Driving up from Beersheba, a combined force of British, Australians and New Zealanders
were pressing on the rear of the Turkish retreat over arid desert. The attack outdistanced
its water carrying camel train. Water bottles were empty. The sun blazed pitilessly out of
a sky where the vultures wheeled expectantly.
"Our heads ached," writes Gilbert,
"and our eyes became bloodshot and dim in the blinding glare...Our tongues began to
swell...Our lips turned a purplish black and burst." Those who dropped out of the
column were never seen again, but the desperate force battled on to Sheria. There were
wells at Sheria, and had they been unable to take the place by nightfall, thousands were
doomed to die of thirst. "We fought that day," writes Gilbert, "as men
fight for their lives... We entered Sheria station on the heels of the retreating Turks.
The first objects which met our view were the great stone cisterns full of cold, clear,
drinking water. In the still night air the sound of water running into the tanks could be
distinctly heard, maddening in its nearness; yet not a man murmured when orders were given
for the battalions to fall in, two deep, facing the cisterns."
He then describes the
stern priorities: the wounded, those on guard duty, then company by company. It took four
hours before the last man had his drink of water, and in all that time they had been
standing twenty feet from a low stone wall on the other side of which were thousands of
gallons of water.
From an account of the British liberation of Palestine by Major V.
Gilbert in The Last Crusade, quoted in Christ's Call To Discipleship,
J.M. Boice, Moody,
1986, p. 143.
There's a story about a proud young man who came to Socrates asking for knowledge. He
walked up to the muscular philosopher and said, "O great Socrates, I come to you for
knowledge." Socrates recognized a pompous numbskull when he saw one. He led the young
man through the streets, to the sea, and chest deep into water. Then he asked, "What
do you want?" "Knowledge, O wise Socrates," said the young man with a
Socrates put his strong hands on the man's shoulders and pushed him under. Thirty
seconds later Socrates let him up. "What do you want?" he asked again.
"Wisdom," the young man sputtered, "O great and wise Socrates."
Socrates crunched him under again. Thirty seconds passed, thirty-five. Forty. Socrates let
him up. The man was gasping. "What do you want, young man?" Between heavy,
heaving breaths the fellow wheezed, "Knowledge, O wise and wonderful..."
Socrates jammed him under again Forty seconds passed. Fifty. "What do you want?"
"Air!" he screeched. "I need air!"
"When you want knowledge as
you have just wanted air, then you will have knowledge."
M. Littleton in Moody Monthly, June, 1989, p. 29.
J.S. Bach's first biographer, Forkel, tells that young Johann Sebastian discovered that
his brother had in his music cabinet a special book of compositions by some of the more
established composers of that day, such as Pachelbel, Froberger, Bohm, and
wanted to borrow the book, but for some reason his brother refused. Perhaps brother Johann
Christoph was reserving those pieces for his own study or performances and didn't want the
talented youngster in his home to perfect the works first. Johann Sebastian clearly
coveted his brother's book, however, and in the middle of the night, when everyone else in
the house was asleep, he crept down to sneak the anthology from the cabinet. He took it to
his room and began to copy it by moonlight! It took him six months. Johann Christoph found
out about it...and promptly impounded the copied volume. Johann Sebastian did not get the
book back until his brother died almost a quarter-century later.
In the Antarctic summer of 1908-9, Sir Ernest Shackleton and three companions attempted
to travel to the South Pole from their winter quarters. They set off with four ponies to
help carry the load. Weeks later, their ponies dead, rations all but exhausted, they
turned back toward their base, their goal not accomplished. Altogether, they trekked 127
days. On the return journey, as Shackleton records in The Heart of the Antarctic,
the time was spent talking about food -- elaborate feasts, gourmet delights, sumptuous
menus. As they staggered along, suffering from dysentery, not knowing whether they would
survive, every waking hour was occupied with thoughts of eating. Jesus, who also knew the
ravages of food deprivation, said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness." We can understand Shackleton's obsession with food, which offers a
glimpse of the passion Jesus intends for our quest for righteousness.
STATISTICS AND STUFF
C.S. Lewis gave us the following insight: Our Lord finds our desires not too strong,
but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and
ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on
making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a
holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Editor, The Agony of Deceit, 1990, Moody Press, p. 49.
Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try
desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of
the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly
found only and completely in him.
Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine.
I've learned that if you give a pig and a boy everything they want, you'll get a good
pig and a bad boy. (age 77)
from Live and Learn and Pass it On, Jackson Brown, Jr.