The Catholic Parish of
Blessed John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

The Poisoned Well

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Many years ago in a far distant land, there lived two brothers James and John who lived on neighbouring farms and were good friends and always tried to help each other, until a dispute arose as to who owned an adjoining piece of land. Unable to settle the dispute between themselves, they took the matter to court. The court decided in favour of John, which left his
brother feeling very angry and bitter, so much so that he decided to seek revenge by poisoning John’s well. When John found out who was responsible he was incandescent with rage, that his own brother should do this to him and threaten his livelihood on the farm.
Talking to one of his neighbours, he vowed to do the same to his brother’s well, but the neighbour persuaded him that this would make the situation even worse and offered to help him clean the well out.

The next morning the two of them started with the work, it was a hard messy job which took them two full days to complete. Then they ran fresh water through the well several times until they were satisfied the water was pure again and his neighbour took a cup of water, drank it and declared that it was indeed clean once again. However, when John tasted the water from the well he thought that it tasted awful. His friend smiled and said that the water would never taste right until he had forgiven his brother, he said, ”We have successfully removed the poison from the well, but not from your heart. Only when you let go of all the bitterness and forgive your brother, will the water taste right again”

That evening John went over and made his peace with his brother James and when he later returned to his farm and tasted the water again, he found it was indeed pure and clean and tasted really good.

The moral to this story is that love is always more beautiful than bitterness and we all have a great gift of love to give, which we must never allow to be destroyed by anger and hatred. St Francis of Assisi put it this way, “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will find you are doing the impossible,”

“Live your life in a manner that never infringes on the happiness of anyone. We will be more understanding of the needs of others, when we are able to care for our own needs.”



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