There once was a pond that lay in the middle of a forest. It was a large pond, one that had curves and inlets and hiding places. This pond had areas of fresh, flowing water but also areas where the water sat stagnant. Where the water sat stagnant, the area was foul and poisonous – deadly bacteria infested the water and animal carcasses lay half-submerged, covered with biting flies. There were whispers of alligators.
But if you were to endure the stench and explore the pond, you would notice that the pond had a current. And if you were to follow the current to the source, you would find that the pond was fed by a fresh, flowing spring. And you could cup your hands at the source, bring them to your mouth and drink this water, and drink and drink. You could build your house right there at the source and live there forever, and this water would provide for your needs.
Some people never found the source because they smelled the stench of the pond before they even saw it. Could you blame them? Others left because they were repulsed by the rotting carcasses or had been warned about the alligators. Could you blame them? Still others never came because they’d had loved ones die from the infested water. Could you blame them?
You could live in your little house that you built right there at the source and never emerge from the forest again. But the thing is, in that region there was a great drought, and there were many people searching for water, dying of thirst. Many came to the pond with great hopes but couldn’t find the water to drink or they drank stagnant water and left sick. You could let them do that. Or you could make a path in the forest, with signs pointing to the source. You could do that. Or you could make a canteen and fill it to the full, then go out into the dryness-land and tell people about the pond – about the dangers as well as about the fresh, flowing spring and how to safely arrive. You could do that.
© Meisaan Chan