In response to the constant criticism of our Church leaders.
There was a village and above the village a tall hill. At the top of the hill lived an old man.
Each morning the old man would walk down the hill from his house. The man walked down, being careful not to fall, with a large barrel on wheels. He would take the barrel and go to the well in the village centre.
The villagers were proud of the well, as it was the envy of the other villages in the area. Being fed by a small stream, running down a hill, ensured it was always fresh and clear.
The man would fill up the barrel and slowly pull the barrel up the hill, to his house. It was a great weight, but each day he did the same.
Now some in the village would stand near the well each day and criticise him.
“Why such a large barrel, for such a small man?” They would ask.
The man would ignore their comments and continue the ritual each day.
As time went on, the crowd at the well grew larger.
“What gives him the right to take so much of our water?” They asked.
No matter how large the crowd grew or open criticism of his actions, the old man ignored them.
Then one day, as had become custom, the crowd waited by the well for the old man to arrive. Only this day he never came. They waited till mid morning and then went home.
Later that day, when the women went to fetch some water, they found the stream that supplied the well had dried up. The crowd gathered and soon concluded that it must be the fault of the old man. They gathered together and made their way up the hill. When they got to the old man’s house, they found him dead on his porch, with the empty barrel beside him.
“At least he won’t be taking our water anymore.” They said.
Some looked around, to see how the man lived, that he should need so much water. Then they found a rock pond. The pond was empty, apart from a few drops of water.
“No wonder it’s empty.” Said one, “There is an exit, stopped with just a few small stones.”
“Look.” Said another, “The exit leads down the hill.”
They all gathered at the top of the hill and looked down. The stream that had fed the well had its origin in the old man’s pond.
Each day, to keep the water in the well from becoming stagnant and stale, the old man would carry as much as he could to the top of the hill. Flowing from his pond and over the stones, the water going into the well was fresh and clear.