This is not a bible study lesson, but in Genesis 26:22, it states, "There, he (Isaac) dug a well." That was a long time ago, so apparently, wells have been around since antiquity.
Since our rural house didn't have a well on its property, a well somewhere close by was a necessity. Without a well, there would have been no way for our family to have water for bathing, cooking, cleaning, watering animals and pets, and for me to pour over my freshly-cut daffodils. Fortunately, though, it rains so much in Southwestern Arkansas that we seldom had to worry about the grass and fields drying out, so we didn’t need water for that.
Most houses had their own well, but unfortunately, we never lived in a house that did. On the Patmos property, there was a defunct well. The original owners had it dug and kept it in usable condition until they moved. By the time we rented their house, the well was in such disrepair that it had caved in. It was so “gone” that it didn't even have a top over it, and it stayed like that until we moved. Since it wasn't our property, my dad was not obligated to have it cleaned out to make it operable.
Though we didn't have our own private well, luckily, we could use the school's well, so we always had access to water. The well was less than a quarter of a mile away, and we toted drinking and cooking water from it. Someone kept it cleaned out with a good bucket and a strong, sturdy rope for drawing the water up. Back then, wells were used communally. Had that not been the case, I don’t know where we would have gotten water. You can only bother your neighbors for so long before becoming a nuisance.
In later years when we moved up a notch, we got water from a mechanical pump. We still had to tote it home, but the retrieving process was so much easier than pulling up buckets of water from a 100-feet deep well.
Wells are expensive to drill, and my family had one dug only after we built a house on the parcel of land that we owned. Hardly anyone would drill a well on someone else's property, especially on a plot that they are only renting. That’s because, unlike personal property, when renters move, they can’t pick up a well and take it with them.
I was just grateful that our water source was not a mile away. I just can't imagine toting water from any further away than we had to tote it. I do know that today, in some parts of the world women walk for hours in search of clean drinking water. That’s difficult to imagine, and when I think about it, I say, "Thank God for a well."
Photo by Fotolia/dmitrimaruta
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