Broken Cisterns and Living Water

A friend, Judy, recently texted me about a video she watched on the Bible story of the Woman At The Well. Since this story has captured my heart deeply, and I’ve got a collaged art book in the process of being published on the subject, I asked for a link to the video. I enjoy finding out new things about any Bible story; each story is so multi-faceted. I don’t think any of us can exhaust finding treasures in just about any Biblical narrative. But this one, well, it’s very special to me.


The teacher in the video, Lysa Turkheurst, was standing right in front of the famous well – Jacob’s Well. It is now within a plastered and fresco decorated room, religious paintings hanging all around, I guess for tourists. It was nice to see the real well, or cistern, for myself. It sure did not look like the well in my arid desert scene in my collaged book! However, Lysa explained cisterns in a way I had never understood before. Cisterns had to be plastered in order to really hold water and be a well. If the plaster cracked, then the water could leak out. Cisterns needed constant upkeep so the water wouldn’t leak out.

Jacob’s Well where Jesus and the Samaritan woman met.

Jesus offers the woman “Living Water” springing up to eternal life. His offer is so radically different from an old well that constantly needs patching! He’s offering a spring of flowing water, not a well that can crack, leak and constantly remain on one’s repair list. This information greatly helps in understanding Jesus’ offer to the woman, and this gem of a verse in Jeremiah: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13 Had she heard that verse? Was she putting it all together?

I had made the woman, with a collaged dress, that looks like it has holes, because I wanted to speak of her holes or the broken places in her heart. She was trying to fill her holes with many relationships. This way of life is her “broken cistern” she’s been trying to plaster over.  Jesus doesn’t want to plaster over her holes, but wants to captivate her heart with an entirely transformative strategy – springs of living water.


There is just so much in this epic love story. How kind of God to gently show me yet another facet to His planned encounter with the woman at the well!

And, it’s making me think about the cisterns in my life. When I spend hours and hours in bed resting because of the chemo pill, I cry out to God to be my spring of Living Water, or where I find my source of life. I sense His closeness in new ways as I drift in and out of sleep. When I get up and start moving, almost immediately there is a temptation to find my source of life in my doing. Making a painting. Collaging a new book. Getting a project going. Fighting cancer with a new and different smoothie.  I’m so American! My worth gets all entangled with doing something. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do, it just will not satisfy my deepest longings for love, worth and value by putting hope for those in my doing. 

Then, I end up back in bed, and I lie there calling out to God. I’m spending eternity with Him, so perhaps many hours with Him, in and out of sleep, before I pass on, may be just where He wants me.



Collaged Books – Peru

I made a sample of a Psalm 23 book in order to leave it with the leader in Peru. I did not bring my original, but I was happy to collage another accordion book in response to Psalm 23. Women may process their own stories while collaging Psalm 23. I pray this sample book will spur on many women in sharing their stories and God’s story of redemption.
Here is Eisleen when she and I painted papers in Peru for her to use in collaging her own books. What a fun day in Peru!
Lots of water and several colors of paint!
We painted a variety of colors so Eisleen will have a nice supply.
I use collaged art books to teach and convey Jesus’ heart for women. (I could only do this work with my amazing translators! Thank you, Flor!) This book is the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well found in the Gospels.

Eisleen is planning on using collaged art books to teach the women she leads in Peru. She recently created two pages of a book she is working on to tell the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery.

Eisleen’s first two pages of her book. I look forward to seeing her completed book.


What Are You Thinking?

I asked the middle school students I taught in Romania to collage what they were thinking.
I had the students draw their faces or themselves as best as they could, and then add a giant thinking bubble above their heads. Then they glued down pictures from magazines that represented what they were thinking.
Here I am with several students as they find magazine pictures for their thinking bubbles.
The artwork may be a springboard for sharing stories, or to just start a conversation, and possibly have a time of prayer.

Story Collage – What Is It?

cross collages_example


I have updated a “page” on my website in order to explain cross collage projects that can be used as a bridge for story. The above collage ties in with the study of Gideon’s life. I ask participants 4 questions that they will respond to by collaging. They are:

• When were you gripped with fear?
• When did you feel very alone?
• When did you feel very small?
• How does God see you?

Check out the full post here:

Our own life is the thing that most influences and shapes our outlook, our tendencies, our choices and our decisions. It is the force that orients us toward the future, and yet we don’t give it a second thought, much less a careful examination. It’s time to listen to our own story.” – Dan Allender, To Be Told