When the Well Runs Dry

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

Ever feel like your well has run dry?  Sometimes when it’s my turn to write this week’s blog, I struggle with coming up with meaningful topics to write or share about. This phrase, when the well runs dry, keeps popping up in my mind as a metaphorical awareness of where my life is at the moment and so it deserves some reflection.

I like to do Google searches on phrases to get ideas beyond my own to see what emerges. Quotes, a book, and two films are attributed to this phrase.  Let’s look at each of these findings to see what bubbles up.

Perhaps some of you are aware that Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying “When the well is dry, we know the value of water.”  Another way of interpreting this saying is that you never know what you have until it is gone.  A twist on this phrase is the expression, “You’ll never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry” by W.C. Handy.  Both expressions are a wake-up call to take time to cherish the people in our lives who mean so much to us and to be mindful of what we do have because it could be gone tomorrow.

When we dig deep into the well of our being, we can see also whether we are a glass-half-empty person or half-full person.  We can ask ourselves whether we hold onto a pessimistic or optimistic worldview and we can try to shift our perspective if we find ourselves needing to move from the negative to the positive.

The Jesuit priest, Thomas H. Green, wrote a book on prayer that holds this phrase and is entitled When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings. It’s sitting on my bookshelf at home and this may be a good time for me to reflect on his words and to quench my thirst on the wellspring of prayer.

A movie and a documentary film also hold this phrase as its title. One is a 2018 movie about two brothers who struggle with their relationship after the loss of their mother. I suspect that one takeaway from the movie is an understanding of the difficulty we all have to appreciate what we have while we still have it. Turning to a pragmatic understanding of what happens when a well runs dry, is a half-hour documentary film, produced in 2015, that portrays “the vital connection that rural Kansans have with water” and “the ongoing threats [ranchers, farmers, and residents] face to the availability of the water they depend on.”  This environmental threat to our water resources adds another layer of meaning not to be forgotten when pondering the literal impact of a well running dry.

In Scripture, there are many references to callings, conversions, and healings that take place at a well or some reservoir of water. The story of the woman at the well illustrates not only her conversion but also the unconditional love Jesus extends to her. On the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calls Peter and other fishermen to follow him.  Both of these scriptural examples highlight the transformative power and healing nature of water and that when our well runs dry, God is there with us.

When discerning what to do in a particular situation or what life choice to make, we may find the well runs dry.  But, I think when we examine what is happening inside ourselves and listen to what thoughts and feelings are surfacing, we are being called to a deeper awareness of God’s workings in our lives and a deeper relationship with God.

Do you hear or feel God’s presence nudging you to dig deeper and to respond to a call to explore life as a religious sister?  If so, contact us and begin the journey to discovering a wellspring of possibilities.

Posted in God Calling??

One response to “When the Well Runs Dry

  1. Great! You did just fine considering you thought the well was “dry.” Sometimes we just need to “relax” and it will come to us. You did, it was good!

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