There is Enough

Lessons from kombucha scoby.

God’s been trying to get something through my hard head recently, and it has to do with my kombucha scoby. 

“Scoby” stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” – a funny little starter culture that makes yummy fermented tea called kombucha. (Believe me, it’s good.) 

Scobies work a lot like a sourdough starter: they need to keep fermenting more stuff, or they die. All you have to do is feed them a little bit and they just keep producing kombucha. 

Like sourdough, making kombucha is a really old practice; some say as old as 220 B.C. And here’s the thing about kombucha: you have to share it. It produces several litres of kombucha every week, and since it has to keep fermenting to stay alive, it keeps up that pace regardless of my holidays or desire to drink its offerings that particular week. When it comes to kombucha, my cup really does overflow. 

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience with sourdough. Or tomato harvests!

We had the same “problem” recently with our backyard plum tree and apple trees – the overwhelming bounty made sharing a must. Friends came and picked apples, our dog enjoyed some crunchy snacks for a few weeks, the local squirrels and raccoons came calling, and the vat of applesauce we made begged to be shared with friends going through rough times, neighbours, and the friends who lent us their apple mill.

I wonder if there’s ancient wisdom hidden in these practices. I didn’t buy my scoby, my sourdough starter or our apple trees. And yet their bounty is simply overwhelming. There is enough. More than enough!

Maybe I’m thinking about this more as I plan to quit my job and move into a fundraising-dependent role, but the fear that there won’t be enough seems to be all around these days. It is certainly the undercurrent of our current national angst over refugee claimants, especially those who are crossing our southern border outside of official border crossings. We worry that their needs will cause our healthcare system to crash. That the demands they put on the housing market will put an already-strained system under more pressure.

The thing is: there is enough. There really is. If we know how to share. 

Christians should be the first to know this. The Bible is full of stories of enough – and surprisingly devoid of stories of people working hard to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The widow at Zarepath offered the last of her flour and oil to Elijah – and her supply didn’t run out. The young boy offered his five loaves and two fish to Jesus – and they fed thousands. God ordered the Israelites not to plow all the way to the edges of their fields. Don’t seek to maximize your profits or hedge your bets, God seems to be saying. Leave your excess instead for the poor. 

‘Just add water’

Perhaps you’ve heard this line or something like it before: “Well, if we end up with more guests than we expected, we’ll just add some water to the soup!” It’s always said with a bit of a laugh. There is joy and humour in it. And there is mystery in the abundance that can be found in hospitality and generosity. I’m telling you this as much as I’m telling myself, friends: don’t give in to the fear. You probably have more to give than you think. 


  • Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan

    Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan is a Host Connector with Open Homes Hamilton, a Christian ministry that supports refugee claimants by offering home-based hospitality in Hamilton, Ontario.

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