In many old churches I visit, a stone-carved basin can be found to the left or right of the altar called a piscina. The drain is sometimes called a sacrarium and was used to expel water used for washing communion vessels or even baptising infants, by returning it directly to the earth. The example above belongs to the church of St Andrew at Billingborough, Lincolnshire, but most older churches have one or two. Nowadays, they are covered in dust, being essentially redundant. I expect even the highest Anglican churches would prefer to wash their pots in at a more amenably sized sink with tapped water.

This bespeaks the difficulties with ‘sacramental worship’. The bread, the wine, and the crockery which holds them assume a sacredness the scriptures do not bestow. It is Christ who is sacred, His written word, and the people made in His image. Pots and pans, cups and saucers, tables and chairs, are nought but tools and implements, nothing more. A piscina is simply a washing up bowl which outlives its purpose. It is we who who must be washed:

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22, NKJV