The Miser Of Marseille
I remember hearing about “The Miser of Marseilles.” Many years ago, he was a figure on the streets of that town. He lived for nothing but money. He gripped, and he grabbed, and he kept. A miser, a money grub, and very wealthy he was known to be. He was the object of derision throughout the whole of Marseilles, and the South of France. When he appeared in the streets, the boys hooted at him. When he was mentioned among his business associates, they jeered at him, the old skinflint, the miserable old wretch, heaping up money, storing it up. Ah, he was contented thus to live, and thus to die; and his body was carried to the grave without a single attendant. There was not a soul in Marseilles but gave a kind of sneer, and a kind of curse, as he passed the body of the miser on the way to the grave.
Ah, yes, but when his will was read, what is this that brings mourning and lamentation to the whole city: It is this: “From my infancy, I noticed that the poor of Marseilles had great difficulty in getting water. I noticed that water, the gift of God, was very dear, and very difficult to obtain in this city, pure and sweet: and I vowed before God that I would live but for one purpose, for one end. I would save money, money, money; and now I give it to the city, on one condition, that an aqueduct be made from yonder lake on the hills to Marseilles.”
As they drink the sweet, luscious, fresh water of that city, I believe the poor say, “Ah, when he lived we misunderstood him, but he did it for us.” The bubbling fountain in Marseilles was the gift of the man who was misunderstood and jeered at.
Do you catch it? Jesus was there on the Cross, and the folks said:
“And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross.” (Mark 15:29-30 KJV)
They all mocked Him, and jeered at Him. Yet, it is from this despised One, this Christ, that the souls, needy and thirsty and despairing, are drinking today the water of life.