The Writers’ Circle: Giving a cup of cold water


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

Recently, I heard the lyrics of a song, “I gave you a cup of cold water, it is all I require of you.” Our lives are only cups of cold water given to whomever we meet along our life’s journey.

Snow around us fills the river behind our home; we thank God for ample amount of moisture we enjoy.

Jesus tells us his grace falls on the good and evil. His rain falls on open fields for whoever will receive it. Have you ever felt there was a time when you received everything and gave nothing?

It reminded me of a celebration several years ago when the Rio Blanco River Restoration Project had been completed. I just showed up for the celebration while so many, many people gave their blood, sweat and tears. This project had been in operation for over 20 years in order to bring health back to our sick river.

A lot of water has run though our property since the days of that restoration project. Hopefully, this cup of cold water is a token of my heartfelt thank you to the people who worked on this project and gave us good water.

The Rio Blanco River runs by our property, which we have enjoyed as property owners since 1965. Our little river made regional news. It has given many cups of water to the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, California and Mexico.

We were invited to enjoy a banquet, ceremony, picnic and all the preparations for over 200 homeowners living on the Lower Blanco. We learned about this living life, which moves along the banks of our property. It enabled us to meet and renew old lifetime friendships along the Rio Blanco River. This river has brought us together as a community.

The Rio Blanco has a lot of history with all of us who live by her. She has given many cups of water, which we have taken for granted. When we moved here in 1976, we bathed in the river for three months until we could get our well and electricity. We drank from this river when our water was frozen.

The kids made their swimming hole in the belly of the river. Al and our guests have fished from her banks many times. Fishermen tell their fishing stories about how they caught the big one in the Rio Blanco.

At the banquet, several people stood and gave a certain facet of their involvement. I was moved once again by this river that runs along our property line. People, who had the ability to write grants, contact the powers that be, the organizations that came along side and the Blanco residents, all gave to complete the work.

This river has always been there and we were not aware of its unhealthy condition. Others did; they had the foresight to reclaim our river.

There are many people along our banks of life who have continued to give us a cup of water. We show up and enjoy others’ hard work. Many pass by and we take them for granted. We are not sure where they come from or where they are going, but they pass by and we have been refreshed by them.

Val Valentine wrote a book about the Blanco, called “A River Once More.” He cared enough to document every step and every change our river went through from 1989 to 2010. He writes, “A river can be killed by treating it only as a commodity rather than the habitat of life itself. When we nurture our singing and working rivers, we celebrate the greater community in which we live … In Colorado as a territory and a state, ‘Here is a land where life is written in Water.’

 “I have worked on this river long enough to see the same water pass by perhaps a dozen times. I listen to hear of its stories of the Arizona desert, the aqueducts and salad bowls of field and table in California. I know it is multi-lingual, an international traveler, yet it comes back to me, to all, again and again, from the high country, its sanctuary, a place of rest.”

The song goes, “I gave you a cup of water and that is all I require of you.” Our river of life comes from the high country, from His sanctuary, and moves in and out of lives as a place of rest and we witness it through the constant moving of His Spirit.

As Valentine writes, “A river can be killed by treating it only as a commodity rather than the habitat of life itself.” That goes for all of us. We need to scoop up a cup of fresh moisture from God and give to those who are weary and thirsty in these times.

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