Stewardship Resource

A Longer Well Rope

Story  Story
  • Author: Glenn "Tex" Evans was a United Methodist minister, former missionary and a pioneer in exciting ministries to persons in Appalachia. Tex was the founder of the Appalachia Service Project.
  • Updated: 08/11/2008
  • Copyright: Life is Like That, by Glenn "Tex" Evans, reprinted with permission.

This story is about a family that had an abundant supply of water. But they were only able to get three buckets of water a day because of an obstacle that blocked them.

As you engage in the story, ask yourself the question: what blocks you from receiving the abundant water of life that God desires to give you?

A Longer Well Rope

Some folks have such a hard time, from the time they are born until the time they die, it is difficult to imagine. I know a family -- honorable, industrious, faithful to one another and firm believers in the good Lord! Nevertheless, they are always in need -- never having quite enough to eat, never having sufficient funds for proper medical care. I have known of this family for years and have, in fact, done a few things for them.

One day a mutual friend said to me, "Preacher, you have to go up and do something about Estil Martin's family. They are in a terrible fix for drinkin' water."

Estil Martin's house was the very last house in the hollow. I could still take you right to the house and let you meet this fine growing family -- should such a trip be necessary. The road to the house is rough. At certain places, where small bridges are needed, there are no bridges. One has to be skilled about driving over such roads and must not be too fond of the car!

At any rate, we went to the house and talked with Estil Martin about the water situation -- with his family. The conversation went something like this: "Well, Brother Estil," I said, "I hear you are having a little problem getting enough drinking water. What seems to be the trouble?"

Brother Estil replied, "Well, Preacher, we only get three buckets of water a day!"

Then I inquired, "Estil, how deep is your well?"
To this he replied, "My well is about 150 feet deep."

I thought for a minute about the other wells in the area and I replied, "Why, Estil, you ought to have all the water in the world if your well is 150 feet deep."

Estil responded, "Well, Preacher, there is plenty of water in the well, but I dropped a well bucket in the well and it's kinda canti-wampus down there in the well, and I can't get on past it to get no more than three buckets of water!" (You want to bear in mind that the well is only about six inches in diameter, even though it is 150 feet deep.)

I asked him, "Estil, how come there is a bucket lodged in your well?" (Understand, too, that such well buckets are about four inches in diameter and some 36 inches deep!)

Brother Estil replied, "Well, I just dropped it down in there and it lodged, and I can't get it out. Everyday the water raises up above that water bucket just so far. You can draw three buckets full of water. Then you have to wait till the next day, and then you can draw three more buckets full. But you can't get past that bucket to draw no more water!"

I asked him, "Estil, have you ever tried to get the bucket out of the well?"

"Yes I have," he declared. "I can hook a fish hook on it, but I can't pull it out. I just lose my fishhook and my fish line, so I just quit trying!"

Then I asked him another question. "Estil, when did you drop that well bucket in the well?"

He looked up at his wife who was standing nearby and, still talking to me, said, "Well, I dropped that well bucket in there when Judy was a baby." Directing this question to his wife, he said, "How old is Judy?"

She replied, "She's eight years old."

I could hardly believe what I heard! For eight years the people had been getting three buckets of water a day out of that well! There was plenty of water in the well, but there was no way to reach the water -- just because that well bucket was canti-wampus across the well!

I sent a well driller in there to clean out the well -- that is, to send a simple tool down in the well to drive that old bucket to the bottom to open it up to all the crystal depths of water. The well driller charged me $50 that I gladly furnished.

Several weeks later I stopped at another site, where I had the driller drill an entirely new well, just to make inquiry on how the family was getting along and how they liked their new well. They explained that they had the best water in the community and then added that their neighbor, Estil Martin, "still hauls water from here once in awhile."

When I asked how it was that Estil Martin still hauled water from their well when he had a well of his own 150 feet deep, they explained,"Well, he has to wait until he can get enough money to get a longer well rope."

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