For several decades, I tried to make sourdough starter without the intended success. A few weeks ago, yet another couple of failed attempts went in the trash bin. Turns out my tap water is too clean, and by too clean I mean it has too much chlorine in it. The chlorinated water allows me to safely drink it, but it also kills the wild bits of yeast that are essential to the formation and life of the starter.
Babies explore their world with their mouths. They find a new item and this item will eventually be explored in their mouths. To the concern of parents this includes sand or dirt, maybe peas and lemons, and even the toy a little friend just had in her mouth. This exploration insures an introduction of necessary bits of new and foreign bacteria into their systems. Over time, their precious immune mechanism is built up and made ready for the world’s germs.
It is a bit mystifying that adults’ bodies need a bit of “dirt” also known as bacteria to be healthy. Years ago, after several surgeries and extensive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, I ended up back in the hospital unable to digest food. The diagnosis was my gut was too clean. The bacteria needed to digest food had been killed in the success of the war fought to prevent infection. All the good bugs were gone! Too clean! And like my tap water, so too the drugs had killed some of what was needed for life.
The spiritual lessons may be layered here. What do you hear in these words?
For me, I recognize the paradox of God’s work in my life. Some bits are too clean, I know it ALL and they are worthless in God’s service! Other bits, have been balanced with some real life experiences. From them flows living water from which others can enjoy a drink. Sadly and yet honestly, there are areas God and I are still shaping, transforming, recrafting so Light can shine out there too.
Sourdough starter was a journey into More of life, God, and the transformation to which I am called. Come, join the journey into a healing process. As a loved one says, “Not perfection, but progress.”