by Liz King Bradley March 19, 2015
Once there was a town called Society. The people in the town had a well that flowed continuously and had great power to heal, to mend relationships, to cleanse from bodily sickness and lift the downtrodden spirit. The well was called Living Water. They drank from this well daily, and immersed themselves in it weekly. When someone was sick they would say, "Come, with me, I'll help you to the well." To those who were so sick they could not even remember the well they said, "Here, here is some of the water from that well." The town founder who placed the well before them had also written guidelines so they would know when they were sick and in need of healing.
As time went on, there were those who said "Who are you to tell me I am sick...or that I need that water. I am drinking juice of the stimuli plant, I'm fine." Over time, some of those who drank from the stimuli plant began to tell others that the water from the well wasn't really healing, and that the people who were bringing those to that well merely wanted power and influence over them. When they saw the people who drank the water from the well, they saw a brilliance and a light, but called it arrogance and deceit. The juice of the stimuli plant gave them a quick and short lived burst of energy that almost imitated the water, but soon after drinking it you would need more of it...it never satisfied, it only pacified. The guidelines came to be seen as restrictive. The founder? They questioned if he even existed.
The stimuli juice came in many flavors and colors. Some were more appealing to the eyes, others more appealing to the stomach, some appealing to the brain, and others to the sexual parts, but all of them carried a secret poison. The poison deactivated the part of their soul that knew and remembered the peace and joy of the water from the well, so that over time, they would forget true peace. Instead of seeing the hands that offered the water with a sense of the love and care of the person, they saw it as judgement and arrogance that they believed the water was better than the juice.
The water bringers were at first concerned for the well being of the juicers, but some of them forgot to drink the water to heal their hurts and began to return rejection for rejection and bitterness for bitterness. They didn't drink the juice, but they didn't drink the water either, they perceived that they were better than the juice drinkers and ceased to seek the healing and strengthening of the water. They still offered the water, but they never seemed to drink it for themselves, while congratulating themselves for being "water bearers", and "juice abstainers", they forgot the need to drink the water for themselves.
There began to be divisions. These divisions were fueled by labels like "Water drinkers", "Juicers", "Bearers", "judgers", etc. They were no more a community of individual people, they were groups and each individual was forgotten as the characteristics of the groups they were in became the only thing they saw in each other.
Some water bearers, thought the people who drank the juice were right, that to offer the water was offensive and began to discourage others from offering the water to heal. They thought that the pain and defensiveness felt by the people who drank juice was because of the offering of healing, rather than the natural effect of not drinking the water and of drinking juice that would never satisfy. Their intentions were good, they wanted to be accepting of others and respectful.
Fewer and fewer people received the healing waters, and even those who did not partake of the juice began to judge those who drank the water and blame them for the unhappiness of those drinking the juice because the light and happiness of those who drank the water reminded those drinking juice of the emptiness of their remedy. Drinking the juice began to be seen as an alternate to the water, instead of a harmful deterrent from the healing of the water.
People used the word "different" instead of better or worse. Some people even began to say that the well should be sealed up and those who offered the water should be banned from even mentioning it because of the discord that was growing in the population. Some of those who drank water began to say, the juice plants should all be burned, and those who drink juice expelled from the community. So retaliation and control seeped in and love, edification, and respect dwindled.
In the meantime, some of those drinking the juice had noticed their complete bondage to the juice and those who provided it, and to the opinions of those around them to feel good about it. They felt an unrest in their souls as the last sparks of peace were being closed out of them. Those who continued to drink the water saw, with clarity, the pain of those drinking the juice, and sought to help in the most loving way possible, they were often misunderstood.
Yet, those drinking juice who were blessed to meet up with a friend or loved one who still cared for their well-being and drank freely of the water, sometimes chose to try the water. The effects of the water went deeper and fuller, but also carried a revealing power that opened their minds to the things they were doing wrong when seeking for or under the influence of the stimuli juice. They would, sometimes, quit because of the pain and blame the water for it.
Others, though, saw the pain and drank the water more deeply, and allowed it to create the change and recovery from the social, emotional, and spiritual effects of the juice. The water healed their bodies too, but that was easy in comparison to the damage healed in their hearts, minds, spirits, and relationships with others. Having been healed, and understanding in a personal way, the effects of the juice and knowing the language of the people who drank the juice, they reached out to their friends and neighbors. Though not all of them accepted, more of them listened because they could not deny the former juice drinker knew the pain and joy of both sides and the journey it took to receive the joy.
Not everyone in the community came back together. However, those who continually drank the water and those who began to drink the water again continued bringing the opportunity to those who judged and those who drank the juice, healing began to happen and divisions began to be formed into unity as the water installed forgiveness, peace, and joy into the hearts of all who would receive it.
A miracle occurred and the labels began to disappear as people stopped being identified as those who drank or those who didn't, or those who judged and those who didn't. The drinking of the water and the pathway to receiving it opened their hearts and minds to see the many facets in each others being, to build on the common good, and allow the healing of the water to do for them what they now knew they could not do with the juice or on their own. They came to realize the wisdom of the founder.
What would have happened if they sealed the well?
What would have happened if the water drinkers had listened to those who told them to stop offering?
What would have happened if everyone believed there was nothing wrong with the juice?
Is the problem in acknowledging something wrong with the juice, or in not offering the water with enough conviction and love?
Was it kindness to tell those who were suffering the effects of the juice that there was nothing wrong with it?
What character in this story are you most like?
Which one do you want to be like?
****Note from the Author: This story is not about a particular spiritual ailment, it is about all of them in any of the many forms they take and how we need the Savior to heal us and create harmony between us. The juice could be addiction, it could be alternative lifestyles, it could be addiction to people approval, it is about anything we use in place of the Saving and Healing power of Jesus Christ in our lives.