God bless plumbers

Over the past couple of weeks, we kept noticing plumbing issues in our home. I’ll spare you the details, but we had to limit the number of showers we could take upstairs each night. Too much water running upstairs meant the commode and tub backing up downstairs. We realized last night something had to change. We needed a plumber or rent a hotel room.

It was Friday night and cold outside. I gave the local plumbers a call. They had a service number for emergencies. Within an hour, they called me back and were at my house by 9:30 pm in their truck.

“You got kids?” the plumber asked me.


“Well, we’ll stay outside and try not to wake them up. I got three kids of my own.”

They unscrewed the outdoor clean-out pipe to the main line. Water and other material poured out. I could hear one of them, “Man it smells like bleach. They must have used Draino or something.”

I had tried two bottles of Draino. For the next two hours, they worked on the problem and snaked the pipe. It was snowing at this point. Having learned not to disturb tradesmen while they’re working with my own advice, I stayed inside.

Close to midnight, he knocked on the door. I had fallen asleep. I woke and answered.

“Well, we’re going to need to come back tomorrow. We didn’t get quite get it. We’re going to need to jet it and I don’t think your neighbors would like that tonight. But you should be fine to shower and everything now.”

As a minister, I work to help people figure out how their lives make sense in relationship to God’s calling and will. At times, it can be a bit heady and spiritual. And, of course, that’s the point and often the need. But it’s also nice to see God use the loyalty and handiwork of plumbers. I think there’s needs to be a theology of plumbers.

At Jesus’ last meal with his disciples he taught them to love each other. But he didn’t leave it in theory. He stooped down and washed the dirty feet of his disciples. It was his blue collar, servant oriented love for people that made love visible and real like a plumber on a Friday night in the snow. God bless them!

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