The Lake: A Parable

Young boy jumping into lake

(reading time: 2mins)

One day a certain man stumbled upon a hidden lake in the wilderness. This lake was stunningly beautiful, crystal clear from its calm surface all the way to the bottom, some twenty feet below. Tall fir trees lined the water’s edge, offering up shady spots to rest on its soft white, sandy beaches. Standing on a rock outcropping above and admiring the discovery greatly, he thought to himself, “This is the perfect place for people to come and enjoy time together, away from their busy lives. I will get it ready for them and then they will come from all over the world to experience its beauty and refreshment.”

So, the man got busy. He started building a dock with a diving board. He set up a rope swing from one of the biggest branches in one of the biggest fir trees overhanging the water. “This will be perfect”, he said to himself. It was hard work and very warm out, but he wouldn’t stop working until he was finished.

Early the next day, the man got up to start his work again. To his surprise another man had discovered this very special place, and was busy building things as well. All the way on the other side of the lake, this newcomer was working on a water park and a marina for jet-skis.

The first man decided this would simply not do. “Lakes like this were meant for quiet enjoyment”, he muttered. So, he built a bigger dock and another rope swing. The second man saw what the first was doing and built a bigger water slide and another marina. “Lakes like this were meant for fun and celebration,” he grumbled.

Every day, the men came to the lake and built more docks, slides, and marinas. Every day they walked away, certain that their work at the lake was the very best way to help people enjoy its beauty.

Many years had gone by, and the men had built their docks and slides on every available inch of the shoreline. With no more room to build on, and convinced that each other’s efforts were ruining the lake, they both went to court to stop anyone from using the other man’s amenities.

The Judge simply told them both to get in the water.

The men refused this order, so the Judge declared the entire area to be a nature sanctuary, its waters and shores off-limits to people from that day forward.

In the end, no one ever came and actually got into the lake, to enjoy its gentle, inviting waves, and shady beaches. Not people from far away. Not people from close by. Not even the men themselves.

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