The repairs next to him were made by the priests from the surrounding region. Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner, and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. – Nehemiah 3:22-26
Unfortunately, the words “water” and “gate” used together have forever become associated with scandal, politics, and pistachio-colored pineapple salad for me, and probably anyone born before about 1970. This passage is talking about a very different “water gate” located in Jerusalem near the Gihon Spring.
The water gate was a crucial point in the defense of the city, because as we have learned up to this point a city under siege without water is lost. Apparently water both entered and left Jerusalem via this gate depending on the amount of rain and the amount of water needed within the city. Historically, the water gate was associated with the temple and the spiritual life of the Israelites.
The rebuilding of the walls was done in pieces as we explored in yesterday’s post, stone by stone and family by family. In this passage the process of everyone building their small part of the wall continues. I guess this makes sense from a functional perspective since the wall would have to be free of large gaps to be of much use for defense. I guess on some level this is true of the Christian church and followers of God.
As we build the body of Christ, and our faith as followers of God, we also need to build all the “parts of the wall” at once. If we leave a part neglected it will leave a weak spot in our defenses and we may find ourselves “under attack”.
Richard Foster did a great job of summarizing the parts of the “spiritual wall” that we need to build in his book “Celebration of Discipline”. He divides these disciplines into the inward disciplines: meditation, fasting, prayer, and study; the Outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, service; and the corporate disciplines: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. This is quite a list. It is a good thing we are all working on this together as believers….
Prayer: God help us to work together as Christians to encourage one another in the spiritual disciplines that bring us closer to you.