What a Christian Can Learn from a Well Driller.

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By Rev. Christopher B. Cain

Growing up I always wanted to be a well driller. I come from a family that has a long history in the well drilling business. This year marks the 115th year of continual operation of our families business since my great-great grandfather James Watson and Henry Long started Watson Well Drilling in 1905. They built their own drilling machine for the then large sum of just over eight-hundred dollars. It was not very long until my great-great grandfather bought out his business partner who had moved out of the area. Since then the business has seen a lot of change, they have gone from a coal-fired boiler operated horse drawn rig to the first coal powered self driven machine in the area, to a gas powered truck mounted cable tool drill rig to the very best of rotary drilling machines. What used to take my great-grandfather Ellery, James’ son, almost a week to drill a well with the old style cable tool rig commonly referred to as a pounder rig, only took his son Lawrence a day to do with his first rotary machine. Lawrence’s sons, James “Jamie” and Oral Watson, took over as the fourth generation of drillers in our family and my Uncle Oral achieved his goal of drilling three wells in one day. Uncle Jamie now runs the family business with his nephew James, a fifth generation driller. Jamie achieved the deepest well I know of in our family’s history, a water well of just over eight-hundred and four feet, which is a deep well for anywhere but especially here in Northern Maine. It has been a blessing to see them work, to grow up visiting the job site just as many of my family did. It has even been a blessing to see some of my cousins who are now the sixth generation learn the business of well drilling.

Now, I shared the heritage of our family not just because I am proud of what they have done with a dream, hard work, ingenuity, and a good reputation, but to give you some basis for the parallels I am about to draw. I always thought I would be a well driller, always planned on it, and who knows what God might have for me. I thought it would not only be an awesome job, but a great way to serve God. First off, it would put you in contact with so many people to share the Gospel, and why not give them the water of life while at the same time drilling the best water wells around. I felt that one day I would like to go overseas and drill wells for those who do not have clean water and who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Surely someone in any culture understands the value and need for fresh water, especially those who have dirty water sources or carry water for miles in dangerous situations just to survive. Surely it would be a great parallel to draw between the need for fresh, clean water and the Water of Life which is Jesus Christ. It is easy to understand that we can drink a glass of water and quench our thirst in any language, that glass of water does not quench our thirst and supply the needs our body has for water forever though. We must continually drink to stay hydrated and to fill the needs that our body has. The thirst for water never goes away, we have a thirst for water our entire lives. It is much the same with the Living Water, our Lord Jesus Christ, in that we do have a need or thirst for God, but God satisfies us with Living Water in Christ that leaves us hungry for more of an encounter with Him but not lacking in any way. Jesus is better than even the purest and sweetest of waters. Christ quenched our thirst in such a way that no water can. He supplies all of our needs.

Just as drillers are only as good as the equipment they have, in that their maximum potential is unlocked when they have the best equipment for the job, so too are we Christians like drillers. Just like my great-great grandfather and great-grandfather took longer to drill a well then did the successive generations, so it can be harder to witness to someone if you are working with limited Scripture. The more experience you have drilling and the better your equipment the quicker and better you can drill the well. You may think there is not really a parallel here, but I assure you there is. I thought I would be drilling water wells, and maybe one day I will, but my true calling was always to drill deeper, not for oil but for the human heart. I am not really even called to be a driller in that sense because it is God who does the work, I am called to be one bit among many that He uses to break through to the human heart. The God whom we serve has been in the well drilling business longer than any driller, He is the first and last generation in the ultimate well drilling business. God has been digging through the overburden and removing the dirt from our lives, He has been fracturing the rock of the human heart since the very beginning. He does it with precision, intent, and purpose in a way that no man can. He fractured the rock through Moses and provided water in a dry and parched desert, and He will fracture the rock of your heart through Christ and pour out a well of Living Water in you that you cannot contain! This is why we must recognize that God is going to get the job done right everytime. He removes the junk from our life just like a driller removes all the dirt from above the ledge and then hammers through the rock to free the water.

A well driller reaches the rock, and thus the water, with a series of down hole tools called a drill string. The drill string in a rotary drill consists of drilling rods which support the down hole tools and carry the necessary air and water to run the rest of the tools and clear the chips from the hole, the pneumatic hammer which powers the bit to pound away at the rock to reveal the water. Christ does this by the power of His Word, through us and the testimony which Christ has in us. Ultimately His Spirit and the Word do the work of conviction, we are just a tool on the end of the greatest drill string ever put together. Every Scripture I can give you is, to me, likened to another drilling rod because some people have more overburden that must be removed before reaching their heart. God is skilled at removing all the overburden and junk in your life leaving nothing between you and Him, but you have to allow it. A driller can start a job but if you kick them off the property before the well is done it was not the driller who failed to drill the well, it was you who interrupted the work they are equipped to do. Do not think that just because you have some problems, some shame, guilt, or strongholds some overburden left that it is the drillers fault, keep letting the Master driller do His job, He does nothing half way and works until the job is done just right. The Holy Spirit is likened to the hammer, because it is the Spirit who convicts the heart of man. You and I have the honor and sacred duty of being the bit God chooses to do the work and attaches to the hammer. Just like a driller may switch between several bits to reach and ultimately break through the rock, so too God may use many of us to reach a person. No one Christian is the correct bit for every situation, no more than a driller uses only one bit for every well. Even the best of bits get worn, and has its limitations. You may wonder where God is in this comparison, I kind of already told you, who do you think is running the equipment? Jesus Christ is the Master Driller, and as I have said before He has been fracturing the rock of human hearts for generations upon generations. I cannot overstate this: Jesus is the Living Water and the Master Driller.

When Jesus encountered the woman at the well in John 4 He told her that He was the Living Water.

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10 KJV)

Jesus assured her, as He assures you and I, that He gives a kind of water that never leaves you thirsty as well water does.

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into” everlasting life. (John 4:14 KJV)

While I encourage you to read the entire encounter which she had with Christ, notice that this story demonstrates to the faithful of all ages that an encounter with Christ leaves you totally changed. I find it very interesting that she came to the well for water but was so effected and changed by the water of life that she left the jars of water, which once had been her life sustaining force because she encountered true life in Christ and could not contain it.

“The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:28-29 KJV)

As believers, we leave an encounter with Christ changed, just as the woman at the well, and our desire is to see others come to Christ just as it was her desire. We can do our part by sharpening ourselves with Scripture, just as a bit continually needs to be sharpened, you and I must allow the Master Driller to sharpen us with His Word. We can do our part to be the most effective witness, or bit, that we can be by allowing God to sharpen us through the reading of and reflecting on His Word. It is time to start drilling here in Maine, it is Spring and we have a short season. It is the same way Spiritually, it is time to get off the shelf and out of the tool box and let the Master Driller put us into action. People are hungry for God, they want answers right now, and the Living Water which is Jesus Christ is available today at a price no human driller can match — totally free.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17 KJV)

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