The story of the well



"He gave them drink abundantly, as out of the depths." -Ps. 78: 15.


One of the most remarkable answers to prayer in Ann's experience was that in which she obtained water in a dry well. This incident has been told and re-told scores of times, with all sorts of variations and additions. I was most careful to get the full particulars and surrounding circumstances taken down as Ann narrated it. The event occurred in the long, dry weeks of summer. During this period the well at their home was usually dry for two or three months, and the boys were compelled to haul water in barrels from the well about half a mile away. This was very hard work, and especially when they had to provide, not only for household needs, but for the stock as well. One evening at the close of the day Ann was sitting in the kitchen with the boys around her, telling them some of the remarkable ways in which her Heavenly Father had answered her prayers

When she had just concluded one of these narratives, Henry said, "Ann, why don't you ask your Father to send water in that well, and not have us boys work so hard? I was down in the well looking at it to-day, and it is just as dry as the floor." This was thrown out to Ann in a half-joking, half-earnest way, as though to challenge her faith. He little dreamt of the serious way that Ann would take it. When she got up into her little room that night she knelt in prayer and said, "Now, Father, you heard what Henry said to-night. If I get up in class meeting and say, 'My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,' the boys won't believe I am what I profess to be if you don't send the water in the well." She then continued to plead that the water might be sent, and finally, rising from her knees, she said, "Now, Father, if I am what I profess to be, there will be water in the well in the morning."

When she came down the next morning Henry was out preparing to go for the water as usual. To his surprise and great amusement he saw Ann take up the two pails and start for the well. He watched her from the kitchen window as she hooked the pail to the windlass and began to lower it. If she had done it the night before it would have gone with a bang to the bottom, but after a while there was splash, and still down the pail went, and Ann began with difficulty to wind up the windlass again, and at last put the pail upon the well-stand full of water. She repeated this, and with both pails full of clear, sparkling water, she walked up to the house. And who could wonder that there was a little air of victory as she set down the pails and said to Harry, "Well, what do you say now?" To her surprise he simply answered, "Well, why didn't you do that long ago, and have saved us all that work?"

Meditation upon that question, thrown out so thoughtlessly by this young boy, might yield some very profitable results. How often we go hungry and thirsty, suffering the lack of all sorts of needed things, when a full supply might be ours! "We have not. because we ask not." Years after a friend visited the well and was told that from the time referred to the well had never been known to be dry summer or winter.


From: AN IRISH SAINT, The Life Story of Ann Preston Known also as "Holy Ann" By Helen E. Bingham, Toronto Evangelical Publishers Incorporated 1912, 366 Bay Street 156 Fifth Ave. Toronto, Can. New York, N.Y