Oasis en cuenca de deflación – Gabron, Mandara (Libia) – 01 by Banco de Imágenes Geológicas is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The land was dry and arid. It rarely rained. Because of this the desert had no vegetation and there was no shelter from the burning heat of the sun. But in the midst of the desert was an oasis, a well was fed by a spring that bubbled up from the ground. A small community had settled at the oasis and some weary travellers found refreshment and rest there. But there were other travellers who did not know about the oasis and perished in the midst of the desert.
The villagers who lived at the oasis were troubled by this. Each day they would send out search parties looking for travellers and pointing them towards the oasis where they would find water and shelter. They put up signs pointing people towards the oasis and warning travellers about the dangers of travelling in the desert.
Then one day a wise woman suggested that instead of going out to the desert to find travellers they could take water in big containers out into the desert. They loaded up the camels and took the water with them. By this means they were able to help more travellers.
Then the wise woman had an even better idea. She suggested that they should dig deep holes in the desert and fill them with water from the well. That way travellers would find water even when the villagers were not in that area.
One day a traveller found his way to the oasis. Grateful for the cool, refreshing water, he started talking with the villagers and commended them for their hard work to save the lives of travellers. But, he wondered, what if they dug irrigation channels from the oasis out into the desert? Could the desert itself be transformed?
This is one of a series of parables that are being created by Nick Lear (you can read his blog here) and myself. The parables are designed to help us think about how we can be honest about our faith and in particular how we as churches and individuals are connecting with people who don’t know Jesus yet.
Each month we are sending a parable and some questions to churches in the Eastern Baptist Association where Nick is a Regional Minister and I am the task group leader for Mission Strategy. We had a great afternoon a few months ago coming up with the concepts for the parables and this first one was then put into words by Nick.
The purpose of each parable and questions is to help churches and individuals to think about their attitude to being honest about their faith as they look at and discuss them together.
Our first mailing went yesterday and you can look at it here if you are interested if you would like to work through the questions that follow.
Jesus talked about the gift of living water that only he can offer, if we are Christians we have received that gift, but how will we share it with others?
Do we just try to tell people about Jesus?
Do we just try to get people to church?
Do we want to help people to know Jesus for themselves?