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An Urgent Need for Water

Why was I so fixated on filling an empty milk jug?

A woman is mysteriously led to fill an empty jug of water
Credit: BrightViewPhoto

I was halfway out the door on my way to a business trip in Heath, Ohio, when I spotted it. Sitting in the sink, staring me down. An empty plastic milk jug. It aggravated me to no end. Was it just going to walk itself into the recycling bin? My husband and I were both neat freaks. It was odd he’d leave a mess the one morning I was in a rush. I dropped my suitcase, picked up the container. That’s when I heard it. A voice. Fill the jug with water.

What? I shook my head. Heath was a four-hour drive away and I had to be there by noon. It was already past seven. Why would I waste time filling an old jug with water? Maybe the recent drought was on my mind—my small town in West Virginia hadn’t seen a drop of rain all summer. But would I really have an urgent need for water on this trip? A whole jug of it?

The voice persisted. Fill it with water! Fill the jug.

Fine! Anything to leave already. I filled the container from the tap and left it in the sink while I packed my car. The moment I backed out of the garage, though, the voice returned. 

You forgot the milk jug! Go get it!

There was no time to argue. I ran inside the house, grabbed the container, set it down in the back of the car and headed for Heath. The country road was quiet so early in the morning, except for the sound of water sloshing back and forth in the milk jug.

Up ahead, I spotted a pickup truck on the side of the road. Standing next to it was a young man I knew from church and his three daughters. They looked like they needed help. I pulled over. “What happened?” I called out.

“I was driving the girls to school and my car just died,” he explained. “The radiator needs water. I went down to the creek, but with this drought it’s bone dry. I don’t know what to do.”

My husband told me later that he didn’t remember leaving the jug out. But that young man and his family were grateful someone did.

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