taxi amd raced down from the Highlands to the Saigon airport where Catholic nuns handed each of us an orphaned, crying baby to bring back to America for adoption. Beneath our ascending plane were fleeing boat people. We didn't feel like singing for a very long time. .
What did Jesus tell the broken woman who asked Him for a drink of water at a well in far-away Samaria? "My well will cleanse you with clear, spring water that will never stop flowing." His powerful promise soothed her hopeless soul.
FILL MY CUP, LORD
Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy.
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
"Draw from my well that never will run dry".
There are millions in this world who are seeking
For pleasures earthly goods afford.
But none can match the wondrous treasures
That I find in Jesus Christ, my Lord.
So, my brother, if the things that this world gives you
Leave hunger that does not pass away
My blessed Lord will come and save you
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray.
FILL MY CUP, LORD
I LIFT IT UP, LORD.
COME AND QUENCH THIS THIRSTING OF MY SOUL.
BREAD OF HEAVEN, FEED ME 'TIL I WANT NO MORE.
FILL MY CUP, FILL IT UP AND MAKE ME WHOLE.