Saturday August 3 – Legend of El Potrero Well

Have you ever had that experience where a story takes a life of its own? It can start with a simple statement and gets more dramatic after each telling until it reaches legend status. This is what happened as we discussed throughout the week, our plans for today’s well. From the day we landed, we were warned that there was one well that was going to be particularly difficult because it was not accessible by car. The job would not be a simple well repair because we would need to hike to the site with all our tools and well-parts. And this hike wasn’t going to be a short one. There were stories like it would be a 20 minute hike or it was so far that the local community was going to bring hoses to help us carry the equipment or it won’t be that bad because a 12 year old could run that distance in 15 minutes (I wasn’t sure if that last comment was to ease our fears because there were no 12 year olds on our team).

Today was the day we faced the Legend of El Potrero Well. Did this well rehab live up to its reputation? It wasn’t a good start to the day. The promises of horses to help carry tools and supplies never came to be. A big thunderstorm came through the area last night and scared the horses away. Because of that, the community was unable to round them up to assist us. Last night’s rain also meant hiking would be more difficult because the ground was going to be muddy. Where the path wasn’t muddy, we expected it to be rocky and hilly. It was also sunny and hot. It was beginning to look like the day that we’ve been dreading. But something special happened. The community met us when we arrived. They didn’t just meet us but when it came time to take the tools and well-parts off the truck for our trek into the woods, the young and old men of the community were at the front of the line to carry whatever we needed. Suddenly, our team of 11 was a team of 20. It’s like the Avengers in Endgame (spoiler alert) when in the final battle, it looked like they were going to fall to defeat to Thanos but then Thor, Groot and Rocket showed up to give them extra help. The hike was still long (2.7km) and many of us were tired and overheated afterwards but it wasn’t as bad as we feared because of those helping hands. The actual well repair was the side story. We were successful in repairing this well that serviced a community of 10 houses (approximately 50 people). Not only did the men of the community help us but during the whole well repair, we were surrounded by the men, women and children of the community who came out to show their gratitude for our work.

Today’s well experience could be seen as a metaphor for our life in Christ. No one said the journey would be easy when you accept Jesus in your life. You will face challenges that you imagine are impossible to overcome. Even when you accept these challenges and face them down, you can still be worn down and tired. But just as the community came out to help carry the load and to support our work, God is there to lessen your burdens as you strive to live for Him and in the end, the reward will remind you that the journey was worth it.

Tom Wong


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