“The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout”
I learned the rhyme as a child, as have Anglophone children for generations. But now, I begin to wonder.
“Down came the rain and washed the spider out.”
Childhood chores included demolishing webs in the porch rails—swept aside by broom bristle. Childhood tales of boyish bravery featured the dauntless and cruel youths who would maim Daddy Long Legs, subduing the creatures to a painful death by de-limbing.
And childhood terrors rekindle like shadows from smouldering embers: the dreaded barn spiders, big as a marble cob, with horrible, short legs; haunting doorway corners with grotesque predictability. These were the worst to kill; so messy, so dangerous, so consequential.
We’re always brushing the pests aside, spaying them with poisonous fumes, cursing their defacement of our carefully cleaned edifices.
And yet, there’s something innately wonder-full about them; something that makes us pause and gape at the webs, the egg sacs, the suspended larders.
“Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.”
Threads of gold in sunlight, interwoven to create organic lace: the spiders spins and weaves all day. She never tires. She never bores of her task. She never does anything else. She toils and makes and remakes webs all her life. And the sun shows off her labour of obedience.
” And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.”
Her life seems so small, so trite; the monotony of her existence baffles human understanding. Maybe that is why we marvel, even in annoyance and inconvenience. Because there is something about doing what you were meant to do, and being who you were meant to be, and just living fully for the pleasure of your Creator that calls deep to our soul.
And in all her littleness and futile projects, she knows only pleasure, because she lives for His glory.
How much grander for us who are given the privilege of choice, and the power of saving grace, to live for the pleasure of our Redeemer.
” There are four things which are little on earth, but they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer;
The rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags;
The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks;
The spider skilfully grasps with its hands; and it is in the king’s palaces. ”