Climbing upwards. Exhausted. Two days underground and the final vertical climb to freedom. Darkness dispelled as the sunlight blazed in from the cave mouth above.

My mouth was dry and parched. I had run out of water several hours before. Sweat was pouring out from the exertion of climbing vertically as I edged my way to the surface.

Finally, as I scrambled up and out of the cave mouth I was struck by the intense heat from the afternoon sun. The cool of the caves washed away by the seeping heat soaring above 50 degrees Celsius from the surrounding desert. Every muscle was in agony. Exhaustion set in almost instantaneously as the realisation hit me that I had made it. I was so dry in the mouth my tongue was sticking to the roof of my mouth. I could hardly talk.

From nearby, a voice drawled a familiar greeting and offer, “Gidday Mate! …Drink?” I turned and there was a mate of mine, siting on a big rock sheltered under a gum tree. Smile from ear to ear. His outstretched arm offering me his water bottle with a tantalizing shake… the remaining ice cubes clinking from within.

That water hit the mouth and throat. Sweet, sweet water. Cool, refreshing, delightful and invigorating. Right there, right then, all my Christmas’ had come at once. There wasn’t a single thing better that my mate could have given me at that moment. A simple drink of water.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4

How good is it to have a friend, a mate, who knows just what to say at the right time. To be there for you and not to judge you or condemn you. That word of encouragement. A word that brings delight. A word that brings life and hope into your situation.

Got any mates like that? If not, let me ask, “Who are you a mate for? Who do you speak words of life and encouragement to?”

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

“Gidday Mate! …. drink?”