Priming the Well

Living, like I do, in the Bible Belt means that whether you go or not, church is a steady influence in your world. So much so, that , while it happens less often than it used to, it is still not uncommon on meeting someone to be asked,  “Where do you go to church?”

Growing up, my own church attendance was spotty at best. We never belonged to any one congregation and when we did go (usually around Easter) we went to what ever church was most convenient. My parents tended to lean toward the Methodist or Presbyterian variety and it was in one particular Presbyterian church that I heard this story that has remained with me some 30 years later.

A young girl was lost in the desert. She had been without water for quite a while and she was parched and nearing panic when she stumbled upon a well. Sitting next to the well was a quart jar full of water with a note attached. It read:

Use this water to prime the well.

Refill the jar before you leave.

She now had a dilemma. She could do as the note instructed, but what if the well was dry? She would have wasted the only water for miles around. If she drank the water there would be nothing left for whoever came behind her. She had no idea how much longer she would be lost and no guarantee that a quart of water would be enough to sustain her.

In the end she used the water to prime the well and was rewarded with plenty of fresh, cool water to parch her thirst, fill her canteen, and refill the jar, making sure that the next passerby would be taken care of.

For the religiously minded, this is a story about Faith. The fountain is God and the idea is that if you put your faith in God you will be rewarded, both with enough to take care of you and even a little extra to share with the next person.

I’m not here to argue religion. Your faith is your own.

I do, however, see much value in this story and how it applies to my business and what I would like to see for you.

In this instance, the gym is the fountain and the water is your energy. The gym requires that you put something into it: your energy, which we all know is in short supply.

You work, you raise your family, you tend to pets. There’s relationships to maintain, groceries to buy, meals to prepare, laundry to do, houses and apartments to clean and maintain, bills to pay, classes to study for, a commute to make, day after blistering day. When it’s all done, you’re spent. All you want is some time to lie on the couch, a TV to take you away from it all, and a beer.

The idea of adding one more thing to your day, especially something requiring as much effort as exercise, is quite simply too much. You’re just too tired and you’re afraid. You’re afraid that you’re energy is just limited, that your well is running dry, and if you spend that energy here you won’t have it elsewhere when you need it.

And yet, I’m here to tell you, that your gym time will actually pay you back. Like that jar of water, necessary for priming the well, exercise will prime your own energy reserves. By spending an hour of effort two, three, or even four times a week, you will gain more energy than when you started.

The daily grind of life becomes easier as you grow stronger. The chores that wiped you out aren’t such a big deal anymore because your capacity to do has outpaced the demand of those duties.

All it takes is faith.

To our perfect imperfection,


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  1. Funny that a comparison of chuch and the gym came up this weekend. I do believe in what you have always said, “Would being stronger make your life easier?” “Yes!”

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