The Stone Soup Parable

 

Many years ago, I heard an old folk story that had a tremendous impact on me. The origin of the story has military roots, but I saw the story much differently. I remember it well to this day, though with a far greater meaning than just a physical one. Father taught me that whatever we see in the physical, we can be sure there exists a greater reality in the spiritual, and that reality is Christ. This story took on a greater meaning in my eyes, because I could see the body of Christ within it. The Stone Soup Parable hid within my heart until this day, and time now comes calling for me to share it with you.

The Divided
The Stone Soup Parable happened a long time ago, in an age without the internal combustion engine, without trains and without electronics. It was an age of simplicity, where village communities lived off the natural bounty of the land together.

After years of little rainfall, there came a famine upon the land. In village after village, the people appeared thin, gaunt and somber from malnourishment, barely surviving. The greater the hunger, the more people came to distrust one another. The more the villagers distrusted one another, the more they became isolated from one another, even though they saw each other in the village often. The villagers rarely spoke to one another, except for brief pleasantries in passing.

Pangs of hunger permeated the villages, like a fire spreads in the wind. Because of the desperate need for nourishment, the villagers thought that what they had individually, should be guarded and reserved. Each individual hid their portion of food, afraid to share because they thought they would have nothing for themselves and die of starvation. A lack of trust for one another and a reclusive fear of the unknown, divided and conquered. The villagers became unhealthy due to eating only what their individual blessing in the land provided. The people separated, unwilling to share their individual food portions.

The Traveler
Rumors began to sweep the land about the Traveler who went about from village to village. Everywhere he traveled he brought only an old, empty pot. Rumor had it that this Traveler appeared from out of nowhere, and somehow created food wherever he went. Of course, nobody believed in the Traveler rumors; it was utter nonsense, nothing more than a childish tale. The people became extremely leery of strangers, because they had been tricked in the past, and lost the use of the blessings in the land that supplied them nourishment.

One day, the Traveler actually came to a small village called The Living Stones, carrying nothing more than an old, black, empty, cooking pot, and a large stone, which he carried in a big leather pouch upon his back. The Traveler dressed in ordinary clothes, in fact, he seemed as ordinary as anyone else in the village, except that he had an apparently healthy and well-nourished body.

The Traveler walked in an easy, casual pace into The Living Stones village. He was a common man with kind, brown eyes and a gentle, knowing smile. The villagers peeked out quietly as the Traveler entered the village square. The Traveler stood in the middle of the square, turning his head slightly to look upon the village. As he looked around, the villagers saw upon his face, an unusual compassion, an overwhelming love seemed to gleam from his eyes. It was as if an uncommon peace surrounded him. The villagers began to ask themselves, “Could this be the Traveler we heard about? Could the Traveler rumors be true?” From this single thought the people became curious. They dared to grab hold of a new spark of hope in their hearts.

The Foundation Stone
The Traveler walked slowly down to the flowing stream carrying the big kettle. He then began to build a fire, right there in the middle of the village square, and sat the pot in the fire. The Traveler took the large stone from the leather pouch and laid it on the bottom of the pot. The Traveler knelt down and gazed upon the stone, watching the fire heat the waters to the boiling point.

The Villagers
A bold and tall young man with blond, straight hair and blue eyes walked up to the cooking pot and peeked inside. The young man then introduced himself to the Traveler, as Danny. Danny said to the Traveler, “Sir, I thought maybe you had food, but all I see is water and a large stone cooking in that pot. What are you going to eat?” The Traveler looked up at Danny and smiled as he said, “I am going to eat stone soup. If I had some potatoes it would taste much better. Would you like to join me?” Danny’s face displayed the shock he felt when the Traveler made the statement about the potatoes, because potatoes were just what Danny was hiding from everyone. Danny agreed to join the Traveler, but first ran back to get his potatoes to add to the soup.

The same thing happened with each villager. One by one, they came to look into the kettle to see the big stone, joining the Traveler and their friends. Soon, all were gathered together staring into the kettle at the large stone and all the ingredients that were added that day. Each villager had a great value to contribute to the stony soup, which had become a meal.

Together, they took the first taste of the stony soup. They ate a well-balanced meal because they had come together, each bringing their portion ─ a bountiful feast for the whole village. They thought that they were the poorest of the poor, because they could not see what they possessed together. In each village, where the Traveler went, The Stone Soup Parable is told, even today. For generations, the villagers continue in the way of the Traveler. The Traveler appears in communities throughout the earth, even Today.

Real Food and Real Drink
The body, every part, finds nourishment in food. It takes all the ingredients, all blessings,  to have a full and well-balanced meal together. Each part must bring something to the table in order for the meal to be complete. There is a great famine in the land today, and many are hungry and alone. Christ draws out the Gift that each part of the body supplies for the nourishment of all. Fear not, because real food and real drink is Jesus Christ. Let’s not starve within the famine of individualism and isolation, but let’s live Christ, our Life.

The Eyes That See
The Traveler saw the bounty of Life in the villages. In each villager was the beauty of Life, the Gift of gifts, Life Himself, Jesus Christ. Seeing Christ in one another and gathering together to share Christ’s expression is the meal we long to eat.

Christ In You
Holy ones of Christ, I want to tell you something. Do you know that the love in Christ is so evident upon your faces that one must stop and stare until almost breathless, upon first meeting you dear saints? So magnificent are your faces, and your hearts, that I could just melt away. It is like that with all the holy precious ones in Christ, so much so, that I am humbled beyond the meaning of the word. I love to look upon your faces, because I see the face of Christ. And when I look into your eyes, I see the Light of Life. And when I hear your voices expressing Christ, I hear the voice of Christ. I never cease to be blown away by the awesome beauty of Christ in His saints. Words seem inadequate and meager when looking upon true Beauty, Christ in you.

The endless expressions of Christ are in and through His body. When we cannot see Christ in one another, we cannot see Christ.

Kat Huff,
February 23, 2012

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45 Comments on “The Stone Soup Parable”

  1. Jon Zens Says:

    A wonderful story, Kat! The thought that came to me was how Danny could look at the rock and the boiling water and view it as somewhat boring, but the Traveler could elicit what was latent in the villagers and turn it into an exciting meal!

    Reply

    • Kat Huff Says:

      Jon,

      Thanks for commenting! It is always amazing to me how the simplest expressions can hold a great meaning. Christ’s expression is not complicated. It is the its, things, ands, ifs, and buts that we try to add that are the complications.

      Reply

  2. Jayne Otterson Says:

    With your words, you have painted a picture that is powerful and beautiful! If we as believers could only fully understand this…it would make for a powerful revival among us which we all so desperately need.

    Reply

  3. Kim Hallford Says:

    I love the seeing of Christ in this story! I’ve never seen it before. So there it is, this story played out today. I received a meal today through you Kat! Love you and thanks for this beautiful post!

    Reply

  4. Pam Frazier Says:

    Great post sis! I love this parable, I have heard it before and it is just as powerful now as it was then! It is so true that many are alone, including me. It is a hard road. The real food of Christ now I have in isolation. How can I be complete without all the ingredients? A partial meal. Christ in you Kat, is so beautiful to see. You are a great encourager. We, the body desperately need the revival that Jayne speaks of. Eyes and hearts to be opened. I have faith that it will happen. Love you, and thank you Kat for this gift today.

    Reply

  5. Lindy Combs Says:

    Very powerful, Kat. Sometimes we just do not see what we do have to bring to the “pot of stone soup” for the edification of The Body. This is fodder for meditation. I doubt that one reading will be enough for me.

    Reply

    • Kat Huff Says:

      Lindy,

      First, I want to thank you for commenting! When I first read your comment my brain registered the word “meditation” as medication. Funny, but then I thought when the body is sick it needs Soup.

      Reply

  6. Jamal Jivanjee Says:

    Absolutely stunning. Two things amaze me.

    1. The Lord, in His sovereignty, saw fit to make sure you heard this story many years ago. There is a reason for this:)

    2. This story is the best parable of what it looks like for a worker to go to a place and unlock Christ in the saints so they can function together. What a picture of church planting! Thank you for writing this sister. What a tremendous gift you are giving to us:)

    Reply

    • Kat Huff Says:

      Jamal,

      Thanks for your comment. It was back in the upper 80’s when I heard the stone soup folk story. It stayed with me in a most powerful way since that day. I never read about it, nor wrote about it, nor even spoke about it, but it was always there, always in my heart, always present.

      Regarding the #2 part of your comment: I love your insight, brother.

      Reply

  7. Cheryl Eager Says:

    Thank you for this. It is a beautiful story and application… beautiful like our Christ and Christ in you. :)

    Reply

  8. Anthony Says:

    In the beginning you write “It was an age of simplicity, where village communities lived off the natural bounty of the land together.” Maybe we could say for today, “in the age of complexity the church can live off the supernatural bounty of Christ together.”

    Thank you Father for a well balanced diet and for all those who are have received from you and are willing to share.

    Reply

  9. krackerjacked Says:

    “Father taught me that whatever we see in the physical, we can be sure there exists a greater reality in the spiritual, and that reality is Christ.”
    YES!!! He’s teaching me this too! He’s catching my attention everywhere I go!
    Funny thing about this story, I work at an Indie bookstore and I am head of children’s books. I have had this book (Stone Soup) pass through my hands everyday at work this past week….no kidding! Today, as I am sorting books, I had the book in my hand and the impression came to ‘read the story’. I got sidetracked and reading the story didn’t happen….. until your blog appeared on my facebook page from a friend (Frank Viola, never met the guy but he’s my friend, I just know it).
    Thanks for sharing this…..I am sweetly humbled and confident that I am hearing Papa!!

    Reply

    • Kat Huff Says:

      Krackerjacked,

      Thanks for commenting. Absolutely, He is everywhere if our eyes are open to see Him.

      I heard that story many years ago, and the version I heard was the common folk tale. I took a glance online at the book you mentioned. The book you referred to is a story about soldiers coming to a town/village and it is quite different in meaning than The Stone Soup Parable, but the original folk tale does have military roots.

      Reply

      • krackerjacked Says:

        Heather Forest has a retold version where there are two travelers instead of one in the version you have heard. But I do believe it is similar to the one you heard.

      • Kat Huff Says:

        Krackerjacked,
        The story I heard is not the story I wrote here, but rather how I saw the story in my heart. Though, they could be similar. I have not read any of the stories. Thank you for the information, I found it interesting that you wanted to read that story yesterday, and yesterday I posted The Stone Soup Parable. Awesome!

  10. Michael Young Says:

    I’m simply speechless….wow. Good one.

    Reply

  11. jojospencer1 Says:

    Freakin Awesome. Proud of ya, sis.

    Reply

  12. Josh Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Kat. Beautiful illustration.

    Reply

  13. Ron Kellington Says:

    Kat, as I read and started to hear what was being said in parable… it’s like, he who has ears to hear, …. I thought the picture that came into my view was one of the clearest that I’ve seen in some time of our Lord’s heart for us, members of His Body… Very encouraging! Thanks so much.

    Reply

  14. Clark Says:

    Beautiful, beautiful story Kat that really does illustrate so powerfully the presence of Jesus Christ in and among us as the Hope of Glory. We often think our little gift is so poor, but what rich fare when shared in the community of saints. What hearty tasting and eating, savoring and enjoyment is there at the banquet table of Christ, face to face and heart to heart. It is in such times that we experience the truth of our Lord’s words: “And I will love him and will show Myself to him” and “unless You eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life In you.” We are spellbound and satisfied by His Presence, His Presence that we can not only “see” but “taste” and “drink.”
    .

    Reply

    • Kat Huff Says:

      Clark,

      Thank you for commenting. Yes, Christ in us is beautiful and powerful, and when we come together as a whole to express Him, that can be mind blowing. Awesome comment!

      Reply

  15. Clark Says:

    And I loved all of the comments from all of you, but I was especially struck Jamal by your observation: “This story is the best parable of what it looks like for a worker to go to a place and unlock Christ in the saints so they can function together. What a picture of church planting!” So true Jamal. I think of all the books I’ve read on apostolic church planting and this parable is a real “eye/heart opener.” And with you, I also say “Thank you for writing this sister. What a tremendous gift you are giving to us.”

    Reply

  16. Quincy Zikmund Says:

    Amazing story. Such a beautiful picture of the absolute need we have for each other in Christ and the importance of sharing Him. We all have a portion of Christ but together we have all of Him. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  17. miltrodriguez Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this simple yet powerful parable! Isn’t it amazing how the Lord has designed things? As you said, we cannot see Him apart from one another. Also, we cannot eat Him apart from one another because each of us has ingredients needed for the Soup, who is this wonderfully glorious corporate Christ! If we could just grasp and then experience this one truth it would revolutionize the way we see Him and the way we see one another.

    Reply

  18. Kat Huff Says:

    Milt,

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

    I whole-heartedly agree with you! It will happen, because He will have His expression, no doubt about that, my brother.

    Reply

  19. Will Rochow Says:

    What a beautiful story, Kat. Reminds me that, just as Danny inspired the rest of his village, it often just takes one to inspire the rest of us. I’m inspired. Blessings :)

    Reply

  20. Lynn Wenzel Says:

    Beautiful Kat. You have a gift of “writing” that can only come by/through Jesus! I am also reminded that when we cannot know LOVE in one another we do not see Christ. May we bear the greatest Fruit of all which is LOVE to come forth in one another, through one another as we continually “hear” Jesus! ….Faith comes by “hearing” and hearing by the Word of God.”…Whom is living, and present and active! ….May His life become apparent in and through ALL of His body all by the power of His life!

    Reply

  21. Seth Says:

    This parable was so pleasant and nourishing to read. Thank you

    Reply

  22. kateshrewsday Says:

    Great story on my first visit to your blog :-) And what a nod to humanity: the traveller provided a catalyst to draw the villagers out from their self-centred misery. So often, we homo sapiens need a little something to point us in the right direction, and our loving father gives it to us. So few of us are truly altruistic when we are very needy. I look at stories of those who gave even in the concentration camps of the second world war and think: only with the Spirit’s help. I pray that if I am ever in that situation I shall be the one with the bowl and the stone.

    Reply

  23. Wayne Says:

    Thanks Kat!!!! That was wonderful. We are hoping to serve Stone Soup at our Good Friday luncheon and would love to share this story with the congregation as an introduction. Will that be ok with you? It will be nice if we can include it as an insert. Let me know.

    Reply

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