And he went into the marketplace and started teaching the people: “Look at this example of what is happening. Our master has already said that each well should have a protective wall. He is always right, but people have not listened to the master and they are suffering.”
Then a Christian missionary looked into the well and the man said, “It seems my death is certain. Today no layman is coming to the side of the well! Now you will teach me your gospel!”
But the Christian said, “Don’t be worried.” Out of his bag he pulled a rope, threw the rope in, told the man to tie the rope around his waist and he would pull him out. The man was surprised – no metaphysics, no religion. He was pulled out, he was very thankful. He fell at his feet and he said, “You are the only really religious person! But only one curiosity – how come you were carrying a rope in your bag?”
He said, “We always keep all kinds of arrangements with us. Who knows what opportunity will arise to serve? – because service is religion and it is through serving people that one can reach to heaven. I am not concerned with you,” said the missionary, “my concern is with my own place in heaven. Now I have scored! In fact, I am grateful to you. Go on falling in! Help us poor missionaries to serve you. Go on teaching that to your children and don’t listen to these Confucian people who say that every well needs a wall to protect it. If every well has a wall, nobody will fall in and then how are we going to save people? And without saving people there is no way to heaven. Go on falling into wells, go on making wells without walls. Teach your children to fall in, because unless we serve you there is no way to God!”
Don’t laugh at it – this is the real situation. Just think: if there were no poverty in India, no orphans, no paralyzed people, no people suffering from leprosy, where would Mother Teresa of Calcutta be? Then no Nobel Prize either. These people are needed to create a Mother Teresa. These missionaries will not like a world where all are rich, happy.
Bertrand Russell used to say – and I agree with him absolutely – that much of religion will disappear if the world becomes rich, people are healthy, people live long lives, people’s lives are joyous; much of religion will disappear. It is true because much of religion depends on all these things; particularly Christianity depends on all these things.
Now, that bishop in London is saying that Mother Teresa is doing great work. But how will you do great work if poor people are no longer there, if blind people are not there, if lepers are not there? What are you going to do? The missionaries will be at a loss! You have to keep this world in the same misery and mess as it is in. Just think of the poor missionaries, otherwise they will be nowhere.