After lots of work and many hours of travel by bus and train, we finally ended up in Srinagar, that beautiful city in Jammu & Kashmir. After we accomplished what we set out to do there, we were ready for a well-deserved break. We decided to drive up to the famous, beautiful lake with the house boats, water-side restaurants and shops. As we drove on the road that goes along the perimeter of the lake, I looked out to the mountains that surrounded us, and breathed in the freshness of nature. The feeling was so unlike the tense, hurried nature of city life in Bangalore where we lived at that time. In Bangalore, we’re glad when certain vehicles put out less dangerous smoke than others, but here in Srinagar, it is the freshness of the air that I noticed more than anything else. The mountains that surround us made us feel small and insignificant, and at the same, it gave us a feeling of the vastness of nature.
Finally, we stopped at a lakeside tea shop, and we sat down and waited for tea. From where I was sitting, I could see a pipe protruding form the wall on the side of the road.. Sewer water flowed out from that pipe and flowed over a drainage built on the cement, and finally, the water went into the lake. I did not think much of the sewer water flowing by us until our driver got up from his seat and began drinking from the pipe. Then he began to wash his face and hands with that sewer water. I was amazed! He returned to his seat just as the waiter brought us tea.
As we sat sipping the hot tea, I began to think what kind of a person this must be, who drinks sewer water. We spoke earlier while he drove, and he seemed to be a normal person. But why this sudden change in his behavior when he saw that water? Then I began to wonder if he was so desperate for water, that he could not wait for the tea. But then I thought, “who would go so low to drink sewer water?” While drinking tea, he spoke naturally and intelligently just as before. My mind was drenched with curiosity and wonder.
Then, all of a sudden, he turned to me with a smile on his face and a look on his face that says, “I’ve got a great idea.” At that moment, curiosity was rekindled within me. With a proud look on is face, he asked, “would you like to drink pure, fresh, clean, free mineral water?” Oooh, so that’s what he was drinking. My mind was so confused then, that I declined his offer.
You see, we are so quick to make judgments before we know the entire issue. We think we know enough about so many situations and people, so we do not think or look any further. We jump to conclusions based on the external appearance. The Bible says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1Sa 16:7b)