We get water at our house from an underground well. A few weeks ago our water pump started to come on every five minutes when we were not using water. Our plumber suspected that there was a problem with the water tank. He came out to the house at the end of last week and replaced the tank. Whilst at the house he decided that the foot valve had gone on at the end of the pipe in the well. The foot valve basically stops water from running back into the well once it has been drawn up by the pump (at least that’s how I think he described it!). He said that in order to replace it we need to dig the well up. There are two problems with this. One, it’s winter, the ground is frozen and there is a lot of snow on top of it. Second problem, no plan came with our house, we had no idea where the well was located! Anyway, the plumber was confident that we could leave the foot valve until spring, so that we could dig up the ground rather than hire a pricey digger. Problem solved for the time being ……. so we thought.
Let’s roll forward to Tuesday morning. We woke up to find no water in the house. We call the plumber who instructs us to pour water into the top of the pump and once it is full it should kick start the system. Our neighbor kindly said that we could get water from her home, so we washed, collected some drinking water etc. and then started the run to and from her house to fill our pump up. Seven or eight trips later we realise this is not working. By this time it is almost lunch time. We call the plumber again who says that it sounds like the foot valve has totally gone. The well will have to be dug up. Argh! The land is frozen, we didn’t know where the well was, we had to call a digger in. Our neighbor gave us the name of a guy she knows who has a digger. We call him on the off chance that he can slot us in. He can, so he arranges to come by at 3pm and dig, as the plumber could get to us for 3.30pm. When you dig a well up in the winter, the plumber has to be pretty quick or your pipes will freeze.
Now, God is moving in this story, the first sign for us is the digger. The guy shows up and announces that he knows exactly where our well is, he dug it up some years back! Thank you Lord! He digs, the well appears and he charges us less than usual because he knew where it was and didn’t have to spend time hunting around. Very nice man! The plumber, however, doesn’t show until 5pm, it is almost dark, but we are hopeful for water. The well is opened up and the pipes are pulled out. Suddenly water starts spraying out and the problem becomes apparent. It is the injector that needs replacing, not the foot valve. Slight problem, the plumber doesn’t have one of those in his van and the plumbing store has now closed for the night. Second moment of God intervening, the temperature overnight went up to plus 8c. Generally, that is unheard of this time of the year, it is usually minus 20c or so overnight.
The following morning the pipes are not frozen! At this point we are getting used to not having water. It is inconvenient, but we are learning to use what we have sparingly. Even the kids comment that this is a situation which shows them how difficult it must be to live in places where there is not fresh water on hand 24/7. I’m impressed with them at this observation! Anyway, back to the saga! The plumber said he had another emergency but would be with us at lunchtime. At 3pm we decide that it is no longer lunchtime, so we call again. When asked when he would arrive his response is “I don’t know really, I’m stuck on this job.” I am aware of Jon’s frustration now. He is tapping and tutting a lot. We stock up on water again and wait. At 5.30pm the plumber arrives. We are due a snow storm, this has to be finished and covered up. The injector is replaced, everything is put back. The pump doesn’t start though. We star getting very worried. The plumber is frustrated that he has to open the well up again. It’s obviously pitch black now and is not easy to see for very small leaks. Nothing can be found. Eventually he decides to change the foot valve. Everything goes back in. We hold our breath, we pray, then there is the sweet noise of the pump humming! Water, we have water! At 8pm Jon and I are outside with shovels covering up the well with the mud the digger dug out. Now this hole was five feet deep by approx. four to five feet wide. That’s a lot of mud!
For the next few days we can’t use our water as it needs to settle. There is a lot of mud in it and every time you turn a tap on, or flush the toilet, it looks like someone had a bad accident! Here we are on Saturday morning, we are now using the water once it has boiled, but will not use it to drink straight from the tap until tomorrow.
Throughout this situation, I’ve realised, how much God has been trying to teach me patience over the past three or four years. Things keep coming up and rather than give into a situation I’ve had the tendency to fight it. Our immigration to Canada took it’s toll on us with all of the delays etc. I know God was trying to teach me patience then, but I failed miserably. Since then there have been a few other situations where my patience has been tested. Each time I’ve failed the test! This time, however, something changed in me. However frustrating having no water was, I was able to say to myself “oh well, it will get sorted.” Even on that second day when the plumber said that he would arrive at lunch time, something deep inside told me it would be more like 5pm, and that was OK. I must confess, that at 5.15pm I was started to get impatient, but up until then I was fine. I still need to work on patience and I think this is something God is going to gently tease me with over time. Being patient is definitely a nicer and more peaceful place to be, than feeling on edge and fretting. Can anyone relate to this? Is God working on something with you right now?