Friday 21 September 2012

The Woman at the Well Strikes Again

The biblical story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well seems to crop up over and over in my life. It must have a special meaning for me. I recall being at a ministers' conference in Queensland where we were invited to choose a picture that signified how we felt about our calling to ministry. I was drawn immediately to a painting of a woman looking down a well. I think that could have been the moment when the well became a vital part of who I was and who I was becoming.

About a year later, I chose this very same reading to be part of my ordination service. Two friends acted out the story (see the picture below) and Marion preached on the passage. I don't know that I understood, even then, the impact that this story has had on me. 

About a month ago, I was at another church gathering and a colleague was leading a workshop on the use of the visual in worship. She had various artworks, cloths, and other resources on display, but I was captured by a painting she had of a woman looking down a well. I now realize that this was the same picture that I chose a few years earlier as a symbol of my calling. My colleague must have seen how captivated I was by the print and gifted it to me at the end of the day.

And here it is again! At our Quiet Day on Wednesday Ruth gave us a piece to read from "A Tree Full of Angels" by Macrina Weiderkehr. It was like reading a letter from a familiar friend. I particularly enjoyed the section that reflected on a few verses towards the end of the story where the two are talking about the place of worship. Macrina Weiderkehr says,

"What a revelation! The hour is coming when you will worship out of who you are. The hour is coming when you will realize that the spirit and the truth live within you. You are a portable chapel. Remember the sanctuary within. You carry God wherever you go."

A portable chapel - what a beautiful image. It is in every encounter that we find the divine, not in special places that are to be kept holy.

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