Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Ten Pound Stone

Rabbi Wasach, a 17th century Jewish teacher tells a story of a young man who is sent to the family well to gather water. The boy was quite young, maybe ten or eleven and had never had to remove the cap from the well before. The young boy was very proud that his mother had given him the responsibility of going for the water, but upon arriving at the well he saw that the stone cap was in place.

He at first tried to heft the stone but it was far to heavy, he tried a fulcrum and many other ideas to move the stone, but they all failed. He sat by the well and cried, and finally in complete sorrow he returned to the house to tell his mother he could not bring water.

It seems like such a small thing, and quite understandable that a small boy could not remove a ten pound capstone, but the boy could not forgave himself, and in later years as a full grown man, he was never as strong as his friends, and never as confident as he should have been. All his life he carried that ten pound stone and it prevented him from ever really enjoying his life.

It makes me wonder how many stones I have carried around, how often I have failed and carried around the junk that that failure attached to my life? When I work with youth I see many such stones, tied around the necks of our teenagers. I see them drowning in this life because they do not understand that it is not their destiny to carry those stones.

Rabbi Wasach finishes his story this way; when the young boy had finished his schooling and had become a teacher of God’s ways he still could not rid himself of the stone. But one day, as he was taking his afternoon nap, a dream came to the young man.

He saw himself standing at the well, and then he saw the grave of his own mother.

Upon awakening from the dream, the young man was disturbed, but he felt that the dream was an answer to his problem. He got up from his bed and gathering some items, he traveled the ten miles back to the village where he had grown up. Upon arriving at his old home he walked to the well and there found the capstone, still in place.

He took the capstone and asking God for help he lifted it easily from its place. He took the well rope and drew out a pitcher of water. He took the water to his mother’s grave and there he left it. As he walked away he could feel the stone he had carried for so long drop away, and it never weighed upon him again.

The young man was Rabbi Wasach, and the lesson is one of immense spiritual truth. If a stone holds you down, face it and overcome it by asking God to help you carry it. The stone only holds us as long as we hold the stone.

“Come to me all of you who are tired and bear heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:30 NLV

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