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There’s a wonderful little legend about a man who was lost and wandering in the desert, dying of thirst. As he wandered in that terribly hot desert, he stumbled upon a ramshackle, dilapidated shack. There wasn’t much to it, but, at least, it would provide a little bit of shade and respite for him. So he stumbled into that shack and was enjoying the shade for a moment.


He was looking around when he noticed about fifteen feet away from him a rickety, rusty old pump. His eyes brightened, and he thought, "I wonder." He staggered over to the pump and grabbed hold of the handle. He began to work that pump up and down, but nothing came out. He fell back to the ground, and as he fell, his hand landed on something. He looked over and saw it was an old jug covered with dirt and filth. He took the jug, and it felt like there was something in it ... sand, for all he knew. He began to wipe off what appeared to be a label or a note. He brushed away the dirt and began to make it out. It said: "You have to prime the pump with all the water in the jug. P.S. Be sure to fill the jug again before you leave."


Wow! Suddenly, he was faced with this life-or-death decision. I mean, here’s the sure thing. Here’s a jug with some water. At least, if he drank that, he could live a little while longer. But if, indeed, it was true, he would have access to flowing, fresh, cool water ... as much as he could possibly want.



He pondered that decision for a few moments. Could he really trust that set of instructions that was no telling how old? He decided to go for it. He popped the cork. Sure enough, it was almost full of water. He walked over to the pump, poured it all into the pump, and grabbed hold of the handle. He began to work that pump again ... squeak, squeak, squeak. Nothing came out. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Suddenly, there appeared a trickle of water. Squeak, squeak, squeak. It grew into a larger stream of water. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Suddenly, it was gushing all the cool, flowing, wonderful water he could possibly want.


He filled the jug and drank it. He filled it and drank it again. He was marvelously refreshed. Then he remembered the note. He filled the jug again, put the cork back in place, and added his own little note to it: "Believe me, it really works. You have to give it all away to get it back."