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Marvin Repinski: When the well goes dry

“I loath my life”…. I will say to God. “Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands and favor the design of the wicked?”

A human being in the throes of seeming rejection and alienation and emptiness.  From the Bible’s Old Testament, Job 10:1-3.

My thoughts have lingered long on many fronts: The lack of water for the farms, the fires that burn, lacking sufficient water (both for growth and for firefighters to extinguish fires), the thirst of persons living where famine persists, the lack of clean non-chemically possessed water systems, the storms that wash away our shorelines and the rain that refreshes our yards’ vegetation, trees and gardens.

Water is both the miracle of life and in worldwide experiences, the warrior of death and destruction. My use of water as a metaphor, a figure of speech, may call attention to several results of the lack of this special fluid. Think of a well, which is described as a  “A hole or shaft in the earth dug or drilled to tap an underground supply of water, gas, oil, etc.”

When asked for more donations to a savory cause — wounded, rejected pets — a nursing home resident said, “Thanks for your attention, but my well has run dry.”

We know what the previous, generous donor was saying:  “I’m barely getting by. I’m ill, my resources are all used up.”  She said, like many say over and over: “My well is not producing; it’s all dried up!”

One does not have to occupy a bed in a nursing home or clinic to think “what will I do, my life is spent — the well that once served me is now useless.” And there are multitudes in the families of the world who are painfully living with “empty wells.”

Let us reflect on some responses people helping people may hear.

“The whole world has gone to pieces!”

“My checking account balance is zero.”

“My family is against me.”

When we are down in the mouth, resources seem to be gone, our minds drive us into the past.  Sonia, who once had a glorious past, kept going back to popular songs.  “Like what?” her priest asked.  “Like Elvis Presley — his voice and rhythm always lifted me out of the doldrums.”  “You liked his songs?”  “Loved them — still recall the hits, three hits in the top ten —  ‘Love Me Tender,’ “Don’t Be Cruel,’ and one about a Hound Dog!”  “I wish today I had a dog and I crave being loved.”

Without serving up easy answers on a golden platter, I am writing a belief. The conviction I have is that hurting people really need to look and ask questions. With mind and shoes, search for answers. The water will be found!

In being a minister in Christian churches and teaching in colleges for almost 60 years, I’ve lived in eight different counties in Minnesota. In every area I have found and often worked with compassionate, learned men and women who I wish to give a motto:  “We are here to help — our lives have goals to support persons who have unstable situations.” They may at times suffer, as we say, from “compassion fatigue,” but they point to stars in the sky!

We are on this earth to keep growing, to be more than survivors.  There are spiritual resources, strength to be found for the heart for each person who feels drained, heartsick, numb, sick and tired, fearful, scared, worried, in doubt, feeling panic or uncertainty.  It is said of Jesus, when hanging on a cross, he uttered words that are in my ear today.  “I thirst!”

A call, I believe, to God the Father and to all who will listen that what water he lacked is not unlike the water in a dried up well.  The water that may have been given him, now Jesus shares with all who have contrite hearts!  We listen.

“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?…….Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”  (Jeremiah 18:6)