Blessing for the Well

Blessing for the Well © Gail Doktor 2018

This blessing remembers stories
Of a woman who waited
To offer drinks of water from the well
To passersby in exchange
For something else:
Kinship, connection, survival, recognition, coin
Or maybe just a smile
And a spoken word
Of hope and thanks

It recalls tales of a man
Who dug his roots beneath the desert
Near the bedrock of an oasis
Far down until water filled its darkness
And brought back generations
From wandering
Returning always to that
Node of life and time

It recounts myths about prophets
Shouting and praying
Walking and talking
To themselves or someone hidden from the others
Striking the earth
With the heavy heel of a worn staff
That brings up gushing springs
Enough to satisfy doubting, thirsty souls

It remembers a holy one
Who sipped from the tainted cup
Offered by the stranger
Called accursed,
Foreigner, other,
Sighed and gave back a blessing:
Promise of more and better
Yet to come

This blessing knows the well
From which you drink
May remember those stories
And call them its matriarchs and patriarchs
Yet it comes from this place
Draws its depths out of local geography
Dropping through layers and foundations
To tap the waiting pool
Sweet or pungent
Potable or poison
Clear or contaminated
Safe or sick-making

This blessing digs down with you
And knows that whatever you find
Below ground
Is what you may call yours
And helps you discover a way
To filter and cleanse it
Pump and pipe it
Draw it up and out
Spilling into the bright light of day
To flow out into the need
That hasn’t yet been met