The Parable of the Watermaster
Years ago there was a village in a desert.
Water was scarce, and the people treasured what little they had. It seldom rained, but when it did, people scurried about to capture it in buckets and pots. Every drop was a treasure. Every cup was precious.
For that reason the discovery in the cavern was thrilling news.
One day a farmer was digging holes for fence posts. A few feet below the surface of the ground he found a cavern- not large, but full of water. He immediately lowered a bucket, pulled it out, and tasted, to his delight, cold, sweet water. He was so excited he filled all his buckets, loaded them in the back of his wagon, and hurried into the village.
«I have water! I have water!» he shouted.
The villagers came running out of their houses. As the people gathered, the farmer explained how he had come upon the treasure. He joyfully announced that there was enough for everyone.
«Drink all you want,» he offered. And then, to the people’s amazement, he picked up a bucket and doused a little boy.
«There is plenty!» he proclaimed. «Enjoy it.»
And with that the people began to laugh and splash each other. For the first time as long as anyone could remember, there was enough water for everyone. After the celebration, the farmer announced his plan.
«I’ll bring some water in every morning so each of you can have what you need.» And that’s exactly what he did.
The farmer became the watermaster.
Every morning he loaded the buckets into his wagon, rode into town and gave some water to the people. It was a new day. The water was free. The farmer was willing, and the villagers were grateful. Until one night when the farmer had a dream. In the dream he saw the people taking the water and not being thankful. They would walk up to the wagon, snatch a bucket, and march away without a word of appreciation.
When he awoke, he was troubled. As he rode into town, he resolved to give the water only to the grateful. Before he allowed the people to take their buckets, he announced, «From now on, I will not give water to those who aren’t thankful.»
The people were surprised. Each person thanked him when he or she received the water. All was well until the farmer had another dream. In this dream, some of the people who were drinking the water were unkind to their neighbors and mean to their animals.
The next morning he was bothered again. He decided he would only give water to worthy individuals. «If you are mean to your animals or unkind to your neighbors, you will get no water,» he decreed. The people looked at each other and were silent.
They knew the bad people among them. When the watermaster saw the looks of distrust, he had an idea. «Each of you come and tell me who is unworthy so I will know who is mean and unkind.» So one by one, they came with their names, and he made a list.
The list grew and grew. Finally, after every villager had spoken, the farmer read the names. He was shocked.
Every person in the town was on the list except one. The farmer. So he stood on the wagon and announced that since few were grateful and none were worthy, he would bring no more water to the village.
And he turned his wagon of water around and went home.