Oil Wells Everywhere
Along the highway on the way from my house to the church building, hundreds of oil wells stand stately in their places pumping gently, lifting with each stroke the beautiful black crude that is so necessary to our economy. In some of those miles you couldn’t find one with binoculars, but some areas are saturated with them. They are all over the place.
There is one particular spot in a field on the west side of the highway in a block of about eighty acres where there are fifty plus wells. I’ve always noticed them, but never stopped to count how many were there. This morning as I cruised by, I decided to count all I could without pulling off the road. Quickly I scanned the field. One, two, three… fifty, fifty one, fifty two, fifty three… and then I was gone. I still don’t know how many are there but I know there are more than fifty three. That’s a bunch. You would think that with that many wells, somebody must be a multi-billionaire. I doubt that! You see, these are shallow wells. While they might give the illusion of great wealth, the picture is deceptive because they are shallow wells. They were dug quickly, and compared to the giants that are around the area, they are nothing.
As you look across the field of these shallow wells you will quickly notice that only a few are actually pumping oil. They are all active wells and they still work, but they produce so little oil that operating all of them at once would destroy the oil field. These wells are operated in a sequence over a period of time. They will never run all at the same time. One pump will be turned off and another turned on. The reason is because they are shallow and there is not much that can be drawn from them. When you travel along and see wells like this, take notice of the size of the collection tanks and note how few and how small they are. Shallow wells produce oil alright, but they do not produce much. Actually, a great deal of the crude that is pumped from the ground has a large percentage of water in it. They are monitored often and when they are found to be unproductive, they are shut down and another takes its place.
On the other hand, the giants, those massive wells that were drilled deep in the earth, stand stately against the horizon lifting their treasure night and day. You will rarely see a deep well shut down. When they are deep they may produce for a lifetime or longer. It is possible to produce more oil from a single deep well than from a field full of shallow wells. Observe the tanks on a deep well and compare them to a field of those which are shallow. It is a real education.
In our Christian lives we far too often dig our wells shallow. We may produce a little, but it is usually a few spurts at a time. With our shallowness we run for a while and then rest while some other shallow pumper takes up the slack. We cannot go the distance. We cannot pump night and day, day in and day out, week after week, month after month and year after year. We will just run dry.
Occasionally we watch some in the Church who pump and pump and never seem to run dry and it is because they drilled deeply into the resources available. Their relationship to Christ is not one that is superficial and shallow. They sunk their roots deeply into the wealth of the love and mercy of God, pumping it to the surface for all the world to see. It is through the lives of this kind of people that Jesus is presented as rich and worthy. It is from these wells that a rich, thick crude comes that can be refined through living and experience to produce a product that is both beneficial and lasting.
Wells of shallow lives produce crude that is mixed and weakened by that which is worldly, while those that sink deeply in God produce materials that, when refined by life, produce rich and lasting goods.
Each well has a graph that meters its production. When observed by the well tender, a judgement is made whether to keep the well in production or to shut it down. Rarely do they shut down a well that is deep. If God were to begin reading our graphs, what would He find? Are we producing or will He just cap us off and take us out of production?
He does read the graph, you know.