True Love, the Oil Spill and Well Water

As millions of gallons of oil continue to decimate the Gulf region, I am awestruck by the mystery of tapping into something that never seems to run out. If the oil could be tamed (too late), it would be like the elusive “money tree” we all wish we could grow. (Even though we’d know the effects that would have on inflation – but we wouldn’t care. Come on, it’s a money tree!)

It is hard for me to grasp the power of wells and of tapping into something so valuable. But I am spoiled and unimaginative: most of the world understands perfectly and has for thousands of years.

When Isaac wanted to find his true love, his men went to the well. Whoever offered water was the one. Rebekah reached into the well bucket and filled a pitcher for the men and the camels. Camels can drink 20 gallons of water. She might have been watering those poor guys all evening. And so Rebekah became my ancestor.

The used up Samaritan woman found her true love at the well, too. She’d had six husbands and not-really-husbands. She was cheaper than a hooker, in everyone else’s eyes. At the well she begged, “Sir, give me this eternal, drought-defying water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here.”

God gave the assaulted slave Hagar a well in the desert to feed herself and her son. God has mercy on the trafficked and distraught.

Wells have always been frequented by women. If wells are where God chose to promise love and provision, he must have known that most of the women he promised it to were unloved and found their provision only through complete obedience to their husbands.

There are many problems with wells. They are unsafe for strangers, cause strife in families, can be overtaken by invading armies or simple no-good doers.

Sometimes they sit covered for long stretches, so as not to let the sand in to destroy them. Historically when wells dried up, they became known as pits. St. Peter refers to these pits as a metaphor for the hypocrites. Hypocrites are wells without water. Hypocrites are truly the pits.

In Meribah, during the Israelite Exodus, when the little children and huge camels were all hungry and thirsty, everyone whined and moped around. Moses took his staff and said, “Here, you dang rebels,” and out of the rock gushed water like an oil spill: never-ending, entirely satisfying water for the grumbling wretches.

So history understands the power of wells that never dry up. Women who drag giant pots on their heads all day for the privilege of getting just a few gallons, they can understand, too. The slaves, the rejects and the people with anger issues can all get it. The 11 dead in the Gulf and even the poor little fishies probably know now the power of something entirely unquenchable.

In fact, the only ones who never seem to get it are the people too rich to have to go to the well in the first place.

3 Responses to “True Love, the Oil Spill and Well Water”
  1. Joan says:

    What wonderful and beautiful writing. It has warmed my heart.

  2. Darrell says:

    Yes, the writing is beautiful as are the stories. When I was a child everyone in my neighborhood had their own well. there was no other way to get clean water. There was also a neighborhood well that people used occasionally but that well water contained sulfur. It gave off a distinctive odor but somehow we knew instinctively that sulfur was good for you as people are starting to relearn today. It is good for digestion, infection and wound healing as well as pain from arthritis and other things. The point is that it was a neighborhood well similar to those in the bible. It’s interesting how close we really are to anchient generations.

    As to the oil spill, it is indeed horrible and as I’ve said before it has the potential to be the greatest disaster in human history. Solution appears to be weeks or months away and that will pour millions or even tens of millions of gallons into the sea. Isn’t it interesting that this extremely high pressure oil was 30,000 feet beneath the bottom of 5000 feet of water. That’s six miles into the earth and a drill shaft seven miles long. How did the oil get there? I thought it was biotic, from vegatation and dead dinosaurs. Did they live six miles down? It’s all very strange.

    • bobm says:

      Yes, the model for how it all got there (a bunch of large critters and plants dying over hundreds of millions of years) is just that: a model. I wish the educational establishment would quit conflating “model” and “truth”.

      BTW, drilling 30,000 ft. starting from a mile deep is no small engineering feat. The pressure at the starting point is enormous… the whole working environment is not what one intuitively expects. The water pressure on the seafloor mud alone is partially responsible for preventing a lot of spontaneous gushers (but not all!) The engineering successes (and risks) involved in extraction are comparable to those of space missions. But it is important to keep something in mind here: it would be a whole lot easier, and less risky, to extract oil closer to shore. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone what keeps that from happening!

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