Everyone in the village had full access to this amazing well and could draw from its rich supply of water whenever they had need. And because the people recognized that "life" was in the water, virtually family in the village was sure that the children learned to draw water (for themselves and for others) at a very young age.
Under this arrangement the village of Ekklesia prospered for many years, well cared for by their King and His abundant well. Each family delighted in drawing from the overflowing source, and laughter was a normal sound in the village as various people would gather at the well during the day. Drawing from the well became not just a part of fabric of the life but a part of the nurturing of the relationships in the village.
But one day, after a prolonged season of drought (even though the well flowed as abundantly as ever during the drought), some of the elders in the village became convinced that some regulation was needed as to how the well was accessed. Concerns began to be voiced that some of the families were not as careful about drawing out water as they should be and that some of the children were wasting the water as they played around the well. And so it came to pass that because of unfounded fear, the elders of the village decided to hire a professional “keeper of the well.” This well-keeper was especially trained to be wise and careful in the drawing out of water, and was put in charge of dispensing the water from the well. Villagers who complained about this new arrangement were assured that they lacked the expertise of the keeper of the well and that the best water could be had only if they allowed the keeper of the well to draw the water for them.
And so it came to pass that the free and spontaneous withdrawal of water by anyone at any time was replaced by regulated special times of the day and week when the expert well-keeper would draw out the water and distribute it to all of the villagers at once. The well was "closed" at other times (although a few brave souls continued to access it secretly from time to time!). In viewing this new arrangement, the elders of the village felt that they had served the others well: there would be no waste now, and over the ensuing years a succession of highly trained well-keepers was brought in to be sure that water was indeed dispensed in the “proper manner.”
But it came to pass that problems began to arise in the village. The limited access to the water resulted in poorer crop production and in sickness finding its way into many village households. This in turn led to strained relationships within the village. Even the atmosphere of fear surrounding the proper use of the well added to the strained relationships. Furthermore, the spontaneous gatherings at the well, whereby so many healthy relationship had flourished, disappeared, having been supplanted by the formal, rather stilted times when the well-keeper would perform his masterful work.
And so it came to pass that the village elders met to solve the problems that had arisen. They tried all kinds of solutions: they hired better-trained well-keepers, they adjusted the times and types of distribution of the water, they even tested the water to be sure it was okay (it was), and so forth. But the village still languished and failed to thrive as it once had. (Strangely enough, no one ever thought to explore the basic assumption about the well-keeper. After all, the well-keeper system had been in place for a long, long time, and people had long since stop questioning its effectiveness!)
But it came to pass that the great and loving King, becoming aware of this sad situation, sent a new well-keeper to town. And this person began to change things radically! He actually encouraged folks to access the well whenever they felt the need and even suggested that they train their children to do so! Many in the village were shocked and frightened by this, as you can imagine. But some of the families actually did begin to draw their own water, whenever they needed it, as much as they needed, and their crops and households noticeably improved. And some of these brave folks even took to gathering spontaneously at the well and found a joyful health returning to their relationships with the others who did so. The whole atmosphere of the town was beginning to change because of these courageous folks who dared to draw their own water. (They even discovered that they could train one another without the expert help of the well-keeper, and thus the movement of water increased noticeably as the months and years progressed...).
I deliberately leave this story unfinished! ☺
Tom, one of Abba's children