Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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"Just Add Water!"
Dervishes dancing, detail from Persian Timurid manuscript, 896/1490. Click for complete image.

Mevlana's students organized a sema to be held in his honor, and invited many people to attend. As they prepared the food and drinks, they became concerned that there might not be enough sherbet for everyone; they had only so much sugar, and so much honey, and so many pitchers.

Mevlana suddenly appeared as if from nowhere, said "just add more water!" and vanished. Following his advice, they put all of the ingredients into one large tank and began to add water. Time and again they tested the brew to see whether it was losing its taste, but the more water they added, the sweeter it became. All night they served their guests, all night they continued to add water to the tank, all night the sherbet remained sweet and refreshing and good.