As much as I hate to admit my naiveté, I dared to wish that we would find, not only the needed water, but perhaps . . . could I even dare to believe, we would find oil?
Excitement had filled my whole being as my soul waited on tiptoe to see how God was going to fulfill this promise. He was going to “pour out” blessings. What did this mean? Water right away, I am sure, since this was not really the issue. The real issue was that he was going to bless the land with an anointing of his Spirit. But, God also knew that we had little financial resources. He had always seemed to supply the Schaeffers (our inspirations and models) with the money that would help them continue their ministry, so would he not supply ours as well? What was God writing in the Swihart story?
God leads us on an adventure, and we are often mystified by the twists and turns that adventure takes. How often I have learned that I must let go of my own expectations and desires, and trust what he is doing. In reading David Benner’s Sacred Companionship, [i] I am reminded that God is interested in all of the aspects of our earthly lives, but his perspective is eternal, and his interest is in our personal transformation into who we were uniquely created to be as his child. He was leading us very gently on a journey.
Judd had called the drilling company as soon as we made the final decision to move ahead. After talking to neighbors to find out where their wells were located, we had chosen several spots where we thought there might be an underground stream. First, though, we wanted to make sure that the old well was indeed dry. When the drillers showed up early the next day with the impressive drilling rig, I was ready. Judd and I had decided to dig once again and deeper this time at the last well hole. The men set up the rig, and the drill began to churn its way down through the hole and past the bottom. As I watched, I leaned forward expectantly, my eyes fastened on that noisy contraption, expecting any minute that there would be a great discovery. If you know anything about well drilling, you know that the drill today spins its way effortlessly through rocks, clay, and dirt. This old one ground, sputtered, clanked, and smoked as it methodically chiseled its way down.
After an hour of watching from a standing position, I went back into the house and retrieved my Dad’s old fishing stool that I had civilized by painting and stenciling. I placed it as close to the men and their machine as I could so I could have a good view, but far enough away that I would not interrupt their hard work. With the three of us, the large drill, and the truck all sandwiched between the lilac bushes and the bank of a hill, I was probably more a part of the operation than these professionals wanted. The October sun was gently shining on my back, and besides the upheaval of dirt and the noise of the machine, I was oblivious of any other distractions or to the driller’s discomfort. This was my post. So sure that there would be a miraculous discovery of water I was glued here, wanting to be in on the great celebration.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, the drill was silenced and the men came over to discuss what they had found. Our old well had simply been a small aquifer that we had drained in the last few months, and it would take possibly years to fill again.
So, where to drill next? With our direction, they moved the drill down by the garage and set up again. I could not afford to sit all day and watch the machine that was going to, somehow, hit the water supply that we had been promised. I had household chores that must be done, so reluctantly I picked up my stool and went back to the house. From the kitchen I could hear the clanking of the drill as it went after that illusive water. No water in that spot, was the report. Once more they moved the rig, this time across the gravel road. The day was waning. Drilling had gone on for eight hours. When it grew quiet down in the field, I sensed that the men had quit for the day . . . without the promised water supply. Disappointment, but not discouragement. He had promised. Yes, our faith was being tested, yet I could not doubt Cod’s commitment to us.
All of this drilling was costing us money that we had not planned. It was as though time had suspended, and we were waiting for it to begin again. “Wait” is a word and a stance that has become familiar to us over the years.
When the drillers came back the next morning, they came to the back door and knocked. Head down, moving from one foot to the other, the boss, finally looked at me and said, “Supposing we choose the sight to drill this morning? We would like to move farther down in the field. It may be farther from the house, but we think that area is more promising.” At a loss for any other suggestion, I gave them my permission and blessing. “You are the experts. Go for it!!!”
Again, the chug of the motor as they started the drill and the clanking of metal as it hit rocks. I continued my clean-up in the kitchen. God would do what he was going to do without my observation, I reasoned.
It was an hour or two when the drilling seemed to come to a halt. Two drillers appeared at the back door.
“Water!!! Lots of water!!!” was the triumphant report. They acted as though they had hit a gold mine. Having dug hundreds of wells, they appeared almost disbelieving. Most wells in our area were producing one half to four gallons a minute. This well was producing more than a hundred gallons per minute. They were not sure exactly how much because they could only measure up to one hundred gallons per minute. It became known as one of the best wells, if not the best, in the area.
“Abundantly more than we ask or think” (Ephesians 4:20). We were committed now. How was God going to create and sustain this ministry? How would we work with him in the coming years? Who would he bring along to join us? The future was entirely in His hand. Forward we would go.
 The book L’Abri by Edith Schaeffer had given us a model for living by faith and serving as a family, using their home in Switzerland as the focus of their ministry.