The Ultimate Washing Machine

September 10, 2013 — 18 Comments



Guatemala 2013 103

Yesterday, I shared how our family was welcomed by a backyard party the first full day we were in Guatemala last month.

On the way to this party, we walked by the village “washing machine”.  It wasn’t what you would expect.  The “washing machine” was a concrete basin filled with water surrounded by smaller concrete stations where village women brought dirty clothes for washing.  They poured water from the basin over the clothing and rubbed the clothing with soap across the concrete basin bottom.  The clothing was literally stone washed.  And then water was poured back over the clothing to rinse them.

Guatemala 2013 105

Can you imagine washing your clothes this way?

This weekend, I did a couple of loads of laundry for our family.  I confess that this is not part of my normal routine in our house (my wife does a great job with this for which I’m extremely grateful).  I sorted the clothes into two piles – lights and darks.  I turned on the washing machine and added liquid detergent.  Then I loaded the dirty clothing in and closed the lid.  Within twenty minutes and with very little effort, I had clean clothing ready to be put in the dryer.

We complain about household chores like washing clothes and washing the dishes.  Yet we have modern machines that do most of the work for us.  Our trip to Guatemala was definitely a reminder of how good we have it here in America.

Whether it’s loading a modern washing machine or bringing your clothes to a Guatemalan laundry mat, washing clothes is a part of most cultures.  We want to look clean – at least on the outside.

But it’s not just the outside that needs cleaning.  We all have junk in the trunk.  We all need cleaning on the inside.  In Psalm 51, King David reflects on a need and desire for a clean heart.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:7-12

David wrote this after he committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.  I don’t know what sin you’re carrying around with you.  Maybe it’s gossip.  Maybe you’re judgemental.  Whatever junk you’re dealing with, God can restore you.  He is the Ultimate Washing Machine.

What modern convenience do you take for granted?

Don’t answer this one in the comments but to yourself, what sin are you struggling with that needs to come before the Ultimate Washing Machine?

Jon Stolpe


Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • David Paul Stolpe

    I hired a guy in Zambia to do chores around my house. He did my laundry by hand and let me tell you that he did an amazing job and got my clothes unbelievably clean. I did a lot of very filthy work while there, and yet he ould always get the grime out. It was amazing.

    Knowing the grime of my life it is also amazing to know that the work of the cross is complete and thorough, and can get even the nastiest of grime out.

    • Jon Stolpe

      …thankful for the cross!

  • Larry Carter

    I honestly think that I take it all fro granted. Flipping a light switch may be the one that is most taken for granted.

    • Jon Stolpe

      You have electricity in Tennessee? :)

      I agree. We definitely take electricity and lighting for granted.

      • Larry Carter

        Jon, the problem is we don’t have light bulbs :)

        • Jon Stolpe

          Have you ever heard of Thomas Edison… :)

  • Leah Adams

    I think one modern convenience most people take for granted is indoor plumbing. When our son returned from his 4 week mission trip to Tanzania, Greg asked him what he had missed most about America. We thought he would say the food or air conditioning. No, he said the thing he missed most was being able to sit down on a toilet and do his business. In Tanzania they had holes in the ground, or squatty potties.

    • Jon Stolpe

      Amen to that!

  • Dan Erickson

    Cars. I think we all take cars for granted. Many people drive around aggressively and angry that they get held up at a red light or a little old lady. But consider the alternative: 10-20 miles a day on foot.

    • Jon Stolpe

      When I was in high school, I biked all over the place to get from one place to the next. I wonder how I’d survive if I had to bike to and from work every day.

  • Charles Hutchinson

    When I was in the Army I spent almost a year in Honduras living in a tent with no modern conveniences at all. One of the highlights of the week was receiving my clothes back from the Honduran woman that I paid to clean them. I remember how fresh they were. I still wonder how she pressed them without electricity.

    I appreciate the telephone (or electronic communications in general). We used to have to write letters to communicate people farther than a few miles away.

    • Jon Stolpe

      Writing letters is definitely a lost art. The electronic/digital age has spoiled a few things.

  • Steve Y

    A friend of mine was telling me that his daughter was complaining that her iPhone didn’t have enough features. He took her phone away. It is amazing how quickly we can get things like the internet to using a microwave. My prayer is that I don’t take things for granted. Easier said than done.

    • Jon Stolpe

      I bet many of us would have a fit if we lost our smart phones.

      • Steve Y

        Is that a suggestion that we go a weekend without our phone? Maybe we could try as an “electronic competition”.

        • Jon Stolpe

          Maybe. I went a month without TV a few years ago. The problem was it was the same month the Olympics were on, and I’m a huge sports fan.

  • Rob Shepherd

    A refrigerator. Never think about it till it goes out. Then it’s straight awful.

    • Jon Stolpe

      Agreed. We lost everything in ours last fall when our power went out for 84 straight hours.