He was simply wandering around the desert. Two cups were in his hands. One was for water. One was for food. His whole life revolved around these two things. Some days he found some. Other days he did not.
He lived in the desert of Turkana. It had not rained in his area for six years. He didn’t look well. And why should he? There was hardly any food. And so he wandered around looking for whatever he could find. He could have been so easily overlooked or missed.
My friend, Jim Shelburne, and I watched his meanderings. Jim’s congregation, Washington Avenue Christian Church in Amarillo, had paid to have a well drilled in this area. We were there to see the results. Jim asked our CRF director there, Francis Bii, about the name of this poor little boy.
We were told, “Emmanuel.” God with us.
Jim said, “I want to sponsor this child!” Emmanuel wasn’t even registered with CRF yet—but we found a way for Jim to sponsor him.
We were able to show Emmanuel our new well and how to use a hand pump. He was going to have water anytime he wanted for his little cup.
Jim and I sat there and ate some goat.
And we now had clean water.
Recently I was asked to speak at the A&M Church of Christ. They asked me to speak on the passage in Luke 22 where Jesus eats the last supper with His disciples. They got to eat with the God who became flesh. If you look carefully, Jesus has two cups.
I remembered that as I looked at Emmanuel’s two cups. Jim and I weren’t sharing the Lord’s Supper. And certainly it wasn’t the Last Supper. But there was something rather holy about our goat and water. We had been with Emmanuel. I remembered Jesus words—“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”
As we had been with Emmanuel, we had been with Emmanuel.
As we celebrate Christmas this time of year, don’t miss Emmanuel.— Milton Jones, CRF President