Digging Wells

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Caleb Gilmore.

I heard a story once about someone visiting Australia and running across a sheep herder there. The one thing that this traveler noticed was that there were literally no fences to contain or corral the sheep. Puzzled, the man asked the farmer why he hadn’t built fences to restrain his sheep and keep them from wandering. The farmer replied something along the lines, “Some farmers in other places might need to build fences around their properties to keep their livestock in and the livestock from other farms out, but around here we don’t have a lot of watering holes. So what we do is we build a well, and though our livestock may stray, they never wander too far from the well. As long as there is good, clean water here, the fences aren’t needed.”

My journey has taken me down many roads. I’ve read most of the important philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche. I’ve studied authors and poets from Emily Dickenson, John Steinbeck, Christopher Hitchens, Rob Bell, and N.T. Wright. All have taught me something about humanity, our common quest, and the questions we all have.

The biggest hinderance for me in my journey to understand God and know him have been the ways that people who claim to know him best often treat one another. For some reason or another, we like to put up fences that keep people like us in and people unlike us on the out. People who look different, smell different, think different, or live differently are perceived as a threat.

As I study Jesus’ life and read the texts of the Bible I see a life there that I want to see come to a reality for all people. Love being used as the weapon of choice against enemies. Grace trumping all expectations of what a person is supposed to be. Story being the unifying factor that brings us together under one flag as humans just trying to find God in the mess of this world. And hope prevailing in the darkest of times.

See, I’ve had enough of the fences. I’ve had enough of dealing with people who think they know who deserves to be on what side of the fence.

I’d rather be a well digger. I’d rather find good, clean sources of water and sink my shovel in deep to let the healing waters come gushing out. That’s something worth working for. I’ll sweat and bleed and shed tears for a world where people dig wells so that anybody who is thirsty can come and drink and not have to worry about searching anymore. I think then we’d be able to see how irrelevant are the fences we’ve created.


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