About the Author
Hello, my name is Harold Dailey, and I am a recently retired pastor, and the creator of the Living Waters Baptismal. I would like to share with you the Living Waters Baptismal story. I served God in the United Methodist Church for 21 years. Prior to that I was the founder and CEO of an architectural fountain company, creating beautiful water displays for commercial and government buildings all over the world.
I have always had a passion for working with wood. Over the years, God has provided me opportunity to built a lot of custom furniture and fixtures, primarily for the churches where I served. It has been therapeutic for me each time I finished a piece and get to see it serve a purpose. You see, ministry is a continuous work in progress, for there is always one more sermon, Bible study, or person in need of spiritual help. So finishing something has always provided me great satisfaction, and closure.
It was an unexpected surprise when God separated me from the fountain business I loved so many years ago to call me into full-time ministry, but I have no regrets. Serving God, and helping people has been far more satisfing than building fountains, and making money.
I was not surprised when God called me to build the first Living Waters Baptismal. He placed the desire in my heart, and the design in my head about a year before He suddenly told me it was time to retire. Over the years, I had become accustomed to God’s surprises, which were usually a blessing. I was especially blessed when He asked me to combine the three things that had brought me so much joy in my life–building fountains, working with wood, and serving God’s children in the church. He guided the design, and gave me the gifts to accomplish the task. It is my prayer that God’s children and church will be equally blessed by the baptismals I build.
Each baptismal is handcrafted and unique. I select the best wood I can find, and derive great joy and satisfaction in praying over the baptismal as I carefully build it. Being retired, I never get in a hurry. My work is not about production, but perfection. Of course, nothing I build is perfect, and I enjoy finding imperfections in the wood such as an occasional worm hole. They remind me that nothing in this world is perfect, and we all have our share of worm holes.
This is the message behind the Living Waters Baptismal story, that through God’s perfect love and grace, we the imperfect can be made new in the perfect image of God, Jesus Christ. God’s love and grace are not static, but alive and flowing. In biblical times, people were baptized in flowing water because it was fresh. You would never consider being baptized in still, stagnant water. When God’s children sinned and turned away from Him, putting others things first in their lives, God referred to Himself as the “fountain of living water” (Jeremiah 2:13). God is the source from which all life flows. When we put other things before God in our lives, we cut ourselves off from our source of life.
Jesus told the woman at the well that He could give her “living water”–water that could become within the believer a well springing up to eternal life (John 4:10-14). Jesus later declared: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me, and let the one who believes in Me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water'” (John 7:37b-38).
Many churches today suffer because the Spirit of God is not flowing, but still and stagnant. God does not intend the church to be still, but alive with the Holy Spirit and God’s grace flowing from within. Baptism is the sacrament through which we repent of our sin, and are reborn to “life” through Christ. We make a commitment to serve God, and His children. We are not intended to simply be forgive our sins, and “receive” the Spirit of God, but to become conduits through which the Holy Spirit, and God’s grace can “flow” to others.
This is the inspiration for the Living Waters Baptismal. The flowing water in the baptismal reminds us that God’s Spirit and grace are ever flowing. The baptismal is round without beginning or end because God’s love is endless. The basin is white to remind us that through baptism our sins are washed away, and God makes us clean. The light which emits from the water’s source is to remind us that God’s light is shinning fourth in the darkness, and we are called to be His light-bearers in the world. We come to the baptismal dead in our sin, but we leave alive in Christ. We acknowledge and repent of our sin, and claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Baptism is not our destination, but the “beginning” of our new life.
I pray over each baptismal I build. I don’t know those who will be baptized in it’s waters. But I do know that they will be my brothers and sisters in Christ. Through baptism we become part of the family of God. And we are called to be a priesthood of all believers, each doing our part, and serving our purpose according to God’s plan. We are all part of one body, the body of Christ. In a world so divided, this is important for us to remember.
God has told me, that at this time in my life, my purpose is to build these baptismals. What I will do in the future, is in God’s hands. For now, it is my prayer that every Living Waters Baptismal be a blessing, serving as a good and faithful instrument, bringing glory to God. May this forever be the Living Waters Baptismal story–serving the Creator of all that has ever been created.
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Rev. Harold Dailey
Below is a photo gallery of the first “prototype” Living Waters Baptismal. The captions capture some of the “first” joys as God’s vision was born into a working model.