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a monthly devotional journal
by David Lampel
Issue No. 79
June 1997


Day One: Discovery

The incessant clicking ...

At the house, down on the first level, near the furnace and water heater, is the small metal box that tells the pump in the well when to come on, thus sending more water up the hill to replace that which has been used.

As water is used, the pressure in the line drops. When the pressure has dropped to a predetermined point, the relay clicks closed and the pump submerged in the well, more than a quarter-mile down the hill from the house, comes on, sending more water up the long climb toward the house. The pressure rises until, at 62 psi, the relay at the house clicks open, thus shutting off the pump.

One day the relay began clicking even without any water faucets being turned on. Early on, about every ten minutes, the line would need to be pressurized with new water from the well. Then every five minutes, then two.

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Day Two: Process of Eliminatio

The plumber arrived.

The well sits down in the valley, surrounded by property belonging to someone else, a large cement-capped hole filled with the runoff from neighboring hills.

Losing pressure is generally synonymous with losing water, so we first examined the line in the well connected to the pump. Two check valves sit in the line atop the pump; the check valves prevent the water from running back into the well after it has been pumped up and out.

We detached the line and waited for the water brimming at the open end of the pipe to sink back toward the pump. But the water remained in place, indicating that the check valves were doing their job.

All the connections were checked down at the well and found to be intact. We then moved the investigation to the house, checked the integrity of the outside hydrant, the interior plumbing, the pressure tank and fittings. Everything checked out, leaving one inescapable conclusion: we had a leak in the line. Somewhere in almost fifteen-hundred feet of pipe, water was escaping.

And the clicking continued.

Come, Thou my Light, that I may see
Thy truth divine, Thy love so free.
Dispel the clouds of doubt and sin,
And let the face of God shine in.

And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26 NASB

Day Three: The Search

It's a standard procedure for locating a leak--or at least reducing the distance in which it must lie: Cut into the water line at a midway point and check the pressure on both sides. The side where the pressure drops is the half containing the leak. Repeat the process in that half, until the distance in which the leak must lie is no more than three to four hundred feet.

Roughly midway between the house and the well the plumber's men began digging with their diesel-drinking beast. The owner of the property when the line was buried twenty-one years earlier had told me the path the pipe took below the surface, so that is where we dug.

To a depth of five feet they scooped out the soil with the back hoe, but there was no water line. They widened the hole; still nothing. Finally a pipe was discovered and cut, but the pipe contained not water, but the electric wire for the pump.

Finally, fifteen feet from where we began, the pipe was found. The dual-gauge contraption was inserted between the two sections, and the line pressurized. The gauge reading the pressure for the lower half dropped; the leak was toward the well.

That distance was bisected, another hole begun. And again the water line could not be found. Reversing the iron beast, they sliced deeply through the soil like a chain saw through balsam wood. Twenty feet from where we thought the line to be it was finally found. the hole was dug and the gauges inserted. Once again, they revealed the leak to be in the lower portion.

Jesus, these eyes have never seen
That radiant form of Thine;
The veil of sense hangs dark between
Thy blessed face and mine.

I see Thee not, I hear Thee not,
Yet art Thou oft with me;
And earth hath ne'er so dear a spot
As where I meet with Thee.

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:24-25 NASB

Day Four: False Hope

With the evidence that the leak lay somewhere in the lower quarter of the water line, the decision was made to dig a trench and lay new line from the point of the last check to the well--a distance of 430 feet.

The beast sliced its way toward the well and the black line was dropped into the five feet-deep trench. The new line was brought into the well and attached to the pipe that led down through the water to the submerged pump.

At first it held. At first it seemed that the problem was fixed. The clicking stopped. But in only a few short hours it began again: With no water running from any faucets, the clicking began again every ten minutes, five minutes, two minutes--down to as short an interval as one minute.

Faithfully the well delivered its water, faithfully the pump sent its water up the hill. But somewhere hidden deep beneath the soil was a leak (or several) that was leaching away and wasting what was intended for the house.

And the incessant clicking ...

From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat:
'Tis found beneath the mercy seat.

Day Five: Searching Renewed

With the weight of the unsolved mystery bearing down on them the plumbers returned to reexamine the water line. Methodically they exhumed and inspected each joint they had installed: The coupling where two sections of new pipe had been spliced together; the point where they had attached the new to the old pipe; the location in the middle of the field, where they had first determined that the leak was located in the lower half--all were checked, and the integrity of each was verified.

But still the clicking ...

The fix had been insufficient. Replacing only the lowest quarter of the pipe either did nothing, or created a new leak elsewhere up the line. No one really knew--and we were back to square one.

My God, how wonderful Thou art,
Thy majesty how bright,
How beautiful Thy mercy seat,
In depths of burning light,
In depths of burning light!

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:13-16

Day Six, Early: A New Tack

The plumber and his men were as frustrated as their customer. The leak was elusive, and refused to play by the standard rules. First isolated in the lower half, when that leak was repaired, apparently a new leak developed somewhere higher on the hill, in the upper half.

The options: Do we repeat the earlier procedure, moving up this time rather than down? Do we repair only a portion of the old pipe with new, or do we eliminate all of the old? Or do we even give up all together?

The decision was made to run new, larger and improved, pipe from the well up to the hydrant near the house. Surely, the plumber reasoned, the old pipe from the hydrant to the house would be all right, since it never experienced the pressure demands of the portions closer to the well.

So we began; I helped this time. While the plumber ran the trenching beast I glued together the quarter-mile of twenty-foot pvc pipe sections. The day progressed smoothly; for the first two-thirds of the distance the trencher churned happily while I got sunburned gluing pipe.

When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I'm lost
In wonder, love and praise.

Thro' every period of my life
Thy goodness I'll pursue,
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD." I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lament. 3:18-26

Day Six, Late: False Hope[2]

As we neared the upper third of the field the trenching beast suddenly hit rock, and lots of it--broad sweeps of thick limestone buried three to five feet below the surface. The trenching blade bounced and complained and spat up white powder to signal its disapproval of such treatment. The plumber pressed on, but finally even he had to admit that his beast was beaten.

To withstand the freezing temperatures of winter, the water line must be buried to a depth of five feet--or at least more than three. But the broad field of rock now prevented that. Even new paths weren't sufficient to skirt the field of rock; it was all around, and standing between us and completion of the job.

Once again we were stymied.

So that we could at least have water restored on a temporary basis, the decision was made to continue on up the hill to the hydrant, leaving the pipe near the surface. Later a separate company would have to be hired to bring in a larger back hoe to excavate the rocks for the permanent placement of the pipe.

Late in the day the connections were complete. The new, improved pipe was connected to the pump down at the well, and tied into the line at the hydrant that continued on toward the house. Surely this would do it. At last we could look forward to a dependable water supply. With the plumbing connections secured, the switch was thrown ...

But still the clicking.

The well, far down in the valley, continued to pump, to send its water up the hill. But there was still, still a leak.

Should Thy mercy send me
Sorrow, toil, and woe;
Or should pain attend me
On my path below;
Grant that I may never
Fail Thy hand to see;
Grant that I may ever
Cast my care on Thee.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:13-16

Day Seven, Early: Full-frontal Assault

It was with a determined vengeance that the plumber set to the task of extending the new water line all the way to the house.

First the pipe at the foundation of the house had to be located. He dug here, then there, then back over here; just as with every other part of this job, results were elusive. Finally, at more than ten feet down, below the west foundation of the house, the pipe was found. In the meantime we unearthed a Pepsi can, an old rusted toy truck, and tree roots large enough for a California redwood.

The man with the larger back hoe arrived after lunch to attack the field of rocks. After assisting with the excavation at the house, he moved out to the hillside to begin work deepening the existing trench and removing the imbedded stone. Even that job eventually took hours longer than anticipated.

Meanwhile the plumber set his beast to slicing through the west lawn, trenching a path for the new water line that would extend down to where it had stopped near the hydrant.

The hydrant was excavated and moved up closer to the house. The underground electrical line was repaired where it had been sliced through. The engines of the two diesel beasts filled the air with the roar of progress--progress pursued in finally, once and for all, reuniting the house plumbing to its source: the well in the valley, more than a quarter-mile away.

We would see Jesus;
the great Rock Foundation
Whereon our feet were set
by sov'reign grace;
Not life, nor death,
with all their agitation,
Can thence remove us,
if we see His face.

The Lord reigns,
he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty
and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be moved.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
The seas have lifted up, O Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder
of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers
of the sea --the Lord on high is mighty.
Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days, O Lord.
Psalm 93:1-5

Day Seven, Late: Connection

The diesel beasts were at last silenced, the men who had earlier worked feverishly in the holes and trenches leaned against their shovels. The day drew down upon itself in anticipation.

The final joint had been glued, the final fitting wrenched tight. The pipe--from the well in the bottom of the valley all the way to the foundation of the house--was an unbroken thread of white plastic resting snugly at the bottom of a deep trench, and the soil had been back filled to cover the pipe.

The buried wire had been either repaired or replaced, so that the well pump could communicate with the house. The huge slabs of rock had been either pulverized or removed to make way for the pipe. Their bones lay in a heap nearby.

The hydrant had been moved closer to the house, connected to the new line, gravel added at its base, then covered back up.

With uneasy trepidation we filed into the house for the unveiling. After all this--after all the troubles and frustration--would it work? Would there, at last, be an end to this watery nightmare, this cartoon of mind-numbing woes?

With the weary plumber looking on, I replaced the wire that had been disconnected so that the work could be done. By connecting the wire to the screw the circuit was completed for the pressure switch to tell the pump to come back on and refill the quater-mile of empty pipe with water from the well.

The needle rose. As the pump filled the line and the pressure rose, the gauge showed the progress. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty--sixty pounds!


The pump clicked off, and we waited. If success, the needle would not move; if failure, the needle would drop.

We waited--and waited. Two minutes, five. Ten minutes, twenty minutes later, and the needle had not moved. There were no more leaks! And the incessant clicking had finally ceased.


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Issue No. 79
June 1997


[1.] Frank E. Graeff. (return to footnote 1)

[2.] Hugh T. Kerr. (return to footnote 2)

[3.] Ray Palmer. (return to footnote 3)

[4.] Ibid. (return to footnote 4)

[5.] Hugh Stowell. (return to footnote 5)

[6.] Frederick W. Faber. (return to footnote 6)

[7.] Joseph Addison. (return to footnote 7)

[8.] Ibid. (return to footnote 8)

[9.] James Montgomery. (return to footnote 9)

[10.] Anna B. Warner. (return to footnote 10)


All original material in Aspects is Copyright © 1997 David S. Lampel. This data file is the sole property of David S. Lampel. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., "Copyright (C) 1997 David S. Lampel."). This data file may not be used without the permission of David S. Lampel for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content. Brief quotations not to exceed more than 500 words may be used, with the appropriate copyright notice, to enhance or supplement personal or church devotions, newsletters, journals, or spoken messages.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture is from the New International Version. NIV quotations are from the Holy Bible: New International Version, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission. NASB quotations are from the New American Standard Bible © 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation.


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