The Old Fruit Jar

As the early morning sunlight streams through the window, the old blue fruit jar catches the sun’s vibrant rays and sends streams of colored light across the floor and walls. The sunbeams dancing around the room have a hypnotic effect, and gradually my thoughts drift back—back many years to the days of my youth and the experiences I had with that old blue fruit jar.

It all began around my twelfth birthday. I had anticipated becoming a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood and was thrilled to begin fulfilling my duties—one of which was to provide water for the sacrament.

This was more difficult than it might sound. We lived in a rural farming community in southeastern Idaho, and our old meetinghouse had no running water. For as long as anyone could remember, Aaronic Priesthood holders had carried the sacrament water from an artesian well located about half a mile away.

I remember the first Sunday I carried the water. My mother and I had searched for an appropriate vessel to carry the water in. The old blue fruit jar had seemed perfect, and I carefully washed the old jar until it was sparkling clean and bright.

It was February, and just as we arrived at the meetinghouse, it began to snow. I grabbed the fruit jar and headed off through the falling snow toward the well and toward one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve had in my life.

The only sound was that of the snow crunching beneath my feet.

I was engulfed by the thick, falling snowflakes, unable to see but a short distance in any direction. My mind and thoughts began to focus on the purpose of my walk, and I felt a sacred spirit testify of the importance of the Atonement and the sacrament, which offers us each an opportunity to renew our covenants with a loving, forgiving Father in Heaven.

At the well, I reverently filled the jar with water and began retracing my steps through the early-morning snow. My heart swelled with joy as I began to comprehend that I was on an assignment for Jesus Christ to provide for his holy and sacred ordinance so that his brothers and sisters could become as clean and pure as the world through which I was walking. My heart was touched, and my understanding of the sacredness of the sacrament began to grow.

In the years that followed, I repeated that same routine many times—first as a deacon, then as a teacher, and finally as a priest. Each time I went to the well for water or assisted in preparing or blessing the sacrament, the significance of what I was doing had deeper and deeper meaning.

That old blue fruit jar has a special place in my heart. As I carefully carried it and performed my duties in the Lord’s work, I felt my first memorable stirrings of the Holy Ghost.

[photo] Photo by Maren Younce

Donnie W. Burgess serves as the bishop of the Black Forest Ward, Colorado Springs Colorado North Stake.