Volume XX, Number 33 (Issue 985) August 15, 2022
Go to the Source
A tale is told of a couple enjoying a quiet picnic by the banks of a mountain stream as the first signs of fall appear. Suddenly, their picnic is interrupted by the sounds of a small child screaming for help. Looking around, they spot a young boy thrashing about in the stream as he struggles to keep his head above water. In an instant they both rush into the chilly water to reach the child before he drowns. Fighting against the current, they soon reach the boy and bring him safely to shore. A bit winded but filled with adrenaline, they begin to catch their breath when another child’s screams pierce the air. Looking towards the stream once again, they see a young girl being carried away. So once again the duo plunges into the water. No sooner have they saved the second child when another child’s screams are heard. Into the stream they go for a third time. This pattern repeats for several more minutes and several more children until our couple is completely exhausted. Laying there cold and wet, they are nonetheless exhilarated over what they have done when suddenly another child’s screams are heard. Weary but determined, they arise from the bank one more time. But this time as the man heads into the water, his companion begins running up stream along the bank. Puzzled by this behavior he shouts, “Where are you going?” to which comes the reply, “You can handle this. I’m headed upstream to find out who is putting these children in the water and why.”
The moral to this story? Much of the time the best way to address a problem is to go to the source rather than simply attack the symptoms.
It is possible you have encountered a version of this parable before for it seems to be making the rounds. In my case I’ve come across it both in my readings and as I listened to a friend weave this lesson into his remarks at a convocation event for a local school district. Regardless of whether this is your first or tenth reading, the thing to keep in mind is that events, good and bad, rarely involve spontaneous ignition. Something or someone puts things in motion. Yet much of the time we become so preoccupied with the immediate need that we fail to consider the flashpoint. The problem with treating the symptoms and nothing more is that the symptoms are apt to return – only more intense and pernicious the second time around. Granted, getting to the source tends to take more time, but it is usually worth it if it prevents a reoccurrence.
Soli Deo Gloria
“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions.” Ezra 8:21
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