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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 25: Hastings 239
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Beam 129
After they had hiked a few hours following the road and Tommy’s map, Lauren called a halt. They had reached a field of beans, and there was a pipe jutting up from the ground.
“Leaders, get your people organized to gather food for lunch, and have them pack as much as they can so we have it for dinner if we need it.”
Then she turned her attention to the pipe.
It was obviously a water pipe, galvanized steel intended to deliver water for irrigation. There must be some kind of vehicle that connected to it and dispersed the water over the fields, much as pumper trucks attached to fire hydrants. The system was different, though. With a fire hydrant, a cover was removed from the side, a hose screwed to it, and then a valve opened by turning the top with a wrench. This was perhaps simpler, perhaps more complicated. It appeared that the irrigation machine opened a valve by attaching, much as the connection on the propane tank for a gas grill. Somehow some part had to be depressed to open the valve and release the water.
And they needed water.
Lauren stared at the pipe for several minutes, trying to think of how to open the valve. She had no tools adequate to the job; her telekinesis wouldn’t work well enough in this world. Slowly a thought occurred.
Returning to her gear, she pulled out her Bible and started paging through Exodus. There it was, chapter seventeen, God has Moses strike a rock with his staff and water pours from it. Wait, though, didn’t this happen twice? And it was different the second time, wasn’t it? Lauren kept searching, skimming through Exodus, through Leviticus, there it was, in Numbers twenty. Moses struck the rock, but God’s instruction was that he should speak to the rock, not strike it. But it doesn’t tell her what it was Moses was supposed to say, and it appears that he didn’t actually say it.
She wasn’t exactly on her own; she had the example of Moses. This wasn’t a rock, but she was calling water from it. She didn’t have Moses’ staff, but she had rods that were like staves, long and thin. They were psionic devices, but they didn’t work in this world, and even though they were made of some kind of glass they were fairly sturdy.
She would use the lifter for a staff. The forcefield lifter would suffice were she to break the lifter, and anyway she could do that without the rod easily enough. She would speak to the pipe and strike it. She carefully considered what she should say, and reread the passage in Numbers. Then she walked over to the pipe.
It occurred to her that when Moses did this, God wanted it to be a show, to let the people of Israel know that He had the power to give them water and was going to provide it for them. This situation was different. The servant of God who ran this world apparently did not want these people looking for supernatural intervention. She was going to do it, but she wasn’t going to make a show of it. Grabbing her rod, she walked over to the pipe, standing about five feet in front of it.
She took a deep breath. She had used magic in this world, and it had always worked, but in strange ways. She had not attempted to teach herself new magic, and she realized that that might be something forbidden. Yet if magic worked, some people must learn it, and that means it must be something you can learn. She spoke, in a normal, steady voice.
“Pipe, in the name of the God of Israel, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Moses called water from the rock, I call upon you to yield your water for these people.”
She then extended the rod and tapped the top of the pipe.
Water began leaking from it, slowly at first and gradually increasing to about the rate of a bathroom tub tap.
“Leaders!” she called. “We have water. Please organize the people first to drink, then to collect water in whatever containers they have, then to wash. We will be continuing our hike when everyone is finished.”
God had proved faithful once again, as He had for Moses. Lauren turned her attention to filling her water jugs and getting some food for herself. She did not know what lay ahead.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #463: Characters Unsettled. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: