Location: New England, United States

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Parable

"To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God;" Luke 8:9 RSV

Chicago is my home town. When I was little, our family vacations were spent at a cabin hidden deep in the forests of the upper peninsula of Michigan. This cabin had no electricity, an outhouse and the only running water came from a pump. After our long drive from Chicago, my grandparents would greet us. They usually arrived a few days before our brood to clean and ready the cabin for our arrival, or perhaps, they just wanted a few days of quiet and solitude before our noisy bunch descended on them.

Presently, my grandmother would again lay out the rules about the red pump at the kitchen sink. "Keep the handle down after using the pump. If you leave the handle up, the pump will dry up and need to be primed again." Inevitably, one of us children would forget to leave the handle down, and when the next person wanted water nothing would come forth appearing as though the well beneath the pump had gone dry. In shame and trepidation, we would call Gramma to tell her that we had dried up the pump.

My Gramma was a sharp woman. Knowing that children will often forget the rules, she kept a pot of water on the back of the stove so she could 'prime' the pump once again. "Don't worry, the well is not dry. The pump just needs to be primed.", she would say. Then she would pour the water from the pot into the top of the pump while we vigourously pumped the handle up and down. Priming the pump took some time and quite a bit of effort, but she would always get it working again.

Today as I read Luke 8:9, I was reminded of this scene. Just like the pump, God's well of the Holy Spirit never dries up; it is always there deep within us waiting to be pumped out into the world. But to access that well, we need to be kept in the 'down' position after each use. We need to be on our knees in prayer, supplication and studying the Word of God so the Spirit will flow readily when it is needed by the world. If our spiritual handle is kept in the 'up' position - beliving in our own abilities instead of God's spirit - eventually it will appear that the well has gone dry. We will need to be primed once again, perhaps missing his perfect timing for the flow of His Spirit to the world.


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