According to firstname.lastname@example.org: scuttlebutt (noun) - 1 : A drinking fountain on a ship. 2 : A cask on a ship that contains the day's supply of drinking water. 3 : Gossip; rumor. Scuttlebutt comes from scuttle, "a small opening" + butt, "a large cask" -- that is, a small hole cut into a cask or barrel to allow individual cups of water to be drawn out. The modern equivalent is the office water cooler, also a source of refreshment and gossip.
The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. [John 19-32-34]
who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ [1 Peter 3:21-22]
I know . . . scuttlebutt doesn’t seem an appropriate word to be included in a devotional! I hope I’ll be able to explain how this devotion developed. I slept in this morning and did not have my full time before work to sip coffee, pray, check email and go through my normal morning routine. I did, however, intentionally save the daily “word a day” email I received when I read what the word was. I get it: you’re not satisfied with my explanation yet!
What occurred to me this morning is how fascinating words are—and how important. The origin of words has always been of great interest to me; I assume it is part of my crazy compulsion as a writer. Water. It’s just a word. Refreshment is certainly a word one would commonly associate with water. Gossip? Well, it might be a stretch to associate the two words, unless you do think of the office water cooler example.
In ancient times the equivalent of the water cooler was a town well or nearby stream or river. Women walked together to the town well or stream every day to draw water into jugs to carry home for cooking and cleaning. As they walked, they also took advantage of the opportunity to get caught up on all the gossip, or to start some of their own.
Water also calls to mind floods. Noah’s Ark comes to mind as well. John baptized Jesus with water in the Jordan River. Jesus used water to wash the feet of His disciples. Water-mingled blood poured out of the dead body of Christ on the Cross.
Scuttlebutt is what we are interested in and participate in when we live of the world. We are “of” the world when the day to day activities of “famous” people becomes an obsession, when we watch the predicted course of the latest hurricane and begin to think that surely God intends to end the world again with water—in spite of His promise. Scuttlebutt is what was used to “legally” crucify Christ. Scuttlebutt goes on everyday in church congregations, in schools and offices, in warehouses and executive suites. Scuttlebutt is what distracts us from what is important in and to our lives.
When we live in the world and not of the world, we seek the refreshment of the Living Water. When we live in the world and not of the world, we thirst for the water Christ offered the Samaritan woman at the well the water that springs up into eternal life. In the world we often feel drenched and soaked through with the cares and worries of the world. We also remember that Peter began to sink in the lake when He took his eyes of Jesus.
When we live in the world and not of the world, we know that even when we feel we’re going under for the last time, when we’ve breathed out our last breath before drifting soundlessly to the bottom of the sea, Jesus will reach out to save us. He is to be our focus and our foundation.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. [John 7:37-39]
My prayer today is that you remember He is the Living Water that springs up in us to eternal life. And that you come to Him and drink.
Blessings on your journey,
This was originally posted at my first blog, Worship for the Weekday, Friday, 9/12/08