When I was a kid, I was in the Cub Scouts. Summertime was especially fun with day camp outings and lots of actvities for young boys.
One particular day we were taken on a hike. The miles involved I don't remember but I do remember this:
On our way back to the house we came across a natural spring.
Hot water bubbling out of the ground, collecting in a small pool.
Those of us with empty canteens were eager to want to refill them.
Three adults were with us. One said, "Go ahead boys, refill your canteens with this fresh water".
One adult said quietly, " If I were you, I wouldn't listen to him, don't do it".
The other adult was quiet.
The excitement about finding a natural spring in the middle of nowhere led many of us to fill our canteen or even empty a half-filled canteen and fill it with this spring water.
There was quite a discussion as to whom we should believe.
The funny, charismatic adult who insisted we drink the water, or the quiet reserved man who insisted that we shouldn't and even tried to explain why it was a bad idea.
Some of the kids were even picking sides as to which leader to believe.
I was torn between keeping my half-filled canteen or filling it with this fresh water.
Ultimately, I gave in and filled mine with the water from the field, thinking," If THAT man is not telling the truth, I'll miss out on fresh water".
The men corraled us and steered us back in the right direction.
A few minutes later, the first thirsty scout opened his canteen and immediately spit the water out, exclaiming,"It's salty!!!!!"
At that moment we all opened our canteens with the hope that somehow our canteen would hold the fresh water that one of our leaders had promised.
Disappointed, we all realized that for the rest of the hike, if we were thirsty we would have to drink water from a salt spring.
Questions of, "Why would you lie to us?" were answered with a quick, "Because you should have known better. It's your fault, not mine....."
The truthful adult said, "I tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen to me".
After finding my water undrinkable I poured it out and sucked it up for the rest of the hike, back to the house with the fresh water.
This lesson has stayed with me all my life.
There are people who are going to lead you astray. It will come in any area of your life.
You're going to have difficult choices to make.
In this instance, it was the man full of personality and smiles who promised a lie.
The quiet unassuming man telling the truth was for the most part,ignored.
While this may seem like a harmless joke played on a group of unknowing 8-9 year olds, I find a lot of lessons here that we can apply to our lives today.
What say you?