Seville Phillips, now with Evangel Bible Translators, told about an experience that he had while camping with his family. He had taken his family on vacation and was enjoying the motorhome God had provided. They had just spent the past few days bicycling and playing with their two young sons at a beautiful location but now the time had come for them to move on. With the move comes the unpleasant task of emptying the holding tank. All the waste water or sewage is collected in the holding tank and must be emptied periodically. Most campgrounds are equipped with ‘sanitation stations’ or ‘sani-dumps’ for this purpose. At this particular camp ground the sanitation dump was a large concrete pit with removable covers. As Seville was performing the fragrant task he heard an awful noise followed by cries for help. His son had fallen into the pit and was now standing waist deep in sludge crying and pleading for help. Without hesitation Seville and his wife Lovie pulled their son from the stench of the pit. Even though the boy had been completely immersed and was fully covered from head to toe with the worst that the pit had to offer, Lovie embraced her boy and began to calm and clean her son. It was in his mouth, his ears, his nostrils, everywhere. Although he stank and was covered the worst we can imagine he was still their son. Love is amazing! It motivates us to go beyond the things that repulse us to reach and rescue the one we love. In Luke 5:12 we read about a man that came to Jesus “covered with leprosy.” He knew he was ‘unclean’ and should not be touched so he bowed before Jesus and humbly asked for healing. The next verse says, “Jesus reached out his hand and the man.” He could have just spoken and the man would have been healed. But Jesus reached out his hand and touched one that had been proclaimed as untouchable. I can’t help but wonder how long it had been since he had felt the touch of another. Here Jesus, the Holy One that knew no sin, not only brings about the physical healing the man requested but affirms him as a person with a physical touch as well. His healing and His grace are complete.
If we have lived very long in this world the probability is quite good that we too have fallen in a pit. Many of you are familiar with the pit and most of us know someone still struggling to free themselves from its grasp. It may be depression, despair, illness or bondage and try as we may we are unable to free ourselves. The worst the world has to offer may be found in our mouths, our ears, our eyes, or upon our hands or feet. We soon discover that there is nothing clean about us. We have become ‘untouchable’. Even though God hates to look upon sin and even though the stench of sin is all over us He does not abandon us. We are his children. If we will allow He will lift us from the pit, cleanse us from the influences of this world, break the bonds that have entangled us, comfort us and set us on the path towards righteousness. Not only can He lift us from the pit but He has promised to “uphold us with his righteous right hand.” We do not need to return to the pit again. How good it is to serve One whose love and grace extends beyond the limits to reach us at the point of our need.