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In his book, “The Kingdom Within,” John Sanford tells about a well at an old farmhouse in New Hampshire where his family spent their summers. For many years, the house did not have modern plumbing or electricity; all the water came from the well outside the front door. The water was unusually clear and cool, and the well never ran dry, even during the hottest summers when other families had to haul water from a nearby lake.
After a time, the family fortunes improved and the old house was modernized. Kerosene lamps and wood stoves were discarded and electric lights and an electric stove were installed, along with indoor plumbing. Water was received from a central community water system and the old well by the front door was boarded over.
Many years later on a warm summer day, John Sanford decided he would like a drink from the old well. He removed the cover in anticipation of a drink of the cool water he remembered from his boyhood. However, when he let down the bucket, he had a surprise. The well was bone dry.
Why had the well, which had once provided such an abundance of water, gone dry? In his curiosity, Sanford inquired of his neighbors. He learned that a well like the one by the front door is fed by hundreds of tiny underground rivulets. After water is drawn out, the well is refilled by these tiny streams. When water is no longer being drawn out, those tiny streams close up because water no longer runs through them.
The well had failed, not through lack of water, but through lack of use. Once the little streams were dry, the well that once supplied clear, cool water became only a hole in the ground.
In a very real sense, we can compare that well to our human soul. The deep things of God are there for the taking. If we go deep and draw from the depths, we will have a constant supply and it will always refresh, but if we settle for the convenience of the surface water, in time, the source will dry up, just like the old well by the front door.
The Rev. Clifford P. Sparks is pastor of the Carrollton United Methodist Church in Carrollton, Ky.