It's not a familiar sight these days with all the modern conveniences of life, but it's one that still has meaning to me. I saw it recently and it inspired me to think of a lesson in life that I have been taught and reminded of many times.
Those of you who have a few memories behind you will relive days gone by. Your heart will be warmed and chilled, possibly at the same time. Sitting right there, in plain sight, with it's handle in tact and it's pipe extended as if to search for it's catch.
Get ready for a walk down a path of yesteryear's....
There sat a hand pump for a well....
Those of you who lived when houses did not have water in them and a trip to the well meant a number of things will appreciate the next few paragraphs. For those of you who didn't, this would be a great time to practice the principle of this blog entry.
I remember the well pump outside the back of my grandparents house in southern Kentucky. I remember pumping water for every purpose imaginable, all of which now I can turn on a faucet and accomplish.
But one thing stands out to me about hand well pumps. Stories, not experiences. Stories of how if the pump was not used regularly, even some who had some "time" on them, the seals would get dry and the pump would not work.
So, to get the pump to work, you had to pour water into it. There are stories of those who had come upon a well with a bucket of water hung on it with these instructions...
Pour a little water in the pump and pump the handle. Do this a little at a time until the pump begins to bring up water. NOTE: When you are done, make sure to refill the bucket for the next person who will need this pump.
Now, imagine you're thirsty, and you see the bucket of water there. It contains plenty of water for you to satisfy your parched throat. But, if you do that, you will not have the water needed to pump more. But you'd wouldn't be thirsty, your mouth would not stick together.
You reason within yourself, both arguments seem valid...
"What has anyone done for me lately..."
"Someone pumped this bucket full for you..."
"But I don't have the time to do all that work..."
"Someone else took the time..."
"You don't understand, the last time I tried to help, it just made things worse..."
"But the job got done after you learned about your mistakes..."
"I know but..."
"You don't understand..."
"No, you're the one mistaken..."
This could go on forever, all the while, your thirst is not quenched and your conscience is not calmed.
So what would you do?
Better yet, what have you done.
Paul the Apostle writes... Doing nothing through envy or through pride, but with low thoughts of self let everyone take others to be better than himself; Not looking everyone to his private good, but keeping in mind the things of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 BBE).
You see, you've already made a choice.
Some of you have given in to your desire. And there you sit with your belly full and your bucket empty. Emotionally you can't seem to find rest. Spiritually you can't seem to find peace. Relationally you can't find satisfaction.
Some of you have primed the pump and in so doing, you have found the secret to life. Not every day is totally full emotionally but guess what, you've got a bucket from previous visits to prime with.
Not every day is filled with peace, but guess what, you can grab that metal handle and pour a little prayer into the well, and in God's time, just like the pump, you get a cool drink of peace to caress your dry soul.
All of your relationships are not perfect, but guess what, humility won out and you have a bucket full of forgiveness you can begin working with so that your heart will be lightened when God brings reconciliation.
You see, self says drink up.
Self says don't worry about filling up the bucket.
Self says Today is all you have.
Self says take the bucket with you just in case you get thirsty later.
All the while, you forget that self leads to emptiness.
Humility says, someone else thought of you.
Humility says, it's hard work, but it's worth it.
Humility says I'll do what I can, although I can't do everything.
Humility says, I'm not the center of the universe.
And when humility wins out, everyone gets a little water.
Let me finish with just a couple of things, hoping they are helpful.
First, humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.
Second, God loves you, and it's not because you're good. It's because He's good. He wants to rain on your soul with forgiveness and confidence.
You will need both, the first to understand what was done for you, the second to do for others because you've been done for.
I pray that you will find a little cool water along your path today, some will need more than others, but remember, none of us are exempt from filling up the bucket again.
None of us...
We may need help pumping, but we're still not off the hook...
If you'd like to read more of my thoughts, I call them ramblings, then you can visit my blogsite...