Marvin was a deeply spiritual man, a seeker of truth. He went to synagogue every week for years, but eventually realized his soul needed more than Judaism could give him. He tried Buddhism, Christianity, a wide assortment of New Age religions, but he still felt spiritually empty.
One day, he heard about a great guru living atop the highest mountain in India who had all the answers. He sold all his worldly possessions, bid goodbye to his friends and family, and headed east. Once on the subcontinent, he learned that the guru would agree to see only one person a year and that person would be allowed to ask only one question. There were many other truth-seekers ahead of Marvin, so he had to wait nearly twenty years to see the great man. During that time, he lived in poverty, at the base of the mountain begging and doing menial tasks. When his turn finally came, he made the perilous journey up the snow-covered mountain, and waited for a week in the freezing cold in front of a cave, until the guru emerged.
"What is your question, my son?" the guru asked.
Marvin had been rehearsing this for years, and said, "Oh, wise one… What is the meaning of life?"
"Life, my son," said the guru ponderously, "is a deep well."
Marvin's jaw dropped open. He could not control his shock and anger. He screamed at the guru, "'Life is a deep well?' That's it? I've given up everything I owned, abandoned my friends and family, spent years living in abject poverty, even lost my toes to frostbite getting up here, and that's the best you can do? 'Life is a deep well?!'"
The guru looks at him quizzically. "What? You mean it isn't?"