Valentine’s night, I’m sick and Bettie is tired.  We spend the evening doing separate things, and then an event brings us together.

Something in the basement is beeping.

Since we’re not terrorists, nor do we knowingly associate with them, it’s probably our water system.  I have written about it before (here, here, and here).  If you don’t want to follow the links, we harvest rain water off our roof, purify it, and use it – we’re not connected to any municipal water supply.  So beeping is a bad thing.

We’re getting to the end of when our UV bulb’s year of life is up.  It failed early, apparently, by 12 days.  I mean-spiritedly chastise Bettie for not buying one a couple weeks earlier, when we noticed that we had 24 days left.  I apologize, and Valentine’s Day ends friendly.  Unfortunately, since the lamp failed, it also ended with us showering with our eyes closed, and brushing our teeth with bottled water, and not washing dishes or clothes.  There’s bird poop in the water coming out of the tap!  I treat it like I’m in India again. It’s an adventure, and we’ll get a bulb the next day.  It will go in the silver tube.  And it’s almost like we’ll be camping out.

The next day, the bulb guy is not available.  He thinks he has one in stock, but he’s not going to be in the office today, and apparently nobody else has bulb authority.  Wednesday passes, we shower with our eyes closed again, and the adventure isn’t as much fun.

Thursday comes, the bulb is picked up, and installed.  And the sensor still reads LAMP FAILURE.  Uh-oh.  This is not good.

During this time, I had called the company in Canada that makes the system.  They told us there was another distributor local to us, who didn’t have a bulb, but did sell it lots cheaper when they had it in stock.  (Yes, I know that joke.)  We are unhappy about the support we’re getting from the bulb guy, so on Friday we contact the new distributor.  They are closer to us, as well as being cheaper.  Plus, the Canadian manufacturer doesn’t know about the bulb guy – so he’s probably a third party, which is why his stuff is more expensive.  The new distributor helps us troubleshoot the system, and we determine that the ballast/controller is bad.  The good news is that it comes with a 5-year warranty.  The bad news is that when we moved into our house three and a half years ago, we didn’t register it.  So we’re out between sixty and a hundred bucks on the old one that didn’t last as long as it should.  Bummer.  The new distributor orders us the new ballast, which should be in early next week.  (The ballast/controller is the silver box mounted on the wall, with electricity going in one side, and gray cables out the other, attaching to the silver tube.)  And I apologize to Bettie again – even if she had ordered the new bulb, it wouldn’t have made any difference, since the bulb wasn’t the problem.

Parallel with this, I’m thinking about the water in a spiritual sense.  Not as water, but the sense of being in the world but not of it.  We are supposed to live here as Christians, being salt and light, without jumping into the dirty, messy, soul-suckingness that is sin.  So have friends that are not Christians, definitely.  But influence them towards Jesus instead of being influenced away.  Let the water of the world be useful in ways that it can, washing the outside of you, while not letting it inside your eyes and mouth, not partaking of the evil.  It mapped surprisingly well.

Early next week comes and goes, no shiny metal box.  Mid-week goes by.  Bettie and I are starting to worry about another weekend of brushing our teeth without turning on the faucet.  On Friday, a phone call: it’s here!

We test it out with the new bulb, and success.  It works as it ought to, and shows 100% UV penetration – it’s killing all the nasty bugs that it should.  But we still have the remnants of dirty water in every pipe in the house.  It has to be cleaned with a bleach solution.  Cold water first, then hot water, until we can smell bleach at the faucet, then let it sit for a half-hour.  We got that done (including the ice maker in the fridge, and the shower heads, and the outside faucets, and the washing machine) and let it sit for an hour while we eat.  Flush the whole thing, and we’re back in business.  I think we’re still making ice cubes to drain that water line, but we’ll pitch them instead of using chloriney ice cubes.

And the spiritual side hits me again.  Getting a new controller for our UV system is like salvation.  There’s a new Boss in town – the old one wasn’t working very well.  And the cleaning of the pipes was like experiencing sanctification.  Romans 5:22 says

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

That process of sanctification, the cleaning up of your (my) life, takes a while.  Sometimes there’s some smelly stuff that has to get flushed out.  But the result is sweet, clean, and thoroughly enjoyable. We are enjoying our clean, pure water, and enjoying life in Christ.

And that life is very good.