Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ENVY (jealousy of anotherís advantage) (02/12/15)
TITLE: Your Fountain
By Holly Westefeld
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"Highly suspect. We have had scant word from the artisan for many years. Why would he send someone who would not bring such news directly to us? Indeed, I cannot say that we would recognize him if he actually came himself. Sounds like a lunatic to me, but keep me informed of any further developments."
"Sir, there is one at the gate who purports to be the artisan. He bears something covered on a cart that he asserts is the gift."
"Hmmm. Admit him, but have guards on hand, in case this is a ruse to attack us. Insist that he reveal the cart's contents, and report back."
The servant gathered several guards and returned to the gatekeeper. "He may enter."
The donkey pulled the cart in to the courtyard. The artisan looked around, disappointment etching his features. "There does not seem to be a place prepared for my gift. Did you not receive word from my messenger?"
"You mean that man wandering the streets?" the servant queried. "He did not seem the reliable sort. For that matter, your identity is in question. Uncover the cart, and let us see what it holds."
"As you wish." The artisan unfastened the cover and folded it back.
"That's it? What is it supposed to be?"
"It is a fountain."
When the guards had examined it to make sure that it hid no threats, the servant returned to the brothers. "He may be an impostor. It is nothing much to look at. He says it is a fountain. The guards have found no harm in it."
The brothers followed the servant back to the courtyard. "What is the meaning of this?"
"It is a fountain," the artisan repeated.
"What need have we of a fountain? Your gift was to be one of great benefit to our house. This is hardly what we were expecting. What we really need is greater weapons than the thugs in the neighborhood, so we can call the streets our own once more. We have a reservoir that meets our needs."
"But it is old, is it not, and in poor condition? If you make a place for this fountain, I will connect it to the streams from the hills, so you will have fresh water without having to fetch it yourselves."
"Ridiculous! You most assuredly are a fraud!"
The brothers heaved the fountain off the cart, smashing it on the paving stones, while the guards bustled the artisan and his cart out the gate.
"Too bad," one of the brothers mused. "I had clung to a glimmer of hope."
A few days later, the servant burst in on the brothers' breakfast. "The shards of that fountain are gone, and there is word that our neighbors have a new fountain in their courtyard."
"Mere coincidence. We smashed that thing to smithereens. "And no one could have retrieved the pieces from here anyway, unless there is a traitor amongst us."
"I did question those on watch, sir, and though they admitted dozing, they insisted that the gate remained secure. The strange thing is, I did go take a peek, and it does look like the same fountain, except it is all the uglier because of the blemishes throughout that make it look as though it was repaired from one badly broken. Your neighbor is now leaving his gate open, so that all who pass by may enter and drink."
The brothers did their best to sabotage their neighbor's fountain. They sent servants to clog the fountain by night, polluted the streams that fed it, and even executed some from their own household who drank and tried to tell them how refreshing it was. All to no avail.
As the brothers' reservoir leaked beyond repair, and became contaminated, their health grew steadily worse. One day, when none had the strength to haul fresh water, one staggered to the gate of his neighbor, who sat beneath a flourishing olive tree.
"I have envied your fountain for so many years, have tried to destroy it, as you know. I am no longer able to get to the stream for myself. Will you forgive me and let me drink?"
"Certainly! It is your fountain, after all. Enter and drink the living water."
Jeremiah 2:13 "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
Romans 11:11 "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy."
Revelation 21:6 "And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."
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