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Hartselle Enquirer
A. Ray Lee ss

Living water

A. Ray Lee

Columnist

The farmhouses of my youth did not get water from a utility service, but relied upon a well, spring, or sometimes a cistern to provide it. Often before the houses had been built a dowser had been contacted to work his magic in determining a spot where a well could be dug or drilled with the likelihood of finding an underground stream sufficient to provide a supply of clear water to meet the needs of the farm.

Water was as essential as a hoe or the right piece of equipment to till the soil. During the heat of the summer before the mules and horses were hitched to the plough in the morning they were led to a watering trough to drink their fill. At noon they were unhitched from the plough and visited the trough to quench the thirst that had been building all morning. After a brief period of rest in which they ate a few ears of corn, they were led again by the trough to fortify themselves against the heat and labor of a long afternoon.

About sunset, they were unharnessed and allowed to drink before rolling their sweat-soaked bodies for relief in the dust of the barn lot. Then they were fed and bedded down for the night in a stall. As a young boy, I was responsible for seeing that the watering trough was always full of fresh water. From the hand pump at the well a pipe was run some distance to the point of need. I spent much time each day wrestling with the handle of that pump to force water through the pipe.

Men and women who worked in the fields chopping and picking cotton needed water in a timely fashion. There were no thermal containers to supply a ready drink for them. My job included carrying water several times a day in a large mouth glass jug. If I were slow in coming I could hear the imploring calls of “water, water, water.”

Farm workers never heard the word “dehydration” but knew the dangers of becoming dizzy and weak from the heat. At such times a shady spot was found until the symptoms passed. Sometimes they were forced to leave the field for an afternoon knowing that too much heat could cause the body extreme distress. Although they knew that “sunstroke” was always a danger they were not overly concerned about it.

Unfortunately, I came to understand its seriousness of it many years later as I became dehydrated after an extended period of personal neglect while being a full-time caregiver. As a result, I spent five days and nights in a hospital, receiving critical fluids to restore strength, followed by several weeks of therapy.

There are steps one can take to remain hydrated. You have read about them and many of you follow the medical advice given. The intake of adequate water is at the center of suggested preventive measures.

There is another kind of water needed by all. In John chapter four Jesus, while talking to a spiritually dehydrated woman at Jacob’s well, promised to give her living water that would spring up in her quenching her thirst. He said, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing into everlasting life.” (John 4:13, 14)

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