header-photo

Friday, April 10, 2009

Carrying water

I didn't go to Good Friday service today. I'm not sure why - I guess I just didn't feel motivated to sit in a church "pew" for an hour. Instead I stayed home, had a hot bath, went for a couple of walks, made butternut squash soup... and painted.

I've been longing to paint ever since I finished my watercolour class, but it's hard to find uninterrupted time in this busy life. Marcel took Maddy to his Mom and Dad's for awhile, so it was a great opportunity to zone out and get lost in the watercolours.

I've wanted to paint this photo from my trip to Bangladesh since I finished my last painting. It actually fits in nicely with my last post, because the photo was taken within minutes of the two photos on the last post. As we were standing there on the bank watching the fish jump, I turned and spotted this woman walking home carrying her water jugs. It was a magical moment... silver fish jumping, a luscious green landscape, and a woman wrapped in her sari carrying one of those beautiful water jugs I kept wanting to take home with me.
As I painted, I went to that meditative place my mind always takes me when I pick up a paint brush. Gradually, the woman became for me the woman at the well to whom Jesus spoke. That's one of my favourite Jesus stories. In two simple actions - speaking to her (despite the fact that she was a woman who was a lower social status than him and conversation with her was taboo), and asking her for water (despite the fact that she was unclean and he should not have touched her let alone drink water from her jug) - Jesus did an amazing thing. He declared her to be worthy, beautiful, and of value to him. She was a sinful, shameful, disgraced woman who believed what she had always been told by the culture around her - that she was unworthy. Yet here was a man who swept all that aside, and asked her to follow her calling - to be of service and to believe in her own value.

Stories like this remind me why I am still a Christ-follower, despite my many questions and doubts. When I don't have all of the answers, I am reminded that I can live without them as long as I seek to live a little more like Christ. I want to be the kind of person who inspires and challenges people to believe in themself, be of service, and trust that they have value and beauty. I want to see the gem beneath the rough exterior and trust that the truth of that person is in the gem, not in the garbage that hides it.

*******
On a somewhat unrelated note (though deeply connected), this makes me really sad. If Christ values the woman at the well, why would people who call themselves Christ-followers react in fear of people who are different from them? Why does it threaten their lives if other people simply want to live in peace with the ones they love? Christ didn't tell the woman she had to begin following some restrictive list of rules and codes of morality, he simply invited her to see her value. I wish that we could all do the same.

*******
When I was almost finished painting, Maddy returned and wanted to join me. Because I'd had the blessing of some quiet time without her, I was agreeable. I was rather pleased with her lovely rendition of Spring...*******
And the category of "Spring is busting out all over" here are some fun Spring pictures I took today. Today's weather felt so hopeful. I hope it's not just an illusion.

5 comments:

Liz said...

Heather, you've really found quite a talent deep within you. That painting is amazing! I just may have to commission something from you!

sarah said...

I love your painting. My mom is a painter (from the time I was a child; she used oil years ago so our house always seemed to have a faint smell of it for those years). Such a beautiful story - the woman at the well. Odd that I never thought of it as you tell (personalized it); love that too!

Pamela said...

your painting is lovely.
makes me feel guilty -- but I'm finding the ability to paint sort of like your aversion to sitting on the pew on friday.....

I like the tulips, maddy!

Anvilcloud said...

Great painting by both of you. I wrote a comment about the article you referred to and had uncharitable comments to make about the situation but decided to try to be bigger than that. I think we all need to spend more time at the well.

vicki said...

i can't find your email. I have too many personal comments for here.

This inspires me. Your work inspires me. Inspires me to do more, to take time, to not be discouraged.