Safe but Unsaved by Peter Maurice

Safe but Unsaved

Are Our Souls Still "Tenable" After Covid?

At least once a year our town's biweekly newspaper carries another edifying story. Last summer there was one about a group of Christian volunteers just returned from Central America, where they had sunk a well and taught the villagers about pathogens in dirty water. The story was illustrated with a photo of children frolicking in silvery liquid gushing from a spigot. Even the most hard-bitten cynic might be warmed by this palpable good.

But what if the article had reported that the volunteers had also proffered the "living water" that Christ spoke of at Jacob's well? What if they had instructed the ignorant not just about physical hygiene—how to avoid contamination from the microbes in the H2O—but about the spiritual contagion of sin? Would their mission still have enjoyed universal approval? Or would their "Bible thumping" have been felt to be an adulteration of a clear corporal good with something ulterior? Maybe those well-drillers had their hooks out, angling with attached strings for converts.

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Peter Maurice is a retired teacher of French, English, and humanities, at all levels from elementary through university. He is the recipient of several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. His writing has appeared in The Wanderer, Chronicles, Touchstone, Crisis, New Oxford Review, and Gilbert magazines.


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