Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parable of the Spring


Legend held that high in a sacred mountain there was a spring. This spring gave forth pure, life-giving water to all who partook. Direct contact with the spring, as well as the water from it, was deeply treasured by the members of the community. It signified many important things to them about their relationship to their creator.

Many would take trips to enjoy, and be refreshed by this spring's life giving water. It had a taste unlike any other. It even had a fragrance which some said had the aroma of the skies. They knew by experience it was pure. The effects were clear and calming and left one with peace.  All were invited to come and partake of this living water for themselves.

Years went by and the nearby community went from its humble beginnings to a towering, prosperous city. Soon economically minded individuals were engaged in business expansion. Seeing as drinking water was necessary for the people, they began to invest and research ways to provide it more efficiently, and in a way that was to the residents' liking. Spring water after all could be a booming business. The spring could also provide profit and jobs for the community.

It was said that if this water could be packaged, controlled, and overseen by a corporation they could ensure that everyone had access to it, near and far. They could also ensure, oversee, and manage it. After all, purity, strength and composition were necessary regulations that would have to be put in place and overseen.  And so it happened.  Efficiencies were seen quickly.  With the convenience of drinking from bottles, people no longer had to concern themselves with the actual spring or the a potentially laborious trek up the mountain. Controls and regulation were imposed in the name of safety and risk management.  The effect was surely believed to improve the citizen’s lives. Some of the residents were pleased pleased because it assured them they possessed something valuable and consumed something they could trust. They could also now wait for their water to be delivered right to their door, and even get delivery confirmation.

There came a time when a city conference meeting was held and the new direction for city water was put to a vote. Many were divided over the issue but eventually a vote in favor passed. The water rights were given to a growing organization.  The community could now rely on those who had the 'right' to be in charge of the spring and its water.

Those who oversaw and packaged and delivered the water in consumer bottles were chosen for their business savvy and skills rather than their knowledge of, or experience at the spring. Such experience weren't deemed necessary for their positions.  Respect, honor, and devotion towards the water company increased throughout the culture as it grew. In the eyes of some they became a suitable substitute to what the spring provided. The actual name of the spring still appeared on the bottle label which helped everyone's minds be at ease.  The business that collected, bottled and distributed the water became a formidable power in the city.  The label claim carried a degree of authority and perceived authenticity.  Over time the citizens would increasingly tolerate or even praise any developments offered by the water bottling company.

In time the actual spring itself was forgotten, and its true value was referenced, but directly experienced less and less. With new advertising and marketing strategies new flavors of "vitamin water" with artificial sweeteners came to the stores to meet demand for social change.

As generations who had been to the spring passed, presumptions and traditions replaced the truth about the Spring and it's water. Traditions were strong in the community. Many presumed only a few actually partook directly from the spring, or were even allowed to.  It was "reserved" after all some people would say.  Others agreed that to visit the spring was not for the general population, and nothing further should even be considered. Some thought the new flavors and added minerals signified progress and adaptation for the growing city.  The bottled water at one point was even taught to be the same as a personal experience to and at the spring.

A few of the residents of the city still knew of the hike to the spring where they could enjoy this God-sent life giver. This surely need to be protected, so the company who bottled the water aspired to taken ownership of the mountain, and thus the spring.  The mountain and the land soon became viewed by the people as private property and notions of secrecy surrounding it emerged. There were few that made the individual journey to find the spring for themselves, although it still was, and always had been legally accessible. Some in powerful positions of influence taught that the bottled version of the water was just as good, if not better.  And that it was too risky and unnecessary to go beyond what was delivered to them. Since the effects of the pure water were not measured and regulated it was thought to be potentially dangerous.

Law in this community required ingredients to be listed on all consumer products. However ingredients and their associated meanings became clouded in language the common citizen did not understand. Although the definitions of the ingredients slowly changed over time, the actual words used on the bottle label did not.  The label vocabulary describing their water put many at ease because it sounded official and original.  The adoration and reverence that at one time surrounded the spring were slowly being transferred to the institution packaging and distributing the water, or even the bottle itself.  Many would develop sincere beliefs about what they thought was true of the water they drank from bottles.  Strong emotion helped many feel reassured of the truth of their beliefs.  For a time it seemed the truth was left behind and emotion served as its alternative.   For many, there were simply more pressing matters to concern themselves with than their drinking water which appeared to be perfectly fine.

As business goes, newer and more popular ways of supplying needs became the focus of organizational expansion. Other brands joined in the market of selling bottled water.  In this particular city, recycled water was much easier to come by than spring water. True it may contain trace amounts of strange chemicals, or flushed pharmaceuticals, but they were in such small amounts that it was presumed and believed that it wouldn't affect the mind or body. The corporation sought the insight of experts who concluded that the human body needed water, but not necessarily directly from the spring. Experts were again brought in to study the various outlets, soil composition, human physiology, behavior, and public opinions.

One searcher had discovered that the plastic bottle the spring water was packaged in was subtly contaminating the water.  The processes involved in the packaging effort both removed elements, and mingled in foreign elements which caused chemical changes in the body.  Man made cleansing and purifying processes were unable to purify the water.  But since everyone in the community was drinking it, no one was noticing the subtle effects and trends. It became increasingly impure and different from it's origin.  One business executive said that to focus on such small things, or trace amounts of danger, was to strain at a gnat, and that the focus should be the vision of building, expanding, and offering their water to the world. Other trustees agreed and said that the origin of all water was God, so little changes here or there didn't matter a great deal because after all, they were doing such a grand work delivering the water.

The bottled water had value; it did contain some residue of original foundation elements. Some would occasionally notice however that what they consumed had a bit of an impure taste, but they were sometimes afraid to explore it and find out the whole story. Those who voiced discoveries such as the bottle contamination were often mistreated or viewed as outcasts. Out of fear, many ignored the information their senses provided. Man's interference had led to in inevitable contaminates in the water.

One day in the early fall a young man who knew of this legend was caught in a rainstorm and paused from where he was headed to stand beneath a tree.  He inhaled to enjoy the aroma of such clean air and was suddenly struck with an unmistakable impression to venture towards the mountains in the distance. Straightway he left his previous endeavors and went towards the dark fog clouded figures. After a little while he remembered how he loved the rain, and thought it a blessing from the heavens. It watered both the flowers and the weeds. As he looked heavenward a drop of rain landed in his mouth. Although small and simple, he noticed a hint of something.  It was a taste strangely familiar to him. There was a faint yet clear recognition but he wasn't sure from where. He pondered and thought he heard something coming from the mountain.

A few days later he noticed his thirst going unquenched. Something had altered his taste and the bottled water he drank now puzzled him. He looked at the label and saw the original small print by the founder identifying the water had come from a spring high in the mountains. He had heard stories of this spring, as well as the legend about some old community that vaguely resembled his own.  He again thought he heard something.  He decided he needed to learn for himself the truth about this spring, and why he hungered and thirsted as he did.

The young man set out, the wind being his guide. He found the way. When he returned from the mountain he would return a different person. It took the man some time to find the spring. There were many peaks and valleys, one which was called death's shadow.  But at length he found the spring, saw its beauty, felt its purity, and tasted of its goodness. He received what it offered, and knew his life would never be the same. The experience was unlike anything he had ever considered. Life began anew.

The spring water had a cleansing effect, which affected his residence. Although he wanted to, the experience he had was one he was not able to share with many people. The rigorous hike and the required passages required everything of the person hiking, so this was not for the unprepared, or disinterested.  He concluded that this treasure was worth any price. He later noted how the spring had provided a living component inside of him, it became part of him, and he part of it. They became one.  When he returned to the city he noticed there in the sacred writings was a description of what he struggled to put into words

As the man adjusted again into his everyday life he noticed members of his community held tight to beliefs and traditions that were tied to sentiment and emotion about the spring water delivered to them in plastic bottles.  In other circles people would often testify of this water's purity, claiming to know of its perfection, their view was bolstered by the ongoing success of the water company. Great love and adoration was expressed towards those who delivered this life necessity.  Many felt great loyalty and pride at the growing success of the spring water company. This provided assurance that things were well and emotions ran proud. The more it was distributed, the more the sense of overall well being grew.

The impurities, and lacking components had altered many people's orientation, and was subtly affecting their hearing as well as eyesight.  His concern deepened but a warmth inside him led him to pray in behalf of those among whom he lived and loved.

While the young man acknowledged and was grateful for what remained of the original elements of the packaged water, in his heart he treasured the spring and its direct effect on him above all else. It filled him, and gave him rest. He also treasured the rare moments when a few close friends and he could speak of and share in the joy and blessings of the spring. Without water, human life could not survive. He began to see more clearly the grace and mercy of the creator in all that transpired to him and around him - both in what puzzled him, and in what fulfilled him.

Many years came and went, and the man grew old and passed away rejoicing in that which awaited him. His cheerful attitude and talk of hope got him the title "Grandpa Hope" by his posterity.  He left a record for them, in a very non assuming and humble book.

Generations passed and only a residue of understanding remained in the community of the sacred spring.  Many truths were not preserved and thus did not endure.  There came a time when a terrible disaster occurred in that part of the land. The city was left desolate. A few remnants remained who huddled together and due to the water source near the old city decide to resettle there.  They knew of the spring, and treasured it.  They lived in peace with one another.  Their children grew and were taught the truth.  Other communities of like minded believers joined them, and together they honored their creator by obeying His teachings.  They became one.  It was because of the Spring that they found life.  

(Picture by Bierstadt, Albert)

2 comments:

  1. Super Amazing picture :) Sorry I was sleep talking when you showed it to me. Love the post babe!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just wanted to let you know that is was beautifully written. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, will have tears that flow after reading it. Thank you.

    We can come to know the spring using our five senses…

    We can smell the spring water,
    we can hear the spring water,
    we can see the spring water,
    we can taste the spring water,

    And most importantly..
    we can feel the spring water.. inside and out.. and be washed clean.
    So then we can become part of the Spring Water.

    ReplyDelete