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WELLS OF UNDERSTANDING

From the September 1922 issue of The Christian Science Journal


There is no human heart but yearns to know of spiritual good. The plea of the woman of Samaria, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw," has been heard down the centuries. Mankind had come often, and a long way, to draw at the well, but there had been no quenching of the thirst to know; for material sense has no real quality whereby spiritual good is discerned. At length the plea found its full measure of divine content in the clear depths of spiritual truth, presented to this age in the discovery of Christian Science.

The story of the well—a symbol of knowledge—is of exceeding interest in Bible narrative. Its recurrence in the journeyings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob unquestionably presents it as states of thought, through which each individual passes as he seeks to know more about God, and strives to reflect what he understands. The regeneration of human thought is a process during which each must dig his own wells; and, if the strife of evil beliefs for conquest of these wells permits no resting beside them until the journey's end, we, having the faithfulness of Abraham as our example, will sometime know the peace of that understanding which brought to him abundant room and fruitfulness in the land.

Evidence of our knowledge of good best appears when charity and justice give freely of the waters of life, even to those who seek to destroy our wells. So, to have reached Beersheba in our mental journey is to understand the spirit of fellowship, and the well of brotherly love beside which Abraham and Abimelech entered into a mutual agreement for fair dealing that was designed to bless their descendants also. It was an eternal compact of love for all mankind. "Seven ewe lambs" typified the first fruits of the Spirit, and represented a perfect expression of Mind, a full offering of unselfed love by which the covenant was sealed. Thereafter, Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines "many days."

Daily experience interprets these incidents with much profit to the student of Christian Science; for he discovers their treasure as he uses the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mrs. Eddy, and through it comprehends the spiritual import of the word that is to be his guide to Life eternal. To some, the story of the wells may have served as a corrective of unprofitable experience; to others, it may prove a preventive of much un-happiness; for all at some time come by way of the wells into a diviner sense of the allness of good, and the understanding of the illusive nature of a belief in evil. Abraham's journey is common to us all, when faith guides thought in a direction that seems "nearest right under the circumstances" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 288), in which the steps taken have opened for us wells of wisdom and love. Then, perhaps, doubtful argument and human opinion, like wandering, warring tribes of Philistines, stop up those wells with earth. The temptation to regard understanding as a personal possession hides the divine idea for a season. Material sense finds no satisfaction in spiritual good, and would have us believe that the waters of inspiration are dried up and gone.

God is infinite in resource, however; and when the wells need to be opened, He reveals the right idea to accomplish His purpose. And so the child of promise, the spiritual representative of Love, appears like Isaac to dig again, according to a higher plan, our wells of understanding. For now we have learned to subdue the contentious belief of a self apart from God, and to vanquish evil suggestion by a truer comprehension of divine selfhood.

The Samaritan woman had come as far as Jacob's well, which of all the wells was the deepest and most significant. Jacob had reached high attainments in self-discipline. The stone of hard experience upon which he had rested did not deter the heavenly intuitions, or angels, from lifting him into a conscious sense of the divine presence. On the day that Jesus met the woman at this well, human thought had risen to even a higher sense of God's nearness,—her divine intuition having glimpsed the Christ as the "divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error," as Mrs. Eddy defines it on page 583 of Science and Health.

This understanding of the Christ came to Mrs. Eddy first in physical healing. She tells her story of the meeting at the well, when she says, "The first spontaneous motion of Truth and Love, acting through Christian Science on my roused consciousness, banished at once and forever the fundamental error of faith in things material" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 31). Her abandonment of an injured sense of self was as natural and spontaneous as was the uncovering and relinquishment of sin in the woman of Samaria. The heart purified of sense and self has within it the well of water which Jesus offered; and, because it is a well of living water springing up eternally, it soon overflows in compassionate love to all mankind. Hastening to share the vision of the Christ heals any reluctant parting with the appetites of the flesh.

To be ever conscious of the inspiration of Truth is to possess the constant joy of knowing. It is to be free from human cravings; to walk but never be weary; and to drink without bitterness or sorrowful regret. The prayer without ceasing is a continual drawing at the well, which brings an ever increasing sense of the Father's loving-kindness, and an abiding affection for His dear children everywhere. "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink," will always be the rebuke to the stranger at the well, until spiritual sense enables us to see the Master's vision. Then, leaving the waterpot of selfish desire unfilled, we are conscious only of the love that turns us toward the city and would bid all men, "Come and see."

Through the discovery of Christian Science the beloved student knows what Jesus knew,—that Christ is always here; and this understanding of God's ever-presence, manifested in divine sonship, is the Savior of the world,—the Comforter for all time. To have that same Mind which was in Christ Jesus is to know God as Mind. This is the well of understanding to which all must journey; for, to be whole, each individual must find its healing waters within the Christ-understanding. Every Christian Science service, every silent prayer or Christian Science treatment, is a meeting at the well where we may know God aright; and to know Him aright is eternal Life.

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