I was walking on the Franklin and Marshall College campus when I saw these statues. I am sure any of the locals could have told me who the Franklin and the Marshall were. I just assumed they were names of folks who contributed to the school I found out that was indeed true. I just didn’t know the year was 1787 and the Franklin was Benjamin Franklin. Then I learned about the Marshall of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall.
As I sat on the blue adirondack chairs under the big oak trees, I pondered these two figures. It brought to mind the TV show “Law and Order” with politics and law both represented in the school’s name sake. “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.” John Marshall.
Ben Franklin said many things. In fact, he began his vocational life in a print shop perhaps to record and disperse his many words. He was known for his diligence as well as his uhhh, let’s just say free spirit. I read the quotes on the Ben Franklin statue. I was most struck by “When the well is dry, we know the worth of the water.” Ben Franklin
Several years ago I attended the first retreat for clergy in a program titled: “Called Back to the Well”. This was funded by the Lily Endowment which has a long history of commitment to clergy renewal. The setting was in a monastery in Albuquerque, NM. My hunch is clergy are not the only ones thirsty for God.
Actual water is a life source we cannot live long without. We want to be committed to clean water and accessible water for all. I know I also can’t live long without spiritual water. In the 4th chapter of John we get to eavesdrop on an extraordinary conversation between Jesus and a woman. There is much to learn from this. For one: it is good to be known. Have you ever been surprised when someone knew you, really knew you? Also the well is not about geography. It is about how, “in spirit and in truth.”
On hot summer days, my mouth is dry and I am thirsty. I know the worth of water when I am in desperate need for a drink. When my spirit is dry, lifeless, sad and shriveled up in despair or complacency, I know the worth of the water and I search for the well. Some days I am parched with a thirst for justice and mercy (law and order/ forgiveness and righting wrongs)
We are being called back to the well today. Where is the well? When we worship with our whole spirit and in truth, we will find God is there to slake our great thirst. Whether in Samaria , or Lancaster, Pennsylvania, or Buna, Texas or Washington, D.C. the place varies , the thirst does not.
“Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? …
those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:12 & 14)