Monday, November 25, 2013

The Parable of the Oasis: Faith, Works, Grace, Love, Atonement, etc. Are Not Distinctly Separate Principles

The Parable of the Oasis

There was once a man dying of thirst in the desert. He had sought for water but had not found any. Just as he was about to give up, lie down and perish, someone found him.

“See here,” said his discoverer. “On the other side of this hill is an oasis, where you may revive and refresh yourself!”

“I fear I am too weak,” replied the man. “I have been out in the desert too long. I no longer have enough strength to climb the hill, even to save my life.”

“Then lean on me,” said the other, “and I will bring you over the hill to the fountains of water on the other side.”

Then man pulled himself to his feet, and leaning upon his guide, struggled over the hill to the oasis on the other side. There, he revived himself from the springs of clear water, and his life was saved.

What saved the man?


The words of his benefactor?

Following the counsel to cross to the other side of the hill?

His own effort in struggling to his feet and persevering in crossing the hill?

His continued reliance on the strength of his guide, moment by moment, leaning on him as they crossed the hill?

Or was it actually drinking the water?


Or was it all of the above, rolled into one great, eternal whole?  

We are inclined to separate principles into small pieces, dissecting things that should not be ripped into pieces.  "Grace" / "Atonement" is such a transcendent concept that fracturing it in order to analyze it and describe its component pieces literally can do great damage to the perfection (wholeness, completion, full development) it is.

I believe that if we collectively could grasp that grand principle, so much of that with which we struggle so mightily would fade into oblivion - and (wo)men really would be that they might have joy.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Absolutely beautiful parable. I love it. I may borrow it for the next time I teach on the atonement. Thanks for sharing!