Youth Club Talk, 13th June 2008

Many years ago, a weary traveller hiked for miles across the desert with the hot sun beating down on his back. His water supply was gone, and he knew that if he didn’t find water soon to quench his thirst, he would surely die.

In the distance, he spotted a deserted cabin, which brought hope that maybe water was to be found there. He made his way to the cabin and discovered an old well. He frantically pumped the handle of the well to draw water, but all that came from the pump was dust.

Then he noticed a tin can tied to the pump, with a note inside. The note said:

Dear Stranger:

This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer in it, and it should last for quite a few years. But the washer dries out and the pump needs to be primed. Under the white rock, I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and corked up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about 1/4 of the water into the pump and let her soak for a minute to wet the leather washer. Then pour the rest medium fast and pump hard. You’ll get water. Have faith. This well has never run dry.

When you get watered up, fill the bottle and put it back as you found it for the next stranger who comes this way.

-Pete

If you drink the water. The next person who comes here will die. You need to have the faith to use the water to get more than enough water for your needs and the needs of the next person. If you are selfish, and slake your thirst in the short-term, you will not get enough water to live and continue your journey.

The man told us a story about a rich and powerful man who left his home, but not before he had entrusted a sum of money with each of three of his servants, giving them complete freedom to make more with it. I suppose it’s a little bit like the Apprentice, and the Master is Alan Sugar…

Two of the servants take the money, take a risk, and it pays off – on the Master’s return they have more, and so the master rewards them generously. The third man is more cautious – he fears the Master and so hides the money, doesn’t even put it in a bank and on the master’s return simply gives the same amount back. He gets fired, what he had is taken away from him.

God gives us so much. We can squander that gift, we can hide it away, do nothing with it and let it fall away, or we can take what he has given us and venture out, take a risk, do something bold, have faith and make a difference.

If we have the faith to take that gift, not keep it for ourselves, then we will receive even more in abundance, and if we prime the pump, then the streams of living water, the water of life, which flows from the pump of God’s love will keep us from being thirsty, or tired, or afraid, or insecure ever again….

Amen.

(drawn from +Gene Robinson’s book In the Eye of the Storm, a book I highly commend to you all as a powerful collection of profound Christian insight)