|October 31, 2012||Posted by Brian Bennett under All, Risk, Science, Science Stories, Thoughts|
This Halloween, I did a demonstration in chemistry that’s usually called “Genie in a Bottle.” This year, I decided to tell a short parable along with the demo. I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.
When the well went sour, no one knew what to do.
The water left a rash on the skin, burnt the eyes, and turned the stomach. Some found that when water was left to stand in the sun, the effects wouldn’t be as bad. But, the process was slow and was not a perfect solution. They needed water…and soon.
When the neighboring doctor heard about the problem, he knew what to do. He took some medicine from his small home and traveled to the town. The medicine would fix the water, but it had to be taken by mouth in order to work. It also had a brief, unpleasant taste.
No one in the town would try the medicine. “It will make it worse!” they shouted in the streets to no one in particular. “He’s not one of us! We can’t trust him!”
The doctor knew that the bitterness was short and that in the end, it would work to clean the water. Still, no one would try it.
As the situation got more desperate, a boy stepped out from the crowd. “I’ll do it,” he said calmly to the doctor. The boy took a cup full of the sour water in one hand and then the small spoon of powdered medicine in the other. In one swift motion, he drank the water and followed it quickly with the medicine.
His face contorted as he clutched his stomach and fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Some people even said they could see smoke pouring from his nose and mouth as the medicine cleansed the sour water in his stomach. As quickly as he fell, the boy stopped shaking on the ground.
He stood up, smiled, and then took another drink as the next person came forward.