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Saints!

Thursday
February 29th, 2024
L&T Opinions Page

gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

Last week we talked about being ready for showers, and we’re thankful for the rainfall that’s come since then. This time I’ll mix metaphors a little, and look at different kinds of wells, as well as two familiar stories that help illustrate the point. 

In the parable of the sower, Jesus said in Luke 8:6 the problem with seeds on rocky soil was that they had “no moisture”. When Matthew wrote his summary (13:5), the problem was that plants on rocky ground were scorched in the heat because the soil had “no depth”. Whether the physician and the accountant heard things differently, or whether Jesus spoke the parable two separate times, the difference is enlightening. A problem sometimes faced by Christians who hear the word but soon wither is the depth of their experience. Rocky soil – hard times, trials, losses – make it seem too hard to put down roots. 

We once lived in a house built in the 50s, where the basement builders used dynamite to blast through slab rock a few inches under the surface. When we had the inevitable sewer line problems, we called a plumbing company. We expected a crew, but instead one old man (my wife tells me he was 10 years younger than we are now) came with a backhoe and a pick ax. He would dig a while, drill some, jump in the hole with his ax and throw dislodged chunks of limestone out, then hop back on the backhoe. In less than an afternoon, he had the entire line exposed and repaired. 

In the second story, the account of the woman at the well, Jesus beautifully explained the concept of living water. The setting was Sychar, near ancient Shechem, at Jacob’s well. The place is rich in Old Testament history (Genesis chapters 12, 33, 37; Joshua chapter 13). The disciples and Jesus had traveled through desert country to reach it, and they left him beside the well to go buy food. A woman came, and he asked her for a drink. 

Jesus knew that water and Spirit give life and energy, especially when parched and worn, and he knew the woman’s deep need. She immediately put up walls: you’re a Jewish man, I’m a Samaritan woman – but he countered with,  “‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’” (John 4:10). Another wall: our ancestors worshiped here, you worship there. Jesus’ reply was that the Father is looking for people who will worship in Spirit and in truth. 

The offer he gave the woman was too good to ignore. “‘Indeed, the water I give … will become … a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (John 4:14). That brings us to another metaphor. Around here are oil and gas wells, some pumping while others stand idle. Our three-year-old granddaughter would ask about those, and the mom answer was usually, “Oh, they’re taking a break.” 

There are still a few old hand pumps around, some that need primed before they bring water from an underground source. In other parts of the country are springs that bubble water up from the ground, and my wife’s grandparents had an Artesian well that accessed a reservoir of water trapped between layers of stone. 

Many wells like the one where the woman sat now are empty and dark. She set herself for Jesus’ public declaration when she mused, “‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’” (John 4:26). 

We’re thankful for showers this week, but we need more. In a life of faith, we must never be satisfied with a trickle of water or an empty well. Being a believer may require that we dig deep, die out to sinful habits, attitudes, even give up things we think we can’t live without. The reward for doing that is a daily walk with the One who supplies gushing, overflowing, living water. 

GUEST COLUMN, Kim Baldwin, Kansas Farm Bureau

 

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MY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

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