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Another Well.............

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  • Another Well.............

    We all know the story of the woman at the well, but here is another one I have told most of my students over the past 40 years or so. At the end, there is a question that has no real correct answer but do remember, this is a Christian discussion group so try to think about it in those terms.

    There is a man in the desert, wandering about and is very very lost. Every now and then he sees a mirage but after following all of the mirages which end up in failure he knows his life is almost through. He must have water or he will most certainly die.

    There,.......up ahead he sees what he thinks is another mirage but he decides to follow through and go in that direction. This time, the mirage was not a mirage at all but a small, broken down ghost town. As he entered the town he saw one thing and one thing only.......an old mechanical well pump!
    He hurried to the old pump and frantically pumped up and down at least 50 times but no water came out of the spout. Then he noticed the big Boulder sitting next to the pump with a crevasse of sorts in it's side. Looking into the crevasse he saw a gallon jug with a note tied onto the handle.
    He then gently pulled the heavy jug from it's cave and to his life saving amazement it was filled with water!

    As he started to loosen the top he also started reading the note and it said: "The old pump must be primed in order to produce water. You must pour every last drop of this gallon of water down the top of the pump and pump the handle several times and you will have as much fresh, cool water as you would ever want. P.S. Fill the jug back up and put it back in the small cave."

    This set a quandry for the gentleman for indeed he had to have water and there was water in the jug but possibly colder and much more water in the well.

    What, my dear brothers and sisters, would you do? Follow the directions or use what you already possessed? Why?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Bobby Cole View Post
    We all know the story of the woman at the well, but here is another one I have told most of my students over the past 40 years or so. At the end, there is a question that has no real correct answer but do remember, this is a Christian discussion group so try to think about it in those terms.

    There is a man in the desert, wandering about and is very very lost. Every now and then he sees a mirage but after following all of the mirages which end up in failure he knows his life is almost through. He must have water or he will most certainly die.

    There,.......up ahead he sees what he thinks is another mirage but he decides to follow through and go in that direction. This time, the mirage was not a mirage at all but a small, broken down ghost town. As he entered the town he saw one thing and one thing only.......an old mechanical well pump!
    He hurried to the old pump and frantically pumped up and down at least 50 times but no water came out of the spout. Then he noticed the big Boulder sitting next to the pump with a crevasse of sorts in it's side. Looking into the crevasse he saw a gallon jug with a note tied onto the handle.
    He then gently pulled the heavy jug from it's cave and to his life saving amazement it was filled with water!

    As he started to loosen the top he also started reading the note and it said: "The old pump must be primed in order to produce water. You must pour every last drop of this gallon of water down the top of the pump and pump the handle several times and you will have as much fresh, cool water as you would ever want. P.S. Fill the jug back up and put it back in the small cave."

    This set a quandry for the gentleman for indeed he had to have water and there was water in the jug but possibly colder and much more water in the well.

    What, my dear brothers and sisters, would you do? Follow the directions or use what you already possessed? Why?
    Hi Pastor Cole,

    My first thought is that if he doesn't pour the water down the pump to prime it then those after him will be less fortunate. If he drinks the water in the jug he has enough to sustain him for a short time. The story has two possibilities for the end, one concerned with self preservation, and other the other a selfless act which would be to follow the instructions ensuring that others will also have a supply of water. As tempting as it would be to drink the gallon of water, I think it would be an example of an "ordinary means" in which we observe God providing the necessary water at this time, but wishy supernatural means to expect him to provide by some miracle more water tomorrow. That is, to think that only this gallon was provided and tomorrow another gallon would be provided by a miraculous gift seems less than rational. I would pour the water down the pump to prime it, following the steps others before me had, that is unless, there is a graveyard nearby showing all the dehydrated corpses! There's evidence of this system working before coming upon it from others from the gallon of water and note. And ultimately, I would ask whether God would want me to think selflessly, and whether he would want me to lead others to ordinary means or miracles. I try to think selflessly and by ordinary means.

    I must also say I wondered whether the gallon of water was being fed by condensation while sitting in the crevice in the cave. Since no other mention was made whether the jug had a lid or not I ignored this possibility.

    God bless,
    William
    Comment>

    • #3
      So very nice to meet you William! I see that we should get on famously for we each have a tendency to overthink our overthinking. Please do take that as a compliment for there are those which only see one side of a coin no matter how many times they flip it.

      Okay, back to the well. Let's take some of the mystique out of the equation and make it a more subtle problem which has soooo many different teachings in it.
      For example: I mentioned that the man followed many mirages while in his present predicament in the desert and to no avail. To take things a bit more personal, how many mirages has each of us seen in the past and followed them to near ruin?
      How many times have we done something that didn't really past the "smell test" but did it anyway because of our own personal perception of the right thing to do versus the wrong?

      I'll leave it at that for now because I do not want to influence any thoughts that you or anyone else who might perchance wish to contribute their thoughts.
      There is one thing though, ..........I believe if we can all answer the above two questions truthfully, we can better deal with the eventual problem at the well itself.

      Oh yes, as a note: I did write that "while he was loosening the top he read the note," not thinking about the fact that the well has a top too. My bad and a good catch William!!
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by Bobby Cole View Post
        Okay, back to the well. Let's take some of the mystique out of the equation and make it a more subtle problem which has soooo many different teachings in it.
        For example: I mentioned that the man followed many mirages while in his present predicament in the desert and to no avail. To take things a bit more personal, how many mirages has each of us seen in the past and followed them to near ruin?
        How many times have we done something that didn't really past the "smell test" but did it anyway because of our own personal perception of the right thing to do versus the wrong?
        I believe I may of been on the right track by touching upon the ordinary means (relying on an avg situation, person, or means) vs supernatural miraculous signs or gifts. For example, in John 4:1-3 "Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee", Jesus relied on ordinary means, that is, he avoided conflict with the Pharisees and did not rely on a miracle for protection, which also brings to mind Matthew 26:53, when again, He relied on ordinary means rather than a miraculous defense from a legion of angels.

        I think in an evangelical approach we may be tempted of the life giving water from the well with the Samaritan woman by supernatural means, that is, we may boldly or rather stupidly walk into the midst of Pharisees or even ISIS thinking that we will be provided protection, that is, the mirage is God's supernatural protection or in this case a miraculous means to provide water. I think we'd be better off relying on rational or ordinary means. The mechanical pump is the ordinary means by which water is provided, to and for others. To drink the water and leave nothing for the next guy and suppose it is from God a miracle would leave the next guy high and dry :)

        Interestingly, you mentioned two sides of a coin resulting in the same outcome. But because of our own personal perception of the right thing to do versus the wrong, the question I still ask myself and favor, what does God want me to do? The perception or narration of the facts is a game changer, at least for me personally. If I am left with one gallon of water and no other water source in sight, vs pouring the water in the pump to prime a non working pump, then the outcome is the same.... only I died for completely different reasons. Again, one may be construed as being selfish concerning self preservation, while the other was a selfless act, laying one's life down for his fellow man. My physical thirst may be quenched by the first option temporarily, but the second, though I die, I will never thirst again!!!

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

        • #5
          Bravo William! The thing I like best is when puts themselves into the position of someone in a narrative. Whether in Biblical context in say, a story or parable most of the time people do not relate to a particular story as pertaining to their own lives. This is always a huge mistake because everything we do is a learning moment and learn we must or fail at some time in the future.

          Now, back to the well. Ordinary means can indeed be extraordinary in that there is a certain Godly type of wisdom that can be applied to nearly all applications in life. James 1:5 tells us that if we should lack wisdom then all we have to do is ask.
          We, as men have a particular problem called "lack of need for help". We do not naturally read the directions for assembling the bicycle on Christmas Eve, nor do we need a map to tell us where we need to go. We are hard wired to be leaders and we know that good leaders do not need any help if they are any good at all! (forgive the sudden need to cough).
          But, that said, a really really good leader looks at the directions and takes in the evidence of them and follows through.

          Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path".
          Or, in the case of something more traumatic: Rom. 8:28 when we are told that, "For we know that ALL things come together for good. To them that love God, to them that are called to His purpose".
          We could actually say that all of the *bad* mirages the man went through in the past led him to a salvation experience at the well but not without a choice to make.

          Or, perhaps we could take a walk with Jesus when He faced such ordeals in the desert while fasting and praying for 40 days and nights. What did He do? I believe He sited the directions.

          The bottom line *might* be that if one follows the directions that are proven to be true, we have a better chance at making the right decisions.

          As always, so far, William, it is a pleasure conversing with you. You have an excellent way of working out the details. God Bless....Bobby
          Comment>

          • #6
            Definitely follow the directions. I understand something about how pumps work and it makes sense to me that it has to be primed.

            I also would not be able to understand why, in such a place, someone would ever think to take the time to play a prank that would actually lead to death.

            I've heard this story a lot of times though, it's pretty popular.
            Comment>
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