A Cup of Cold Water


A number of years ago in the Santa Fe Ski Basin in northern New Mexico, two young men went cross-country skiing.  One was an experienced cross-country skier; the other was having his first experience on snow skis of any kind.  The first part of the trip went reasonably well as they both traveled along the level or uphill trail.  Late in the day, the more experienced of the two decided it was time to head back, returning over the same route they had just come up.

 With the parting words, “See you at the bottom,” the novice was left to negotiate nine miles of downhill ski trail on his own.  He did the best he could, but fell often.  Sometimes, in getting up off the packed snow trail, he had to lie in the deep powder for a while to gather enough strength to get back up.  Almost half-way down, he came upon a couple who were taking a break by a rock outcropping on the side of the trail.  “How’s it going?” they asked.

“Not too good,” the lone skier replied, briefly describing what had transpired.

“Somebody needs to tell your friend about the buddy system,” one of the couple responded.  “Why don’t you rest here for a few minutes and then you can go down the rest of the way with us?”  The couple proceeded to share some dates and water they had with the less experienced skier.  And then they helped him complete the journey.

Are you familiar with the parable Jesus told about the Good Samaritan?  (If not, you can read it in Luke 10:25-37.)  This story has special meaning for me, because, you see, I was the cross-country skier that couple helped.