Wash me (part II)  14.  Wash me (part II)

  “. . . wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”  – Psalm 51:7b

So I was skeptical.     “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.???”   Sure, it will snow in the Golan Heights perhaps.   But how often does it snow in Jerusalem or the other typically arid places in Israel?  How could the psalmist know just how white snow was?

Well, a quick Google search will surprise you.  They aren’t common, but there have been substantial snow falls in Jerusalem — usually, as it turns out, just once every couple years or so.   But when it happens, the city is blanketed.  And there are pictures of the devout praying at the western wall in snow boots, a rabbi in an igloo, even a skier takes off by the western wall.

There is a beauty to a freshly fallen snow.  We haven’t had much of it here in Kansas City (to my chagrin!), but when the snow comes, it leaves a beautiful scene of a pristine landscape.  The marks on driveways, the potholes in streets, the mix of fallen leaves and dirt patches on the yard are all covered up by a perfectly smooth blanket of white.  It’s idyllic.

But with one rain, sunshine or rise in temperatures, that snow will melt and reveal the imperfections beneath.  The psalmist is praying for a cleansing that endures, for a redeeming that goes well below the surface.

In yesterday’s verse segment it was hyssop.  Today, it’s a comparison with snow.  In both cases, and throughout the psalm, the writer is asking God to do what the writer cannot do for themselves.  In the same way, perhaps we can pray that God will cleanse us and our world.  Perhaps we could pray that prayer as fervently as children pray on a weekday evening when snow is in the forecast and there’s a glimmer of hope for a day off of school.  Let is snow, let it snow.



Gracious God,

We pray for cleansing, for renewing, for the wiping away of the dirt of our lives.   Cleanse us not just on the surface, but cleanse us deep down.  We can’t do it ourselves;  it’s a gift from you.  A gift that you’ve actually already given.