Ephesians 3:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Have you ever ran out of water? If you’ve ever lived in a home that used a well, you might have had such an experience. My first encounter with running out of water was in our home in Peninsula, OH. We had just moved in and I was in the shower covered head to toe in soap when the water ran out. Making the experience even more memorable was the well could still generate a slow drip of cold water. I got to stand there for a long time until the cold, slow drips rinsed me off.
We were told a good well had a recoupment rate of 3 – 5 gallons of water per minute. Ours was 1 – 2 quarts per minute. We learned how to adjust our water usage so we wouldn’t run out (most of the time). As the well got weaker, we drilled deeper and found some improvement. We added holding tanks in the basement to increase our usable supply. Eventually, the well ran dry and we had a choice to build a cistern, like many in the village had, or we could drill in another place on our 1 acre. We chose to drill.
The individual who drilled wells asked if we wanted him to “witch’ for it. We said, “No. We’ll pray for you that the Lord will guide you where to drill.” The result was amazing. He not only found water, but he said this was the strongest well in town. He could measure up to 25 gallons of water per minute recoupment and this was beyond that! What a gift from the Lord!!
I would like you to consider that forgiveness – specifically, the ability to forgive – as a gift from the Lord to each of us, that has amazing similarities to the “well / water” illustration described above. There is an abundant supply available, we simply have to live lives that tap into it. Just like water, we use forgiveness repeatedly every day. Some have “strong wells” and are able to forgive with little effort or concern. The supply is there in abundance because of decisions they have made to conform to the teachings of our Lord.
Others have “weaker wells or drying up wells”, where they find forgiving others to be more difficult and at times they seem to “run dry”. Instead of soap, they find themselves covered with anger, resentment and bitterness and no “water” (read ability to forgive) to deal with it. This develops in lives due to not conforming to the teachings of our Lord. Unfortunately, it is a whole lot easier for us to recognize when we run out of water, than it is to recognize when we run out of forgiveness.
The ramifications of unforgiveness are profound. No matter what happens to us, the Lord expects us, and requires us, to forgive one another – just as we have been forgiven. Proverbs 4:23 speaks to this in a particularly fitting way given our illustration today: “And guard your heart for it is the well-spring of life.”