"It's time to water the mailman," I said.

The woman standing in line with me at the supermarket pretended not to hear me. When I turned toward her, she nervously looked at me out of the corner of her eye.

I smiled. "I do it every year," I said. She smiled and shrugged her shoulders. "That's why I'm buying this case of bottled water," I said.

"That's nice," she replied warily.

I was next in line, so I paid for my items and said to the clerk, "This is for my mailman."

"I'm sure he'll appreciate it. It's going to get really hot this week," she said.

As I walked away I paused for a moment to readjust my grip on the case of water. I could hear the woman say, "Is he crazy? He wants to water his mailman?"

The clerk, who knows me very well from shopping there almost daily, began to explain, "He does this every year. He puts a few bottles out on his porch in ice every day when the weather gets hot. He tells me the mailman loves it."

"Oh, that's what he meant,” she said. I continued out the door and headed home.

I thought about it for a while. I know why I do it. I do it because I appreciate him...rain, snow, sleet, heat, whatever...he delivers.

Watering the mailman. Actually, it’s a good analogy. I take care of him. I add to his day. In turn, I have gained a friend. I think we need to do that in our relationships. We need to tend to those people who bring something special to our lives. We need to appreciate the things we take for granted.

I remember my father inviting the coal man into our house when he delivered coal to us the day before Christmas. He offered him a drink and some snacks. He was "watering the coal man."

Every time I go shopping I always make appreciative comments to the clerks. I do it to brighten their day.

I give a tip to the girl at the pizza shop even when I am just picking it up myself.

Please don't see this as bragging. It doesn't call for praise. It's really something we should do all the time. Those little things add up. In the big picture, they make the world a little more bearable.

I'm not just talking about the people who get paid to be courteous as a part of customer service. I'm talking about the guy who holds the door for the next person. The woman who stops to say something nice about a newborn.

They "water the world."

Like a gentle shower on a garden, the water represents life. A tiny drop of kindness makes the world healthier, better off, and perhaps more hopeful. Yes, that's it. All those little things, those tiny drops of water, add up to make waves in a dry and barren life.

I think of it as following the lead of the 23rd Psalm. God waters my soul. God fills up my cup and it overflows with millions of tiny drops of living water. God nourishes my spirit in those dry times by watering the gifts He has given me. And He leaves cool, clear wells of hope along my path just when I need them most.

Why not join me? Together we can "water the world"!

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