It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. The farmer’s family had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.
Every day, the farmer and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If the farmers didn’t see some rain soon…they would lose everything. It was on this day that Mary, the farmer’s wife learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed a miracle.
Mary was in the kitchen making lunch for her husband and his brothers when she saw her six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn’t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. She could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort … trying to be as still as possible.
Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. Mary went back to making sandwiches thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walking carefully to the woods, running back to the house.
Finally Mary couldn’t wait any longer to find what was happening. She crept out of the house and followed him on his journey. She made sure not to be seen…as he was obviously doing important work and didn’t need his Mommy checking up on him.
He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them … maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. Mary sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose.
As Mary leaned in to spy on him, she saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. Mary almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him…he didn’t even move as Billy knelt down.
Then Mary saw a tiny fawn lying on the ground; obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in Billy’s hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and Mary hid behind a tree.
She followed him back to the house to a spigot to which the farmer had shut off the water. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift “cup,” as the sun beat down on his little back.
All became clear to Mary…the trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn’t ask his mother to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, Mary was there in front of him.
His little eyes just filled with tears. “I’m not wasting,” was all he said.
As he began his walk, she joined him…with a small pot of water from the kitchen. She let him tend to the fawn and stayed away. It was his job. She stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down her face began to hit the ground, other drops…and more drops…and more suddenly joined them. She looked up at the sky.
It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.
Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. Those miracles don’t really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. All that Mary had to say was that the rain that came that day saved their farm just like the actions of one little boy saved a life.