My father was a general dentist in Hawaii and for my entire childhood, he was the only dentist who ever examined me and performed my dental work. After moving away from Hawaii, several years quickly passed after my father’s last dental examination so I was delighted to learn that the woman I was currently dating, my future wife, was a pediatric dentist. A few months after we met, I asked her if she would examine my teeth. Thankfully the exam was pleasant and painless. After she examined me, she proceeded to scale the tartar that had accumulated. Several minutes later, she instructed me to rinse my mouth. I squirted some water from the tubing that I was holding into my mouth. After swishing, I looked around on both sides of the reclining chair. She silently observed me for a few seconds with a bemused smile on her face as I squirmed in one direction and another. “What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for the spit basin!” I mumbled, my mouth filled with the slurpy mixture of water and spit.
“Spit basin?” My future wife looked at me with a quizzical look.
“Yes, you know, the thing that you spit in after rinsing your mouth.”
“You mean, a cuspidor?’
“Cuspidor! Is that what it’s called? Well, yes, then!”
She laughed. “We don’t use cuspidors any longer. We use this suction.” With that, she handed me a clear plastic tube and instructed me to place it in my mouth and close my lips over it. Instantaneously, the vacuum sucked out my oral contents.
“Wow! So much easier than spitting!” I declared.
“No worries! Some older offices use a cuspidor and in dental school, that is what we used. It still works!”
I was looking for the old and familiar, the dental office I had grown up with my father. Even though the cuspidor performed the same function, there was something better. Life sometimes feels like this. In this hyper-accelerated connected world, we receive instantaneous replies through text messaging and emails. Even the art of writing a thank you letter is becoming passe. Regardless of how the message is conveyed, it is not the mode of communication, it is the substance of the message that matters. A cursory thanks with an emoji on a text message is a poor substitute. Call me a Luddite but nothing should or could ever replace the personal touch of a well-composed hand-written letter.
What about our relationship with God? When we read the Old Testament, we learn of many older traditions such as animal sacrifices and the temple worship that were expected of a faithful Jewish worshiper. In fact, there were 613 laws that all Jews were expected to obey. It was a monumental task but it did point to something better. The laws were a tutor to guide the Jews to Jesus Christ so that they may be justified by faith, not by only following laws (Galatians 3:24). The laws pointed to something greater and better.
For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 9:13-15 (ESV)
Spit basin and cuspidor.
Animal sacrifices and temple worship.
All point to something greater and better. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament. He is the Messiah the Jewish people were expecting.
What am I looking for?
For many years I was lost in life. I was looking for something better but did not know what it was. I found it in Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of all of the Jewish prophesies of the Bible and the completion of the Jewish laws. He is the true Messiah for the entire world for all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.