Business at the Well

Douglas Yade

The train bumped along through the Siberian landscape as the interpreter looked at the Christian and his wife. “It’s a fine winter morning,” she said. “Soon the train will soon stop for one hour. You can go outside and walk.”

“One hour? A train doesn’t stop for one hour for no reason if there is a Christian on board. God has something for us to do.”

The three of them surveyed the busy area, congested with merchants. As they walked they saw a man, a yoke over his shoulders with two pails on it, walking toward a well.

“There’s our man,” he exclaimed. “Let’s follow him. This is not the first time the Lord has done business at a well.” His mind went to the story of John chapter four.

The townsman was about thirty and poorly dressed. His weary grey coat and shabby pants mirrored the desperate look in his eyes. He filled his two pails and the Christian took his picture. The Russian looked up from under his ragged hat. “Tell the stranger he must come to my home for tea.”

They followed him to the old log house. His wife tried to smile as she welcomed them into their little home which was in complete disarray. The two children, age five and seven, were dressed as poorly as their parents and they stood near as the strangers talked about the trip and the weather while sipping the hot tea. And then the question came from the townsman. “Why would anybody in their right mind come to a place like Siberia?”

“We came to distribute Bibles and tell the people about God,” the Christian explained. The man’s eyes opened wide and sparkled with excitement. Even his wife turned to look with surprise.

“Oh, this is so amazing. My wife and I were both taught that there is no God. And we even believed it. But for the past few months we’ve been asking God to make himself real if He’s really there. We prayed that He would send help.”

The Christian reached down into his bag. “I’ll show you what God has sent to you.” He pulled out a Scofield Bible with its helpful notes and explanations. “This is for you. And here is what He wants to give to your children.” He pulled out a children’s Bible-book. “You must read these stories to the children daily and teach them about God.”

The couple wept as they looked at the miracle of God’s provision for them. Shortly they escorted the travellers to the train and bid them farewell through more tears.

They got on board just in time and settled into their compartment as tears warmed their faces and worship ascended to the Lord Jesus. The English teacher who was the interpreter was also a believer. She was amazed. “Wasn’t it wonderful how the Lord led us to this couple to supply a need and answer a prayer!”

Show Me from This Book

But this was not the end of the story. A few years later, in the summer of 2001, the brother and his wife stopped at this same town again. “This is the place. Let’s get out quickly. The Lord surely wants us to meet somebody!”

They prayed and then stepped out into the swarm of people. The interpreter frowned. “Why are you giving out tracts? You know that this is not allowed now.”

“We must find the person that God has stopped the train for. Here, you give out some too.” Soon a thirty-five-year-old man, neatly dressed and holding a little bag, approached curiously and took a tract. A smile broke out on his face immediately and he began to tremble. He took a Bible from his bag. “This is what I received in prison. I’ve learned something about how Christ lived and died. He died for my sins but I’m not sure where my sins are. Can you show me from this Book what Christ did with my sins?”

For the next forty-five minutes they reviewed verses in the Bible that told about the great work of salvation that Christ accomplished on the cross. “I have many very bad sins.” He bowed his head and grimaced for a moment. “I was in prison for murder. Can God forgive such a sinner and then take him to heaven?”

Under the warm Siberian sun they read the Russian words together, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” As they considered the verse in Isaiah 53, the man wept and appreciated the assurance of forgiveness. As curious spectators tried to make sense of the strange language and weeping men he said, “I’m so happy the Lord sent you here today. Oh such news, that all of my sins are forgiven and I will certainly be in heaven some day.”

A New Family

The train moved on. The weary travellers again worshipped God and spoke to other passengers. The Lord had another contact. An eighteen-year-old girl took a tract and then reached into her purse for a Bible. “Today I asked God to give me the light I need. I have been on this train many times but I knew that today would be a very different experience. You must help me.” She lacked assurance. “I know that God wants to save me. But I don’t know if my sins have been forgiven.”

The train clattered along the tracks and together they read verses well past the midnight hour. Soon her face began to glow. The Holy Spirit, using the word of God, enlightened her soul and brought her peace and a clear conscience as she understood, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they will never perish” (John 10: 28). She explained how she had been raised in a very cruel home. “I just want to forget my childhood. There wasn’t much food in the house. And my unloving mother and father had many beatings for me - for no reason.”

She was thrilled to learn of the new family she was in and rejoiced to think that her heavenly Father would love her and give her only what was best. They demonstrated some of that care as they rented fresh sheets for her and a clean berth to sleep in. Sitting there comfortably she sniffled back the tears. “I am so glad that I am in God’s family - to stay!” Her soft voice emphasized the last two words.

Believer, who has the Lord brought to your pathway today? Are you watching and ready to speak?

Adapted by Douglas Yade from the book To Siberia with Bibles (second printing now available from D. Yade (705) 567-5951 or L. Smith (517) 569-2733 or conference book sellers).