Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Fable of the Bowl, the Jugs and the Well

Searching online [as you do] for an interesting titbit to digest on my holidays, I stumbled upon a fable.

I thought that I would share it with you, as its meaning seems to be shrouded and very subjective. Let me know how you get along.

The Fable of the Bowl, the Jugs and the Well

Among the fertile earthy grounds of a much loved rustic cottage, there lived a well. It's weathered but well pointed stone walls stood solid. Carrying aloft a slate tiled roof; he proudly served all those who gathered water from deep within its heart.
The well accepted the empty pales with glee, filling them with just enough water so that the thirsty could retrieve them with ease. No one knew how deep the well was. No one thought to check. The well did not pick whose pale would be filled to drink its water. It was not his place to decide. He just gave, and gave when asked.
The cottage owners were always very thankful for the clean, fresh water and their healthy crops too. So much gratitude did they have, that they shared their wealth with anyone who needed it. At the end of each seasonal harvest they would invite all their family and more besides to enjoy in a stupendous supper with them.
A sturdy dining table would be dragged in from the storage shed and topped with colourful fruit and vegetables of all shapes and sizes. Fire warmed plates; cutlery and tankards greedily accepted the bounty; as each guest had their fill. At the very centre of table stood the main event; a centre piece. A lovingly sculpted and beautifully decorated bowl, slender yet wagon wheel in size nestled sisterly between two tall and very heavy earthenware jugs.
The bowls gaping chamber; as always was brimming with the sweetest most succulent of the bountiful spread. A mixture of last harvests dried and pickled fruit draped in layers, overflowing onto the table. Miniature feeding hands picked at the spilled contents, keeping the table free from clutter.
At the end of the great supper, when all the food had been eaten and the guests departed, candles were extinguished. The hosts turned in for the night, and the cottage finally fell silent.
Then a whisper from the darkness was heard. In amongst the discarded apple cores and carrot stems on the table, one of the earthenware jugs breathed a sigh of relief. 
"We are alone once again, but not for long." said the water jug.
"Yes tomorrow is another day but I do love a harvest feast!" replied the wine jug. The remainder of her contents sloshed around inside as she slid across the table. Gleefully she exclaimed "We surly are most important to our guests. Let us say our thanks for that fact!"
A chink and a wobble were heard from behind the water jug "Ahem!" The centre piece bowl cleared her throat as she emerged upon the table in the moonlit impression of the kitchen window beyond.
"Sisters, yes you are very important, on this we can agree. I looked upon you as you were passed from hand to hand, filling each guests tankards with life giving water and wine for good cheer. Your benefit to them was unequivocal.", "I saw the head of our table fill your empty chambers and from that moment on you were charged, never to be empty again. As you stand in front of me now, you are ready to give. I bow in respect.", "but... heed my warning. You are chosen jugs. One marked water, the other wine. You have a purpose to serve on this table and this must never be taken for granted or forgotten."
"Please bowl, we did not mean to show you any disrespect" The wine jug remarked.
"Yes, you too are of great importance! Your brim is so wide and inviting, that it is rivalled by none other!" The bowl bowed.
"We are humbled by the artistry in which you share your bounty. At the very centre of attention, your alluring beauty is enjoyed by all. What makes us sad is that you are refilled only but once per meal, and then left empty by those who benefit from your generosity; the ones who once loved you for your fullness. How do you live for such an existence?"
The bowl rattled irritably  and leaned forward to answer "Do not be sad for me. Indeed I am emptied, but then I am renewed with fresh gifts for all. My offerings will never age - my purpose is clear to me. I am by design to give all of myself without question.", The bowl rotated towards the jugs, leaning heavily to one side "If my benefactors pick too frequently from one side of my chamber, I will become unstable. I may even topple, BUT then I will tip towards those who have not been so fortunate to enjoy my contents. I am balance and I exist to empty myself so that others may enjoy and replenish."
Silence once again fell across the room. Both the wine and water jug turned to one another and then back to the bowl. Sullen and respectful in tone, the wine jug spoke.
"Bowl, we cannot do what you do. We hide the last of our contents deep within our flat, round heavy bottoms. We are difficult to knock down and we strive to hold onto what's inside. Then when we are almost empty, and plucked from the table; for generations now, we have witnessed our patrons faces up close. Upon the realisation that they own the 'final refill'.. AHA! Oh the delight!. Then, instead of being selfishly poured into one man's tankard; we are offered and shared further! Our lives are happiness in servitude, but we will always save the best water or wine for last."
"Even if you are forgotten, and your contents are allowed to turn green and sour?" queried the bowl.
"Yes, Bowl", said the wine jug "an empty jug is a jug without purpose..." thoughtfully sounded the water jug.
The bowl cast a glance to the kitchen window and the garden beyond "It is good to have a purpose in life and we have much to be thankful for. Yet we think not of those who give us this purpose. The Source, our well"
"THE SOURCE?!" shrieked the wine jug. "Be careful! Do not speak of the Source unless you wish to provoke his wrath!" followed the water jug. 
"I was born from the same fire as you both, and we have enjoyed many a plentiful celebration together. Yet you both forget the times when the harvests were not so good...we must make our peace with the well".
"We do not idly forget. It's just that we are afraid of the Source", the water jug pursed her spout "Where does the Source find its power? What if the Source chooses not to share with us? Where else shall we look if this is to be our fate?"
The wine jug sloshed so hard that she spilled a pool of rich red wine onto the bare wooden table top. "We fear the power he has over us, and the darkness of the well!", "Some say that he covets his fresh cool water, so much so that he lets only those who he respects, and make sacrifices to him have their fill of it. Men and women do not trust his motives. The well hides his plans in a shroud of blackness." rattled the water jug.
"Yes, I too have heard those suspicious whisperings and even jealousy of the well's powers over us all. How does he keep his secrets stored so tightly within the crevices of his dark walls, which reach down into the deep, where no man or woman can see?" The bowl paused and signed, "No, we make our 'peace' with the Source when we accept that he will open his heart to those who ask of it. We must trust that one so full of life, so generous with his gift will openly give it without prejudice." The bowl catches the gazes of both the wine and the water jug. "He demands no sacrifice, nor does he begrudge those who do not yet understand his generosity. All he asks is that he is not plundered beyond his capacity, so he is free to give to everyone"
"A noble effort indeed." said the water jug. 
"I see now," replied the wine jug "all of us are very different by design, as life has intended. There should be no competition here or mistrust to poison our offerings to one another", "Trust in our purpose and that of others is the grand adventure we all must embark upon one day."
As clouds pass the moon by, from the garden, the kitchen windows glint like a winking eye. The well was never comfortable with the name 'the Source' which was given to him many years ago. In truth, it was because he knows that he is not the source. Long ago he realised that just like the jugs and the bowl, he has his purpose and this is to direct attention towards live giving water and pass this gift onto those who most need it.
The sustenance he brings, he believed, was by design and not ordained to him by another undiscovered greater truth... or was it?

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