“The Well,” by Father William Bassakyros
Father William Bassakyros of St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in New York City, penned the following essay titled, "The Well".
The full text can be read below.
When we speak about faith in general, what first comes to mind is religion. However, we have to take it much further than that. Faith is a belief and "confidence, or trust, in a person or thing . . . belief that is not based on proof . . . belief in anything as a code of ethics standard of merit." These are some definitions found in dictionaries that pertain to faith.
Furthermore, synonyms for faith are, confidence, trust, reliance, assurance, conviction, belief, devotion, and loyalty. Faith encompasses all of these elements, but it can be summed up in a wonderful test of faith that I learned while in the Sinai desert.
A man was riding through the Arabian Desert and came upon robbers. Let us say, like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. They robbed him of all he had; horse, food, clothes, possessions, and most of all, water, and they left him in essence for the buzzards. Without water, clothes on his back, or any visible shelter where he could wait out the day's burning sun's rays, he was forced to walk where he hoped he would find some relief. For many days he struggled to reach some oasis, or find cover from the brutal desert environment.
To make matters worse, with no visible reference points in the desert, he was walking in circles. Without any shade from the brutal sun and no water, he had little hope of coming out of this alive. Then after many days he spotted a small oasis in the distance, and with hope, he continued walking in that direction. Still on his feet, but slowing down, he reached the oasis on his knees and finally crawled toward the small shelter in front of him.
There in front of him was a small tent with an opening on one side. He lifted up the flap of the tent and crawled in. Shade at last, and his sun burnt body felt relief and he started to cool down almost immediately. His eyes had to make the adjustment from the bright sun of the desert to the low light level in the tent. After a few minutes of just lying there in total exhaustion, he looks up and sees a small hand pump in the middle of the tent.
Moreover, attached to the pump was a sign that read "Take the glass of water and pour it down the pump in order to prime the gasket. Then start pumping, but do not forget to fill the glass again before you leave." There, right in front of him, was a small glass of cool water. What to do? Head pounding, throat and mouth parched like the desert, he was now faced with a dilemma. Do I take the glass of water and drink it, or do I do as the sign says and pour it down the pump? Do I dare to believe the sign? What if the pump does not work after I pour the glass of water down the throat of the pump? What would you do? Think about it. This calls for true faith. As the definition of faith states: confidence, trust, reliance, assurance, conviction, belief, devotion, and loyalty.
As we too make our way through the minefields of life, supported only through faith, do we take faith with all its attributes and do what we know can save us? Or do we take the way of instant gratification and think only of the now? Well, just as in the story, the stranger takes the glass of water, pours it down the pump, and waits a few minutes for the gasket to swell, and then starts pumping. Immediately water starts to make its way up the dry pipes of the well, and then finally reaches the mouth of the pump with immense pressure overflowing into the glass below.
Will you take that chance, as did the stranger, and have faith enough to trust in the Lord? Who, through His Word, came into the world to save all who believe in Him and who was written about in the Old and New Testaments? Or do you believe that they are just nice stories made-up for the very weak minded souls in order to comfort them in times of difficulty? It is as you know a leap of faith to believe, but to believe is to trust, and to he who trusts, there is always a reward. Either in this life, or in the life to come. Those who have tasted the water that comes from the well of faith can attest to its potency. This "Living Water" can carry them through every desert and minefield they may encounter in life. Amen!