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The Dirty Old Man

Yesterday’s writing reminded me of a book we had when I was a child. It’s the story of the Hermit and the King. I loved the story.


The old man, dirty as can be, was called a hermit because he didn’t like to be with people. You could say, he “liked his alone time”. He ate as little as he could so he wouldn’t have to work anymore than he had to.


He never swept his house, he never washed his clothes, he never pulled the weeds from his garden. He just slept and sat and ate a bit from time to time.

Down in the valley was a beautiful city where the kind and generous king lived. The hermit would come off his mountain to visit the city from time to time and sell a bundle of wood to buy something to eat, otherwise he kept mostly to himself.


One afternoon he was sitting outside his old dirty shack when he heard a horse approaching. It was the king!


As the hermit sat in silence, the king got off his horse, tied the horse to a post and walked closer to the hermit. The king stared off into the distance at the beautiful, majestic mountains and said, “friend hermit, may I come again to look at these beautiful mountains from your garden? The view is so grand it makes me feel like a better man.”


The old hermit was so ashamed of his dirty old house and his dirty old garden that he couldn’t speak. He hung his head in shame. While he was standing there wondering what to do, the king rode away.

“He asked to come again,” said the hermit to himself “I must get ready for him”. So, he cleared away the weeds, swept his path and repaired the old broken stool in front of his house and waited for the king to return.

One day while sitting outside his shack, he heard a horse approaching. It was the king. Once again, the king dismounted, tied his horse, and approached the hermit. Without saying a word, he sat on the stool and looked out over the valley and across to the mountains. “I just love it up here. It’s so peaceful. May I have a glass of water to drink?”


The hermit didn’t dare tell the king his cup was dirty, and his bucket was empty, and his spring was muddy and overgrown. In shame he ran to the spring to clean his cup but when he came back the king had gone away.

“He will come again. He said he would, and I must get ready for him!”

The hermit cleaned his spring, and he cleaned his cup and he put a table outside his house, and he brought fresh water in his bucket every day and kept it on the table, waiting for the king to come. One day he heard a horse approaching. He looked up and it was the king! The king came and sat with the old hermit. The king drank the cool water from the clean cup and said, “Thank you! Thank you, friend hermit. I just love to come and enjoy the beautiful view. It was so lovely of you to have cool water waiting for me. It has been a long day and I am hungry. Could I have a little bread to eat?”

Poor, poor old man. He had nothing to eat except a few half-rotten grapes and a crust or two of stale bread. He could not offer that to the king! While he sat there wondering what to do, the king went away. “He will come again,” said the hermit to himself, “he said he would, and I must get ready for him.”

So, he went into the woods and cut wood and sold it in the city. He bought cornmeal and baked corn cakes every day. Then he watered his garden and weeded his turnips and waited for the king to come.

One day he heard a horse coming his way. It was the king! The king sat on the stool, drank the cool water, and ate the corn cakes and said, “Thank you! Thank you, friend hermit. I just love coming here and enjoying the beautiful view. It is so good of you to let me come and rest in your garden and refresh myself with your food and your water.” And then he said, “Friend hermit, I would like to sleep here tonight so that I can see the sunrise in the morning.” Sleep here?! Poor old hermit! He didn’t dare tell the king he had no bed and that he slept on some old bags on the floor. In shame, he hung his head and went inside his house, wondering what he could do. While he was there, the king went away.

“He will come again,” said the hermit to himself, “he said he would, and I must get ready for him.”


He went into the forest and cut some poles and made a nice bed. Then he sold more wood and bought a nice mattress and a nice blanket. Then he noticed how dirty his house was, so he swept his house and washed his windows. Then he noticed how dirty his clothes were, so he sold more wood and bought new clothes.


Every day he swept his house, drew fresh water, baked corn cakes, bathed himself and dressed in his nice new clothes and waited for the king to come. One day he heard a horse coming up the hill again. It was the king! And the old hermit went to meet him. They sat together and the king drank the water, and he ate the corn cakes, and he watched the sun set behind the beautiful mountains. The king said, “Thank you! Thank you, friend hermit. I just love to come here and enjoy this beautiful view. It is so good of you to let me come and rest in your garden and refresh myself with your food and your water and look at this beautiful view. God must be so good to make mountains like that. He is so good to let us see them. It makes me want to be a better man and a better king.”

The king then stayed the night in the nice new bed and watched the sunrise in the morning and the hermit was so happy because the king came to him and talked with him and stayed with him. He was no longer a dirty old hermit; he was now a friend of the king.

That's us guys! The hermit is us and the king is Jesus. The more we know Him, the more we see our flaws and the things in our lives that need changed.

The king transformed the hermit. I love this story! There are so many parallels we can draw. But the bottom line is the king transformed the hermit.

He did not do it over night. It took longer than a week, but little by little the hermit changed. He began to think differently. And dress differently and act differently. He suddenly found purpose. After meeting the king, he was forever changed.

We also see the king enjoying his visit with the hermit. The king saw the beauty around him and shared it with the hermit. Even though the hermit was living in squalor, the king came to visit, many times.


We were created for fellowship with God. Isn’t that amazing to contemplate?

God wants that relationship with us. He wants to sit with us in the cool of the evening and look at the beauty. He wants to eat with us and sleep with us. He wants to watch the sunset and the sunrise with us. He wants us to be transformed because He came riding up on His white horse.

I love the imagery in Revelation 19 as Jesus comes to our rescue riding a white horse.

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16

Jesus said he is coming back. We can count on that. There is nothing going to keep Him from coming back to get those that love Him and want to be part of eternity with Him. HE IS coming again.

“In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…”

Signed, Jesus

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