Let me share a parable with you today: the story of the village well, a humble hole in the ground located centrally in the square where people arrived daily to draw from its depths the very essence of life.
The purest, sweetest clean water was to be found at the bottom of this well and it served the village for centuries. So reliable was the humble hole in the ground that as the years rolled by the village’s began to take it for granted. There were those more thirsty than others that returned to the well several times a day without thought for the rate of flow of the pure sweet water at the bottom or if there would be sufficient for those who had not yet taken their turn. The constant lowering of buckets was, little by little, damaging the delicate walls of the hole in the ground at the centre of the village square and slowly but surely they were beginning to deteriorate, crashing down rocks and particles into the ancient well and slowly contaminating the essence of life beneath… but more than that: beginning to stem the flow from the underground spring.
Centuries ago, when the well had been dug, it was respected, honoured, worshipped and maintained. The hole in the ground was surrounded by a stone wall to protect its perimeter, the villagers took turns in climbing down to clear the spring and maintain the walls, the process was considered an honour and a sacred duty and celebrated with each season. After each maintenance the well was dressed and the villagers would dance around the sacred altar through which the whole community was granted life… but those centuries had past and those who remembered the tradition were long since gone or much too frail to carry out the sacred work… and those who were able were far too invested in what the hole in the ground could do for them to notice that their supply was drying up.
One morning after many years of neglect and deterioration, as the villagers arrived to draw from the hole in the ground… and a crowd began to gather (and voices were raised and heads were scratched), it became apparent that the well was dry. Blocked up? Filled in? Stupid hole in the ground… what use are you if you cannot provide water?
The angry villagers, not understanding their part in the downfall of the sacred fount, not understanding that by effort or offering of themselves, their time, their resources, they might fix it and keep it stable and pure, simply began to leave.
Packing up their worldly goods they set out into the wilderness in search of another hole in the ground to use up and disrespect (and we all know how long you can stay out in the wilderness searching for what you need)… left behind were those too frail to leave, too old to climb into the well and fix the years of neglect… and so they withered too.
The power of the pure sweet flowing water was such that after many years the obstructions were cleared and the newcomers to the village recognised the value of the hole in the ground. They honoured and protected it by building a stone wall around its perimeter, they assigned the strongest and the best to climb down and clear the remaining debris and created a timetable of maintenance along with a village fair to celebrate every season. The new villagers understood that the well needed tending and so each was happy to begin tithing to create a “Well-ness” fund for it’s needs. They assigned a well attendant to manage the lowering bucket and monitor the usage of the well so everyone had their fair share, as a result of the regulated usage of the essence of life, the flow increased and abundance followed… and the village grew…
It’s an interesting word: “well” isn’t it?
Make of the story what you will and decide if you want to take the hole in the ground for granted or contribute to its upkeep, it’s always been your choice… Principle 6: I AM Self-Full & Principle 7: I AM Open-Hearted.
More later… x