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The old-fashioned, fire-engine-red water pump

In my office, there is an old-fashioned, fire-engine-red hand water pump given to me by a dear friend.

I have seldom used one, but there was a time when if you wanted water you had to have it. This pump, for me, is a great illustration of our journey of faith.

It was a sweltering, windless July afternoon on a small country road in the middle of nowhere. John and Bill had been traveling for hours in an old broken-down car with a busted air conditioner. They were hot and looking for something… anything to relieve their thirst.

On the side of the road, they came upon an old-fashioned, fire-engine red, hand water pump. The car screeched to a halt and they both ran to the pump. John grabbed the handle and began to furiously work it up and down… no water. “What’s wrong with this thing? Why won’t it work?”

LESSON 1

Unfortunately, we do not often look for God until we are very thirsty.

Meanwhile, Bill was looking around and opened a small door underneath the pump and pulled out a sealed glass jar full of water. He said: “I read that a pump like this needed water to prime it.”

“Forget the pump,” John said. “Let’s just drink the water now and be on our way.”

LESSON 2

We all too quickly seek to do it our way instead of God’s way.

“No,” said Bill. “It’s not enough water to satisfy our thirst. We have to pour it into the pump.”

LESSON 3

The temptation is to settle for easy and miss something so much better.

Bill poured the water into the pump housing and began to work the handle up and down but nothing happened, so he stopped.

“Don’t quit!” shouted John as he grabbed the handle. “If you stop now, the water will go back down and we’ll have to start over.”

LESSON 4

Faith often means taking risks and refusing to quit.

John continued pumping when suddenly… cold-clear spring water gushed out of the pump. There was more than enough fresh good tasting water to satisfy all their needs. Eagerly Bill cupped the cool wetness in his hands and felt the sweet liquid completely quench his thirst.

LESSON 5

Faith means, “Don’t quit,” even when it looks hopeless.

Before leaving, John refilled the jar and placed it under the pump. It was the right thing to do. Then the two men, thirst completely quenched, returned to the car, and resumed their journey.

LESSON 6

In the end, God will provide far more than we deserve.

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” We are promised the cool, life-giving water of God. Once our thirst is satisfied, we offer this living water to others.

LESSON 7

Share your gift of “living water” with others. It is the right thing to do.

Most of the time, our faith is lived out like a steady, consistent supply of water. People know us by our day-to-day actions. There is the mother who continuously offers love and acceptance, or a coworker who offers encouragement when you need it or a friend who telephones when you’re at a low point. Just like a water faucet, they are usually there but seldom spectacular.

But, occasionally, there are challenging moments when we are especially hot, dry and thirsty and desperately in need of the cool, refreshing water only God can provide.

• The “Living Water” pump is there all along. Do we look for it?

• Can we avoid the easy solution and look for God’s answer?

• Are we willing to take the risk needed and then refuse to quit?

The only word that adequately describes what happens next is “miracle.’ It is the cool, refreshing “Living Water” that flows in abundance to amply satisfy your needs. How do you respond? With praise and thanksgiving to the God who provides and a willingness to share your gift of “Living Water” with a parched, dusty and thirsty world.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.