The Bible and The Old Wicker Coal Basket
Revised by Kenneth E. Thomas
The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.
One day the grandson asked, "Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?" The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, "Take this old wicker coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water."
The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You will have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the old wicker basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was "impossible to carry water in a basket," and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, "I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.
At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, "See Papa, it’s useless!" "So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket."
The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old wicker coal basket, it was clean.
"Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand it all or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out."
That is the work of God in our lives-to change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son. (Colossians 3:9-10)
The moral of the wicker basket story:
Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day; it will affect you for good even if you don’t consciously retain much of what you have read. (See Ephesians 3:1-4; Ephesians 5:17; II Timothy 2:15; II Timothy 3:14-17).
[Edited to make a more biblically sound point by Kenneth E. Thomas]