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Water from a Deep Well

by Gerald Sittser

In Rome in A.D. 165, two men named Car­pus and Papy­lus stood before the pro­con­sul of Perga­mum, charged with the crime of being Chris­tians. Not even tor­ture could make them deny Christ, so they were burned alive. Is my faith­ful­ness as strong? In the fifth cen­tu­ry, Mela­nia the Younger and her hus­band, Pin­ian, dis­trib­uted their enor­mous wealth to the poor and inten­tion­al­ly prac­ticed the dis­ci­pline of renun­ci­a­tion. Could liv­ing more sim­ply deep­en my trust in God? In the six­teen hun­dreds, Philipp Jakob Spen­er’s love for the Word of God and his desire to help peo­ple apply the Bible to their life moved him to start Col­leges of Piety,” or small groups. In what ways could com­mit­ment to com­mu­ni­ty make me more like Christ? The his­to­ry of the church has shaped what our faith and prac­tice are like today. It’s tempt­ing to think that the way we do things now is best, but his­to­ry also has much to teach us about what we’ve for­got­ten. In Water from a Deep Well, Ger­ald Sittser opens to us the rich his­to­ry of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, let­ting us gaze at the prac­tices and sto­ries of believ­ers from the past who had the same thirst for God that we do today. As we see their deep faith through his vibrant nar­ra­tives, we may dis­cov­er that old ways can bring new life to our own spirituality.


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