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Summary: Print this for young believers

an allegory

by Clark E. Tanner

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a woman who lived in the forest. She was not far from a town, where she would occasionally go to buy staples for her kitchen and other items not available to her in the wild. For the most part though, she stayed to herself, choosing to live her own life, meet her own needs and enjoy her uninterrupted solitude.

In her younger years she had been hurt both physically and emotionally by other people, and as a result she had put up walls of stone and doors of solid oak that only opened from the inside, to protect herself. (Proverbs 13:12a)

The woman, like all of us, would occasionally grow lonely, and her solace during these times was found in the movie theater in town. She would go there and sit in the back row, watching the male actors on screen, then go home and for days after, dream of romantic interludes with these stars. Of course, they weren’t real; they were movie idols. But they were all she had. (Isaiah 40:18-20)

One day the woman was near her woodland cabin, attempting to repair the bucket that brought water from a well she had dug for herself. (Rom 2:5) It was a very deep and dark well. To fall into that well would mean certain death.

The bucket had been attached to the well rope by a chain which had only ten links, but since the rope was worn she could see that she would have to replace it, and that is what she was endeavoring to do when she slipped. As she fell forward, a cry of despair escaping her lips, she clung to the short chain and her fall stopped.

At first she tried to climb to safety by the short chain, but as she struggled she looked up and with horror, noticed that a frayed section of the rope holding the chain was unraveling under her weight. (Rom 8:3a) She knew it was only a matter of time, and she would be set free to tumble into the abyss below her.

Suddenly a shadow was cast over the mouth of the well above her. She heard a voice say, “Stop struggling, (Psalm 46:10) you will only make it worse. Trust me and I will lift you out.” (Proverbs 3:5)

A strong hand reached toward her, and she noticed that her savior had deliberately wrapped the chain around his wrist several times first. After the hand had firmly gripped her forearm the voice told her to let go of the chain and trust him only. (Romans 10:5) When she did so and her weight dropped, the chain wrapped so tightly around the man’s wrist that it cut deeply into his flesh. (Romans 8:3,4)

Nevertheless, he brought her up out of the pit (Psalm 40:2) with his own blood flowing down her arms and dripping into the well. Once she was standing on the solid rock that surrounded the well she could see that the man was not really tall, and not especially handsome. (Isaiah 53:2) but he smiled at her with kind eyes and with a love that came from deep within him, and as she smiled back she felt something she had not felt for a long time, and never this strongly. It was gratitude and affection and a desire for fellowship.

The man and woman were married shortly thereafter, in a small chapel in the town. The townspeople were there to witness her newly found happiness.

After they returned home however, the woman quickly forgot the fear of the dark well and she forgot the pain this man had suffered to rescue her. She spent her days going about planting her own garden and repairing her own fences and very much living life the way she had before he came along.

The man spent his days not far away, building a beautiful mansion for her, having promised that when he was done he would take her there where they would live happily ever after. (John 14:2,3)

In the evenings though, when work was done and there was ample time for sweet fellowship, she would read a book or mend a garment or sit in the twilight hours and stare proudly at her garden, paying little or no attention to the man.

Every once in a while she would hear him say something to her, but over time she ignored him so often, that much of what he said would go entirely unnoticed, as though he hadn’t spoken at all. (Jeremiah 33:2,3 Hebrews 2:1-3a)

Occasionally during the day he would come along and offer to help her with something she was doing, but although she did not outwardly reject his offer, she would turn away or continue doing it her own way, seemingly oblivious to his presence. When her precious garden failed to produce vegetables and when her flowers wilted from lack of nourishment in the soil, she was angry and discouraged. Only then did she turn to him, but not for help as much as to ask why these things happened. The man did not answer these questions, for he felt that since she did not listen when he offered help, she would most certainly not listen while he explained why she failed. (Proverbs 28:9, Isaiah 48:18)

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Charles Scott

commented on May 3, 2007

Thank you for this imaginative and well done summary of salvation history. Charles Scott http://www.goodshepherdindy.org

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