A little story I overheard told while on a peregrination by train, during a journey from Gallup toward the direction the train was headed. I’m not sure of the story’s origin. But that’s of no consequence. It’s the story itself that caught and kept my attention.
Shall I share it with you? I don’t think I can keep it to myself any longer. It’s been playing in the sealed gardens of my remembrance so many years no grass will grow there anymore. It began as a fictional tale, or so I thought, it ended being anything but.
[ A long time ago in a land far away there was a little city-state kingdom where all the people existed in relative harmony going about their daily business. They were satisfied with their lives and they had a benevolent king who watched over their needs and required very little from his people in return.
This monarch always looked for ways to improve the life of his subjects. In doing so he decided that having a community well in the center of town from which to draw water should be a welcome relief for them. It would free them from their burden of having to carry water from the distant river.
The people were all very pleased by this and joined together to busily dig the well in the center of the town. It was a good well and proved to provide very good, sweet water. They all celebrated the king for another wonderful provision from his creative goodness.
But a wandering wicked witch came amongst them and couldn’t stand the peace and harmony it witnessed; becoming determined to secretively destroy life in this land. It observed and noticed that all the people drank from the common well every morning. One night it stealthily slithered into town and spirit poisoned the central well. It would not cause a sudden mass demise. There would be no mass panic. In fact, nobody would even realize they had been poisoned.
The next morning all the people gathered and drank from the well as usual. Which made them go crazy as planned. However the king did not drink from the well. He retreated to his palace where, from an upper window, he watched in confused disbelief as the scene below deteriorated into a mystification of befuddlement.
Over many days, paranoia and other varieties of lunatic thoughts and imaginings took hold of the people. In time they noticed the king, who behaved normally, seemed a bit strange. They said to each other: “Doesn’t it seem the king has been acting weird of late? He doesn’t seem to make any sense in word or behavior any longer.” So they began to plot a coup to overthrow the king.
When the wary crown heard about the plot he arose the very next morning, went to the well while all were gathered, and drank from it. As the people witnessed this, everyone began cheering and they celebrated, for the sovereign was obviously sane again.
That is how the legend ends, the narrator declared.
The real story has a slightly different ending, he continued:
The king never drank from the well and was able to convince a few to refrain also, saving them from insanity. The majority rose up against him saying he could not be their king, they took him away to a hill outside the city and crucified him. Those who the king had saved escaped and ran to a different land and told the people the news.
But there they found the well had been poisoned, also. They tried to warn the people not to drink, but those who ruled imprisoned and crucified many of them. More escaped, again to run to a far region and warn the people, knowing they may encounter the same fate. For it seemed the common well that people drew from in every land had been contaminated with evil’s intent.
And this is still going on throughout every generation to this very day.
“For the message of the cross
To those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved
It is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 ]
“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13