By Marjorie Kennedy
A group of guards are more concerned with protecting a water tank than sharing its contents with those who need it.
Ezekiel 47: 1 - 12
(The Stranger and the Water Inspector are the main characters. The number of guards can be adjusted depending on the number of people available.)
(As the play begins, the back of the stage is dominated by a model of a large water tank. A ladder rests against the side of the tank. The guards sit in front facing the tank. They are dressed casually. All are wearing sun glasses. Some are playing Patience while the rest loll about bored.)
(The Stranger enters. He walks around among the guards. He looks towards the tank. He seems puzzled by what he sees.)
Stranger: Excuse me. Can you tell me what everyone is doing?
(There is no reply. Everyone continues to sit with drooping heads.)
Stranger (more loudly): I said, can someone please tell me what you are all doing?
1st Guard: Go away. Can't you see that we are busy?
Stranger: Busy! You don't look very busy to me.
1st Guard: Well, we are busy.
2nd Guard: VERY busy.
Stranger: How are you busy?
2nd Guard: We are busy guarding this tank.
Stranger: Why are you guarding the tank?
2nd Guard: Dunno really, (shrugs) I suppose we are guarding it from thieves.
Stranger: How long have you been guarding it?
2nd Guard: Dunno. Must be a year. Maybe two. Not sure really.
Stranger: Do you mean to say that you are all sitting here guarding this tank and you don't know why you are guarding it or how long you have been guarding it? Do you know what's in it?
2nd Guard: Yeah
Stranger: Well, what is in it?
2nd Guard: Water.
Stranger: Water! You are guarding a tank of water? Why on earth do you need to guard a tank of water?
(At this point the guards all stand up and slow march around in a circle singing the following song like a chanted dirge):
'Guarding the Water of Life'
1: We have got a special job
Vital for our live-li-hood
We are an important mob
For we guard the water of life
2: We do a job and it is dreary
There is no joy in it at all
Hour by hour we just get weary
From guarding the water of life
3: Our glasses keep us in the dark
We see just what we want to see
We sit around day and night
Just guarding the water of life
4: We are scared to let others see
What it is that we are hiding
We must keep it to ourselves
As we guard the water of life
(At the end the guards return, still with heads downcast, back to where they were sitting. The 3rd Guard goes over to the Stranger and offers him a pack of cards.)
3rd Guard: Here. Sit down and have a game of Patience.
Stranger (brushing the cards aside): I don't want to play cards.. Don't you realise that there are thirsty people out there? In fact some people are dying from lack of water. Look at yourselves. Lazing around here, guarding, your tank of water. Don't you care that others may be thirsty?
3rd Guard: What others?
4th Guard: Can't see any others.
(The Guards all shade their eyes with their hands so that they cannot see beyond where they are sitting.)
Stranger (impatiently): You could see them if you really wanted to. Stop hiding behind your hands and take off those silly glasses and look out there.
3rd Guard: We can't look out there.
4th Guard: We have to watch the tank.
5th Guard: Yeah. That's right.
6th Guard: Have to watch the tank all the time.
Stranger: Is that all you do?
5th Guard: Is what all we do?
Stranger: Is guarding the tank all you do?
5th Guard: No. We look at it sometimes.
Stranger: You look at what?
5th Guard: We look at the tank.
6th Guard: And we look at the water.
Stranger (sarcastically): You look at the tank and you look at the water. My, that is energetic of you.
6th Guard: There's no need to be sarcastic. We don't only look at it.
Stranger: What else do you do?
1st Guard: We analyse it.
2nd Guard: Sometimes we write reports about it.
3rd Guard: And we photograph it.
4th Guard : And on Sundays and Wednesdays we stir it a bit.
5th Guard: And at Christmas we are allowed to taste it.
6th Guard: That makes us feel really good.
Stranger: If this water is so important why don't you do something with it?
1st Guard: Like what?
Stranger: Like sharing it with others.
1st Guard: WE can't decide anything like that.
2nd Guard: We've got a committee to decide these matters.
Stranger: Why doesn't your committee decide to share the water with others?
2nd Guard: Dunno.
1st Guard: Guess they are all too busy.
Stranger: Busy? Doing what?
1st Guard: Busy trying to find the best way to keep the water fresh.
3rd Guard: Yes. It's getting stale.
4th Guard: And it's evaporating.
Stranger: How about giving me some of the water? Just enough for me to take to my friends who need it.
4th Guard: No way.
5th Guard: We can't just GIVE you water.
6th Guard: No. You have to go through the right channels.
Stranger: Well, what are the right channels?
6th Guard: You apply to the committee, like everyone else.
Stranger: How do I go about applying to the committee?
6th Guard: You write them a letter.
Stranger: What then?
6th Guard: Dunno. Maybe they'll consider your letter at their next committee meeting.
Stranger: When's that?
6th Guard: Soon.
Stranger: How soon?
6th Guard: They meet every six months.
1st Guard: Last meeting was in June. Next meeting should be December.
Stranger: Do you mean to say that I will have to wait until December before I get an answer? Don't you realise how many people will die from thirst before then? I've got to get water to these people NOW.
1st Guard Don't see how you can.
(The lights dim to show the approach of evening)
1st Guard: Look. It's getting dark. Take this cushion. (He hands the Stranger a cushion) Find somewhere to sleep. Figure out your problem in the morning. (He yawns) Goodnight.
(Everyone lies down and soon all appear to be asleep. When all is quiet the Stranger tiptoes off stage and collects a bucket. Then he sneaks over to the tank, climbs the ladder, reaches into the tank, fills the bucket, climbs down and tiptoes away.)
2nd Guard: Hey! Wake up. Wake up. He is stealing the water.
3rd Guard (sitting up): Which water?
2nd Guard: The water from the tank.
4th Guard: Get him.
5th Guard: There he is. It's beginning to get light. I can see him.
6th Guard (shouts): Bring that water back.
4th Guard: Come back here.
5th Guard: You can't steal that water.
6th Guard: It belongs to us.
(As the lights come on the Stranger is gone and the guards all look back towards the tank.)
1st Guard: He stole a whole bucketful.
2nd Guard: Now we will be in trouble.
3rd Guard: We will be in trouble as soon as the water inspector comes.
4th Guard: Yes, and he's due any minute.
5th Guard: What will he say?
6th Guard: What will we do?
1st Guard: Listen. Here comes the water inspector now.
2nd Guard: Shh everyone. Maybe he won't check the height of the water in the tank this time.
1st Guard: Don't be silly. He always checks the height of the water.
(There is an expectant hush as the Water Inspector comes on stage. Without speaking he crosses over to the tank, climbs up the ladder, leans over and dips his finger in and tastes the water and climbs down again.)
Water Inspector (excitedly): Excellent. Excellent. The water has never tasted so good. And the tank is still full to the brim. Well done. Well done.
3rd Guard (surprised): The tank is full to the brim?
Water Inspector: Yes. It's lapping the top. (Pause) I must be off now. Have to write my report you know. The committee WILL be pleased.
3rd Guard (puzzled): How can this be?
4th Guard: He said the water was still lapping the top of the tank.
5th Guard: Yet we saw that man take a bucketful away with him.
6th Guard: Not quite a bucketful. He spilled some. The ground is still wet over there. Look. (He points)
4th Guard: If he took a bucketful,it shouldn't be lapping the top now. I am going to check. (He climbs the ladder and looks into the tank) The Inspector is right you know. It is still full (He climbs down again)
5th Guard: I wonder what would happen if we took another bucketful out. I am going to try it. (He collects a bucket, climbs the ladder, dips the bucket in, takes it out again and looks back into the tank) It's true. It's true. I don't understand how it is happening but the tank is refilling as quickly as I take the water out. I'm going to give this water to those thirsty people out there. (He moves out among the congregation with the bucket. As he goes he takes off his glasses.)
6th Guard: Hey, wait for me. I'm going to take some of that water out there too.
(He too gets a bucket and collects some water. As he moves out into the congregation he too takes off his glasses.)
3rd Guard: And me. I'll get some too.
4th Guard: Me too. This is great. Much better than sitting there all day doing nothing. That stranger said that we should share - he is right.
(As each guard speaks he collects water in a bucket and moves out into the congregation with it. The heads of the guards are now held high and there is an air of enthusiasm. As the guards take their buckets out among the congregation they give out little cards they are carrying inside their buckets. These cards have verses on such as:)
Zech 14:8: On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.
John 4:13: Jesus answered: 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life'.
John 7:38: 'Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.'
Rev 21:6: He said: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.'
(Everyone returns to the stage to sing and dance. Make up a bright breezy tune to fit the words.)
Sharing the Water of Life
1: We have got a special job
It`s vital for our live-li-hood
We are an important mob
For we share the water of life
2: We do our job and it is good
To see joy in each others' eyes
Hour by hour we work for the Son
As we share the water of life
3: Glasses gone, now we can see
The hurting world outside
Fear and hunger disappear
When we share the water of life
4. We want the world to know
It`s Jesus that we are sharing
Streams of love to others flow
When we share the water of life
Reader: Scripture says: 'Whoever believes in me, streams of living water will flow from within him.' We believe in Jesus, so streams of living water will flow from us. Is it flowing from us? Are we taking this water out to others? Or are we hoarding it for ourselves, like the people in the play? We have been reminded today of our obligation to spread the living water to those around us. To all who do not yet know Christ as Saviour.
When we read of Ezekiel's vision we are reminded that wherever the water flowed there was healing and stale water was sweetened. If we hoard the water it becomes stale and the life goes out of it. But if we share it? What happens? It is fresh. It is living. It has healing power. And it never runs out.
You have been given a little card with a verse on it. Don't throw it away. Keep it to help you remember to ask God, 'How can I share the living water today?' Then DO what God tells you to do.
Song: 'There's a River of Life'
© Copyright Marjorie Kennedy
All rights reserved. This play may be performed free of charge, provided an entrance fee is not charged. In return, the author would appreciate being notified when the script is used. She may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org