(The Samaritan Woman) - CS1045
“If thou knewest the gift of God, and Who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” (John 4: 10)
Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen!
In the service celebrating the Samaritan Woman, St. Photini, Christ reaches across the gap between Heavenly Life and earthly existence to touch the heart of this lowly Samaritan woman who has come to draw water from Jacob’s well near Sychar. It is a lively exchange. He draws her forth from the waters of this world to the waters of the Blessed world to come, and now is in the present wherever He is. In this He offers her “living water” which cannot fade or be diminished.
What are Living Waters?
What then is this living water? First of all in its most basic form on earth this refers to water that comes from a moving source such as a spring or artesian well, not from a cistern or stagnant pool. This living water is taken as it flows, and is a fountain of renewal and liveliness. It indicates a source that is both self-contained and hidden, and continuously moving. As movement is a sign of living things, so this water is a sign of living nourishment for thirsty souls.
Spiritually, the Fathers and Saints of the Church have seen that this water is the quickening gift of the Holy Spirit, as we are parched in our human nature, dry and barren because of sins and the influence of evil. Through the waters of baptism, we enter the living waters of the Jordan with Christ, and die and rise with Him, and then through Chrismation receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because the human body is composed of more than 50% water, it is naturally easily influenced by spiritual blessings imparted through water, including the use of Holy Water when imbibed.
How can we drink Living Waters?
We all thirst every day. We need earthly water to live and to think properly, to grow, to digest, to eliminate waste, and to retain the proper functioning of every bodily system. This is more essential even than food. In a more elevated sense, we also thirst often spiritually, although this is frequently experienced as a restless yearning for something more, as what we hope for in a worldly sense is never completely satisfying, or not so for very long.
With practice in self-restraint, we can gain a sensitivity to an inner awareness and need for the Eternal connection to the living experience of God and His Kingdom now in our lives. This is not just for other people. We all need to touch this to satisfy our deepest and most cherished needs and hopes. Christ invites us to come to Him and drink from this everlasting fountain of Immortality, Which is God Himself. Only Christ Our God can satisfy us completely.
When we live with the constant thankful awareness of Christ in our lives, then we begin to imbibe Him more and more, and drinking these waters they quicken us and make our hearts bubble forth life too. We become living icons of the Living God Who came down to save us from sins and then make us holy. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature....” (Peter 2, 1:4)
Although this is not easy or automatic, it is certainly possible. Let us together then ask God for the blessings of Living Water in our lives, and the strength to cleanse our hearts from all forms of selfish thoughts and actions, living in constant expectation that the Lord of Life is real, and here, and present now. If we begin with what we can do, He will do the rest with us and give us the strength and ability to do so.
Common Monastic Building - Spring 2012
The Abundance of Life here this Spring
The warm weather of this March has returned this May to make the grass grow, the trees completely bud, and the flowers spring up. The birds are bountifully back with bright song and much beauty. The green has moved from the early Spring green to a fuller and deeper shade seen in late Spring and early Summer. The skies are blue with alternating white and grey clouds sailing above, and there are starry cooler nights after the afternoon’s warmth. It is delightful to walk about on the newly cut grass and take in the plentiful beauty all around us.
As of yet, the bugs have not come out in number, so there is nothing to disturb the sights, sounds, smells, and breezes of late Spring wafting around us now.
There is a innate harmony of man and nature when we begin to live a deeper spiritual life in tune with the Creator of all. We become attuned to the rhythm of time, seasons, plants and animals that surround us, ever moving in the cycles of life. In the quietness of semi-hermitic life of the ancient Skete dwellers, there was a renewal of all of the inward senses and sensibilities. In a life of inward prayer, our outer life and inward life are blended and tuned together. This is a conscious goal of our Skete: to live more fully in this outward and inward harmony.
Our Current Projects
There are two current projects that we are asking you now to help complete. The first is, interestingly, related to the theme of “living waters.” In the back Skete valley we have been hauling water for years, for although we live in a place of many springs, we haven’t found one yet near the Common Monastic Building. To provide water for the present and future, even though quite earthly, we want to have a well drilled so that we would have a source of water for our everyday needs.
Site Cleared for Digging the New Well
A generous donor has offered up to $5,000 in matching funds to dig the well, install the pump, bring the water into the building, and set up the water distribution system with a pressure tank, costing about $12,000 all together. Right now your contribution has double power to give us this water. This is essential for us to live more of our life in the back. Won’t you help us now get water for our life? Your contributions are tax deductible.
The second project is the tiling of the floor in the dining room of the Common Monastic Building. You have helped us finish the back office, pantry, and tool room. It is very beautiful and gracious. Thank you for your help. It is the first room completed in this building. Just last week the sheet rocking, painting, floor tiling and shelving were done in the back room, and we set up the shelves, desks, and moveable tool compartments. You can see how well everything fits together.
We already have, by your generosity, all of the floor tile, and only need the wall trim, which will just cost $800. This tile installation will cost $2,500, moving us one step closer to the completion of this wonderful building. To get this all set up by Winter, we need to continue to move forward this Spring. Please help us keep our momentum going now.
Looking East: Floor Tiling and Trim are Being Installed
Same View: Floor Tiling and Trim are Finished
Back Room: Tools and Office Desks in Place
Back Room: New Food Storage Shelves to Office Area
Office Desk Units Put in Place
West View: Dining Room Open
to Begin New Tile Installation
Looking East: Opened Dining Room Area
Ready to Start Tiling
Thank you for being a part of our lives! We feel connected through mutual prayer and timely concerns. Please write to us and let us know your prayerful needs and the challenges of your life. Keep us in your daily prayers. We remember you often. May the Lord of Abundance, the Lord of Life, and the Giver of Living Waters give us abundance in all things helpful for our souls and lives. Amen. You are close to us, stay in touch.
God bless you and keep you in His Holy Name,
Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The monastics of St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and the Convent of St. Silouan,
and the community at St. Nicholas Church
Click for Donations Page
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Your donations are tax deductible.