Living in Yerushalayim, life is full of light, inspiration, and fun, but there are some challenges, like there are anywhere in the world I suppose. My challenge is hot water. It sounds mundane, and it is but it has far reaching consequences. The whole winter, anytime I need hot water I need to turn on the boiler. Depending on the amount of water I need is how long in advance it needs to be switched on. There can be no spontaneity with showers or baths, and even washing extremely greasy dishes needs planning.
One week the frustration level was high. I wanted to bathe the children on motzaei Shabbos. They were sticky and grimy to the extent that I didn’t want them near their pillows. As I was undressing my youngest I suddenly stopped. I hadn’t turned on the boiler (obviously, it was Shabbos) and now there was no hot water.
Waiting half an hour wasn’t an option. I needed those kids in bed if my house was going to be dragged back to some semblance of order. I gave up and decided I’d wash their linens instead after they’d slept on them.
Sunday morning I frantically scrubbed their faces with baby wipes and hoped that no one would actually stroke their hair, and wished that I had had instant hot water.
Of course we were out all Sunday afternoon so there was no time to turn on the boiler for the evening baths. I was ready to give up on all personal hygiene, but dentist bills made me still stand over the tooth brushing ceremony.
As I washed the dishes late that night, I turned the tap to hot water. I knew that I hadn’t turned on the boiler, but I was fed up and had some sort of psychological satisfaction of pretending. The water got warm, then hot, and then boiling hot. This was going too far. To pretend to myself is one thing. To feel like the water was hot is quite another. Alarmed I slapped down the tap and ran to the mirror. I looked normal. Running my hands up and down, I felt normal.
Turning the tap back on, the water was still steaming hot. I went to check the boiler. The light was on. Huh? I called my husband. He hadn’t turned the boiler on. A sudden suspicion made me ask, “Did you turn it off after showers on Friday?” He hadn’t and nor had I.
Oops. Running the boiler for that many hours is ill advised and expensive. It can break the element or explode the whole tank. And it uses a lot of electricity.
I switched it off and immediately went to enjoy a long hot shower. Forget the hour, when there’s hot water everything else is inconsequential.
Lying in bed that night I realized something astounding. I had needed hot water on motzaei Shabbos. I felt that it was a real need and was frustrated that it wasn’t met. My Father in heaven however, always makes sure to meet my needs. I just needed enough faith and confidence in Him to start running the bath.
And I thought of other instances when I thought that I had been left high and dry, only to realize that I just hadn’t allowed myself to open the package to discover that all I needed was inside. I lived life feeling a lack when in reality I was amply provided for. What a shame. Next time when I feel a need arise I know I just have to believe that I’ve been given it, I just need to work out where it is.