The Old Windmill
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).
A fellow who grew up on a ranch in West Texas tells about a rickety, old windmill that stood alongside their barn and pumped water to their place. It was the only source of water for miles.
Trouble was the windmill was balky; it had a squeaky gearbox and worn–out bearings. In a strong wind it worked well, but in a light breeze it wouldn’t turn into the wind. So, his father would climb up a long ladder on the side of the tower and manually turn the tail of the windmill until the fan faced directly into the wind. Properly positioned, the slightest breeze enabled the windmill to do its work and supply water to the ranch and its stock.
I think of that story when I meet with pastors here in Idaho, most of whom are in small churches in remote communities. Many find themselves increasingly tired and dispirited, not so much because the work is hard or the successes slight, but because they feel isolated, unsupported, and left alone—caregivers for whom no one seems to care. As a consequence they get weary and sad, and find themselves struggling every day to bring life–giving water to their flock.
I like to tell them about the old windmill, and our need to daily re–position ourselves: to intentionally turn toward the Lord and his word, to taste His goodness, to drink deeply from him who is the only source of living water. Then ministry begins to flow from within, outward.
I like the way Evelyn Underhill puts it, “The object of our life toward God…is to make us able to do this work.”