(8) The eel in the pipe.
You would of course know what an eel is?
It is a water (sea and fresh water) creature which looks much like a snake but is eaten in some civilized countries, as a food, or even a delicacy. I was once told that in the Netherlands (in the early 20th century) the “gerookte paling” (smoked eel) was available from vendors on street corners, similar to what ice-cream is today.
When I was at a Bible school (more about that later) we students would also carry co-responsibility for maintenance; and if it was an emergency, lectures would be halted till it was sorted out. The property was a small-holding with its own water supply; which came via a pipeline out of a spring with a pool or small dam, in a natural forest (indigenous trees). It was in a beautiful setting, right in that little forest with indigenous trees and undergrowth, like ferns. A picture of tranquility; which one so seldom finds nowadays. The water in the pool was so clear that you could see the bottom, and it’s situation was about half a km from the school and residence buildings. It then happened that less and less water came through. We were obliged to look for the blockage.
The first thing that we noticed was that the brass strainer at the entrance to the first pipe was corroded through. We therefore decided to dig up the first pipe length which consisted of about twelve feet long sections of one and a half inch pipe. Cutting down a long stick in the forest we poked that in at the end where the broken strainer was and it refused to go in far; so we tried from the other end but got the same result. Poking again; from both sides, failed to clear the blockage.
It was then that I made a mistake which makes me shudder when I am reminded about it. I was the tallest and of quite firm build; also sure of myself that I could blow the strongest and suck the strongest of the male students. This came about because of fathers old Nash during W/w. 2. which existed before in-line fuel filters were invented or used. The fuel often blocked making it necessary to undo the petrol pipe at the engine and then to alternately blow and suck at the fuel-tank end, to undo that stoppage.
That is what I then did at the outlet end of the pipe; so trying to dislodge that mysterious blockage, which defied the poking with the stick.
Before I carry on I need to describe that an eel is a very slimy, slippery creature. As I blew and sucked something suddenly became undone. I was in the sucking cycle when it happened. Suddenly I had a deep mouthful of slimy eels’ head; almost into my throat. The entrance to the lung felt as if it had automatically shut off while my throat entrance seemed to open at “maximum”. As youngster I had marveled at what huge gulps I was able to swallow at once, possible I had even bragged about it to my schoolmates. It all happened so fast and also came out so fast again that I do not know whether the other students really followed everything that happened: a few were staring in amazed horror while some were in roaring laughter. It was very fortunate that the eel was not dead and decomposed. The creature (plus the ones to follow) must have sort of hibernated there in the pipe.
Needless to say that we then fetched a piece of log and stood the pipe upright, bumping it up and down onto the log; another eel and another became dislodged and fell out; little wonder that the stick refused to go through the pipe. There remained no other alternative but to dig up all the pipes up to the School’s reservoir. Altogether; on the entire stretch, we found and dislodged eleven eel and the ones nearer to the reservoir had lost color (grey) and were quite bleak already. The water flowed freely again. We also looked in the pool; the water was crystal clear and we could spot a few more eel right at the bottom.
Please take especial note of the lesson we can learn from this:
Do we not find that something like a blockage exists between us and Heaven; especially when we pray? It should then occur naturally to you; to think of how to attempt to undo the blockage between yourself and Heaven. In actual fact; there is something we can do about it but we need to do it the right way. So be absolutely certain you find the right way. That blockage is never from God’s side but always from our side; He is more than keen to help us undo it, but we must co-operate with Him and our hearts must be right otherwise that in itself becomes a blockage. That is what we want to discuss a little later.
It is frightening; In “Revelation” in the Bible we find that right at the end; God tries the utmost punishment; like scorching heat; on the un-repenting, remaining humans (trying to give them “a last chance”; yet they still harden their hearts.