Vol.XVI No.I Pg.6
March 1979

Gear Up To God's Word

Robert F. Turner

From "Wit and Wisdom of Safed the Sage," by William Barton, 1919.


I have a friend who is an Husbandman, and I visited him upon his Farm, and tarried with him one night. Upon his Farm are Cattle and Swine and Horses, and he watereth them from a Deep Well wherein is a Pump, and the Pump runneth by a Windmill. And it came to pass after Supper that he spake unto a farmhand, and he said, There is a Good Breeze tonight; start thou the Windmill.

And the man went forth into the night, and loosened a Rod that runneth up to the Mill, and that holdeth the Tail against the Wheel so that the Wind driveth it not. But when the Rod is loosened, then the Tail swingeth around, and the Wheel cometh into the Wind, and the Wheel turneth to Beat the Band. And ere the man had returned to the house we heard the Wheel running, and my friend said, On the morrow we shall have a Tank full of Water for the Livestock.

Now the room where I slept was on the side of the house toward the Windmill, and when I wakened in the night it was Running like the Wind, and I said, Verily it will pump the well dry at that rate. But when we went out in the morning, behold, there was no water. For the Pump had been Disconnected from the Mill, and in the darkness the farmhand saw not that the Connecting Pin was out; wherefore he connected it not. And the mill had run all night and the Tank was empty.

Now when I beheld this I thought of many men whom I know, whose Windmill goeth around continually, and who are always Creaking their Boots to show that they are Among Those Present, and who talk long about Earnestness and Efficiency and the Rest, but it Cutteth no Ice, and it Draweth no Water. Their minds are Responsive to the Winds of God, and their Capacity for doing something is as Excellent as that of the Pump; but between the Wheels that God driveth and the Pump of their own endeavor, there lacketh an adjustment.

And this is the word that I spake in the ears of men: Count it not a sure sign of efficiency that the Wheel goeth round and the Pump is in order; but be thou sure the Wheels of thy Head are hitched to the Pump of thy Performance.


In 1934, as a student in Freed-Hardeman College, bro N. B. Hardeman told this "Parable" in chapel. (I do not recall if he gave the source.) I do remember, however, the special slant he gave the "moral" — perhaps for the benefit of some Big Talking boys. He made the vigorous turning of the wheel to be the talk, talk, talk of the preacher boy — who had failed to connect his tongue to a sound and well-grounded knowledge of the Word of God. The glib of tongue may make a pretty sound, and promise much; but unless the coupling pin is connected, he will pump no living water of life.

There are few things worse than the sound of much pumping, when you are aware the coupling pin is missing.