Quite a few years ago, many residents in one section of the town where I live were stunned to learn that they had been drinking stolen water. I was one of them. The water supply district in my section had helped to keep water bills low by literally stealing water from a large neighboring city. They did this by manipulating equipment that measured the amount of water the town was buying from that city. Besides the cost of repaying the debt, many people – including me – were distressed over the dishonesty. Some felt helpless over being tarred by actions they had not approved.
It was tempting to stay in that mental state, but I turned to prayer. Christ Jesus’ teaching makes clear that God loves all of us, and that we are spiritual. This meant I could trust that truthfulness, a quality of God that we express, would prevail. I also recalled Isaiah’s prophecy on the coming of Christ that said, “the government shall be upon his shoulder” (9:6). I saw that God governs His creation, and Christ, Truth, reveals His government on earth.
From a human standpoint, truth sometimes seems to depend on one’s perspective. But the teachings of Christian Science have shown that spiritual truth rests on God’s law, which maintains good and destroys evil. Divine Truth inspires honest actions, showing us what is right. Praying in this way helped me to see that we are all made to be truthful and that honestly seeking what is right would reveal a solution. I realized that this line of thinking even embraced the people who did wrong. Seeing them as God-governed and capable of correcting their ways helped me to think lovingly about them, while still recognizing that they had to obey the law.
Christian Science Founder Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help. You uncover sin, not in order to injure, but in order to bless the corporeal man; and a right motive has its reward” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 453).
That certainly proved to be true as the situation in my part of town was worked out. A public meeting was held for all residents in the district. I went both to listen and to pray. The employees’ resistance to admitting wrongdoing was palpable, but residents truly wanted honest behavior and insisted on it. In the end, steps were outlined that could begin to resolve the issue. Not long after, new people were put in charge of the district and a plan for paying our water bill to the city was in place.
For me, this was a very inspiring experience because it showed me that Truth does prevail and that active prayer for my community can support healing outcomes. It also helped me see the value of praying for all levels of government. And this prayer always reminds me on Whose shoulder the outcome actually depends.