In 1895, Booker T. Washington delivered a speech before the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta that later came to be known as the “Atlanta Compromise.” His address was one of the most important and influential speeches in American history, establishing Washington as one of the leading black spokesmen in America.
In the speech, he tells this story:
A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: “Water, water. We die of thirst.” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time, the signal, “Water, send us water!” went up from the distressed vessel. And was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A third and fourth signal for water was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.
Often times we are dissatisfied with some aspect of our lives; we keep looking for an opportunity to make our lives better elsewhere. Perhaps we simply need to “let down our buckets were we are.”