2017-11-09 / Editorial Page

Trip to outhouse ends with unexpected dip in the well

Words of Encouragement
By ROGER ALFORD columnist

The late woodsman Harvey Carr told about his city slicker friend who came to visit him one night at his home in the upper Adirondacks.

After a while, the city slicker needed to use the restroom. Harvey handed him a flashlight, pointed to the path that led to the outhouse, and sent him on the way.

After about a half hour, Harvey got worried about his city friend and went to check on him. Finding that he wasn’t in the outhouse, Harvey walked farther down the trail and heard a faint cry for help that sounded like it was coming from the well.

Harvey looked down into the well, and, sure enough, the city slicker was in there sloshing around.

“You OK?” Harvey called out.

“I am for now, but for goodness sakes, don’t flush this thing until I get out of here.”

Harvey made quite a name for himself by telling such funny tales, and a college professor has preserved many of them in a book that was published locally. While we can’t help but laugh at that city slicker, we’d also agree that being stuck is a well certainly isn’t a laughing matter.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah once found himself in the bottom of a well, put there by men who were angered by his preaching. When people aren’t right with God, preaching will almost always either make them mad or move them to repentance.

The well Jeremiah was put in had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

When a servant in the King’s palace heard what had happened to Jeremiah, he intervened, going to the king to ask that he be rescued.

The king sent 30 men with that servant to pull Jeremiah out of that well.

Did you get that? A servant recognized that Jeremiah was in a terrible fix and intervened on his behalf by boldly going to king to plead for his rescue.

We all likely know people who, in a spiritual sense, are in the midst of bad circumstances and need someone to come alongside them. What we should do is exactly what that servant did for Jeremiah: Go to our King, Jesus, and ask Him to intervene.

There’s a great church hymn titled Jesus Saves.

“We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!”

The Bible tells us there is salvation in no one else.

There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

You may be familiar with the psalmist who said: ‘He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock” (Psalm 40:2).

If any of us, like that city slicker, ever get stuck in a spiritual pit, you can rest assured that you have friend in Jesus who stands ready to deliver you.

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.

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