A lesson from the Arabs
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“Some years ago, several Arab chieftains accompanied that famous First World War character, Lawrence of Arabia, to the Paris Peace Conference. The Arabs saw many wonderful things in the great city, but the most amazing sight to them was the running water in their hotel rooms. It seemed to them impossible that by simply turning a faucet they could have an almost inexhaustible flow of water without effort or expense. They had been accustomed all their lives to consider water as a scarce commodity.
They know its great value and, from experience, the difficulty of obtaining it. At the end of the conference and as the delegates were preparing to depart, Lawrence saw his chieftains trying to remove the faucets from the walls of their rooms so they could fix them to walls in their own rooms at home and continue to have an exhaustless water supply without effort in their barren deserts! It required considerable time and patience to explain that the faucets alone were utterly valueless”.
We smile at the simple-mindedness of the Arab chiefs, but we have all been guilty of such actions. We take an example from an account in the lives of the children of Israel. “Israel went out against the Philistines to battle. Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about 4,000 men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that it may save us. And when the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and there was a great slaughter; for there fell of Israel 30,000 footmen” (1Samuel 4:1-3, 5, 10). The Arabs trusted in the detached faucets for water, and the Israelites trusted in the visible Ark of the Covenant, detached from God Who is the true Source of supply. Some trust in their good upbringing as a reason why God’s favour should be