Every drop of my attraction to scripture, astronomy, electricity, and technology has its equivalent drip in my aversion to plumbing. I understand the basic rule: water runs downhill. In my world, that fixed fact is the problem. It seems every bit of water I encounter is out to prove it can find its own way back to the deepest fountains of the earth—regardless of the pool, tank, pan, radiator, or pipe I intend to contain it. Countless puddles, stains, and erosions testify that no matter the path I provide to direct water’s course, it finds a different way.
Solomon tells the king who will provide construction materials for his temple project: “But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him?” History’s personification of wisdom knows that if Heaven itself cannot limit God, then neither can his temple. Similarly, if the Ephesians’ requests and thoughts cannot contain God’s power, then neither can the imaginations and desires, prayers and plans we have built.
I should bring the fear and trembling which accompany my plumbing jobs to my prayers. Regardless of my best channels, God’s presence will find its own way into the world.
Perhaps we should pray more like Isaiah: “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have created it” (Isaiah 45). And again: “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence” (Isaiah 64).
To a week preparing the deepest and widest channels we can manage, so God can overflow them, us, and those we serve.