The Pump of Death

I’m not even being melodramatic. It’s a thing. The Pump of Death… (cue the gothic organ music) Bum, bum, buuuuuuh!


The Pump of Death can be found in the East End of London; thankfully, it pumps no more.


It wasn’t always the Pump of Death. It actually had quite a glorious beginning going all the way back to the thirteenth century, as the Aldgate Spring or the Aldgate Pump.

What once was a well, when engineering was applied, became a pump. The pump, when appreciated for the life-giving work it did, become a monument with brass fittings, iron gates, and fountains.  It was heralded for its health benefits because of its high calcium levels. The monument became a beloved landmark–a gathering place, treasured, proud, important to the community, and very necessary.


Until it started pumping death.


As I heard it, in 1876 the water began to taste strange. The odor had preceded it but was ignored. It’s kinda like hometowns and mamas—you can think what you want, and you may be right, but unless it’s yours…zip it. And if it’s yours…zip it until you get home. Everyone smelled the funny smell, but it was attributed to heat or ignored outright, for fear of being seen as rude or irreverent.


But the change in taste? Couldn’t be ignored. Especially after one got sick. And then another. And another.  All told several hundred people died from the Aldgate Pump. The water was found to have liquid human remains which seeped into the underground stream from nearby cemeteries. The fortifying calcium was from decaying bones.


It literally killed the citizens and shamed the community, adding to the perception of squalor and hopelessness in London’s East End. The monument remains, the once ornate spicket and spout still affixed. You can even go by and press the brass button. But no water comes out.  The source was a fraud and the supply corrupted.


Now, let’s talk about churches.


We have some pumps of death among us. I know this because we can easily spot the sick from the poisoned wells. The foul and fumes we ignored for various reasons of couth and courtesy, that all put perception ahead of people. Now we see the sick and dying—the thirsty that are never quenched, the empty that are never filled, the dry and brittle longing for life. All gather round a fount with empty cups and hands, begging for sips of cyanide. Forgetting they could have been filled with the Spirit.


Stately monuments with brass buttons that get mashed and mashed but draw nothing afresh. Once a glory, now for ghost stories.


Check your source, people.  Only one gives life.

The surface streams all run bad eventually. Dig deeper.


I was going to tell you that there is no such thing as a well-watered tree that does not bear fruit, but that’s not true. It happens. There are several reasons, like injury, insect, or frost. But those are external enemies. There is also one internal reason—improper tree vigor. Over vigorous trees use all their energy growing big and tall but fail to conserve enough energy to flower or bloom.


Now let’s talk about churches.



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