Every time we drink a glass of water, we say thank you to a well, to the mystery of water deep underground, and the marvels of human engineering. We receive a gift - life-giving water “welling up” from the depths.
For the first time in all my decades of doing a ministry of Blue Theology (ocean stewardship and spirituality) I’ll be preaching in a few weeks about wells. Sure, I mostly focus on saltwater. But water is water.
You preachers know I am working with the amazing story of the meeting at a well between an unnamed Samaritan woman and Jesus. They exchange water at what was even then an ancient and hallowed meeting place and source of life. She gives him a drink in the noonday sun. He gives her “living water welling up from the deep” and says she will never thirst again. I like to think they each gifted the other, that both were thirsty, and both went away quenched.
Here’s what I’ve got so far - prayers and suggestions welcome.
-Wells are meeting places, often with and for women. Women are the main drawers and carriers of water worldwide. Many Bible stories tell of women at wells, Hagar, Rebekah and this unnamed woman. Women share stories at wells, quench themselves and others. Who are the women who have drawn and carried water for us?
-Wells often have names - Jacob’s well, Abraham’s. Where I live, 20 families draw from a well that neighbors crafted ourselves 50 years ago (later with professional help.). We first tapped into a local creek and so we still call it the Brandon Creek Mutual Water System.
But we all call other wells by name. Thirsting, like that Samaritan woman, not just for ground water, but spiritual water, living water. What are the names of your living water wells? Church? Prayer? Wise Ones? In the spirit of the letter W, I name my spiritual wells - Wise Words, Women, Worship, Waiting, Walking. When I drink from these waters, it is well with my soul, and with my wells.
-Wells mean abundance, “welling up.” Our curious English language uses the same word, “well,” for a deep water conduit, and “well,” that is, done satisfactorily. Other languages have different words for these two “wells.” But are these two English wells so different? They seem to come from a common root, and “well done” and “drink from the well” both signify abundance, productivity, possibility.
Then of course there are wishing wells. More W’s. Water and wishes. That might be another sermon.
Thanks to all of you for your good “well wishes” to me after my announcement last week of my retirement from the public and program ministry of Blue Theology. Obviously I will still be writing, drawing from so many wondrous wet wells. Stay thirsty, my friends.