We got our six little pigs this week. When I first saw them, my husband had already settled them into their pen. They snorted and grunted, nosing around a pile of straw. Their beady black eyes widened and their floppy ears rose a little higher when I approached their pen.
Approached, I say, because I wasn’t about to go in there with them.
No way. It’s mucky in there. It already smells a little stinky in there. You have to watch your step in there.
Those pigs didn’t even want my husband in there with them. They’d only met him once, of course, when he culled them from the truckload of pork-on-hoof delivered to our neighbor. Now, his chosen ones trotted nervously away from him. Multiple scratches on their pink sides witnessed to tussles with other pigs. No wonder they were skittish.
“They’re not drinking,” my husband muttered beside me. “They haven’t figured out the waterer yet.”
I could see the shiny steel nipple valves down at perfect piggy height. Below them, a damp concrete slab: an obvious hint that life-giving water came from above.
Ok, obvious to me. Not so much to the pigs.
He Walked In
My husband opened the gate to the pen. He walked in there. “I’d better go show them how it’s done,” he said. He crossed the mucky, uneven ground to the waterer. The pigs scattered, squealing and snorting. They huddled up again over by the feeder, pretending not to watch that big scary farmer.
“Look, girls,” my husband said to his six gilts, “here’s where your water comes from.” He bent down and nudged the shiny valve and water came trickling out onto the slab. Then he walked away toward the gate and watched.
The pigs shoved one another with an air of, “You go first.” Finally, the one with a large black spot on her scratched pink hide stepped toward the concrete. But did she go for the valve? No, she just licked up what she could from the wet slab. None of the others caught on, either.
They spent ten minutes sucking moisture from mouthfuls of mud at the low end of the concrete. And they spent the rest of the day thirsty.
Next morning, same story. Farmer walks in, pigs scatter. Farmer works the valves, pigs lick moisture from the concrete. There’s an endless water supply within reach, and they’re living thirsty.
That afternoon, my husband tried one more time. Wading into the muck and the clods, ignoring the pungent smell of pig manure, he walked to the waterer. Patiently, he stooped down to pig level and nudged the valve open with his knuckle.
This time, the pigs didn’t mind that he was in there, with them. They trotted their thirsty little selves over there and drank the drips they could catch. When the farmer pulled away his hand, a gilt nudged the valve with her snout and, lo and behold, water gushed forth! She got all she wanted, and so, in their turns, did the others.
My husband sighed with satisfaction. Now his pigs would live.
Echoes of Easter
Where, you ask, is Easter in this muddy parable? Why, that pig pen fairly echoes with Easter. Easter is Jesus coming into our world to save wretches like us. He could have remained in heaven and watched us die of thirst. But instead the King of the universe condescended–“came down among” us–to die in our place, because He loved us too much to let that happen.
And then, of course, He rose from the dead to show it was finished. He didn’t just come to lead us to water. He came to become our water. Our living water! Our spring of eternal life with Him–in a kingdom so bright that our little piggy brains can hardly imagine the heavenly home He left for our sakes.
Today at the Good Friday service, I joined people from all over our community singing Stuart Townend’s song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”—
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure…
And there I sat, feeling like a pig, yet knowing that God loved me enough to let His only Son wade into my mucky world and call me to Himself, my Living Water.
On an ugly cross, bleeding blood just like mine, my Savior bought my soul’s freedom. Freedom! Life! Isn’t it marvelous? Come with me, and drink freely of the Living Water, poured out for you.
Celebrate Easter. Celebrate being loved so deeply.