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Water from a Deep Well (PB) [Paperback]

Gerald L. Sittser
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 15.99
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Book Description

17 Sep 2010
Gerald L. Sittser carves out a new discipline that blends spirituality and Christian history--spiritual history. He overviews Christian history through the lens of spirituality, looking at what we can learn about the spiritual life from various figures and eras.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: IVP USA (17 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830837450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830837458
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 15 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another good book for anyone interested in the inportant things of life. Keep up the good work. Arrived in very good condition.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Passion for the History of Christian Spirituality 7 Feb 2008
By Jonathan Holderman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Jerry's ability to display his passion for the history of Christian Spirituality is second only to his desire for us to glean wisdom and practice in our spiritual lives through reflection on the saints. His representation, as a whole, of the history of Christian Spirituality is seamless. The written testimony of so many great saints and fathers of "the way" directs us towards the practical outcroppings of our faith in our daily walk with the Lord. History textbooks on this subject are needed and wonderful, but Jerry takes the history of the past and makes it the spiritual workings of the present; were we to lose the Christian foundations that we find in these martyrs and saints, we would be like a man who having climbed to the top of Mt. Everest could not remember his trek up the vast mountainside, but instead stood on the peak and asked his fellow climbers, "how did we get here?"

Jerry's passionate display for history to shape and impede upon us is a refreshing walk in the land of Christian Spirituality. If your feet are weary from the journey, take off your shoes and dip them into this refreshingly crisp deep well that is sure to invigorate your soul.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good summary of different aspects of Christian history 26 Feb 2008
By Peter C. Abraham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I found this to be a good book that covered many different parts of Christian history. It was not dry and technical, but was very engaging and multiple times I found myself putting the book down to reflect what was being said.

Also, since it gave such a warm summary, it spurned me on to use other resources to do a more indepth study of the topics that really interested me. It really help cultivate a passion to engage in my studies, not for the sake of rote, but to embrace and appreciate the different aspects of my Christian faith.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A work I refer to much already in my teaching and personal journey. 23 Oct 2008
By Steve R. Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sitting down to coffee with Dr. Sittser after having read his book confirmed my understanding of a common theme in his book all the more: "drinking from the same well" (p. 295). Sittser claims that though "we will never understand Christian spirituality...unless we grasp the significance of martyrdom" (p. 28), "we all may not be called to martyrdom but we all are called to surrender our lives to God" (p. 31).

Sittser does a balanced service to Christendom by giving us a climpse of the many ways "greats" of the faith have been refreshed from the well--Christ. He provides an informative historical review of martyrs (in death and bloodless) from the Apostolic fathers until recent yet ties it all into the average man and women who have to live their faith in the rush of modernity. An impactful book that will leave you thinking and hopefully to dipping deeper into the well.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read 19 Mar 2009
By Joshua Reich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just finished Gerald Sittser's book Water from a deep well for my next D.Min. class. I have to admit, this is not a book that I would have sought out or even stumbled across in a bookstore, but it is a treasure. This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and that is saying a lot, since I've read a few.

What Sittser does is something that every Christian needs, not just leaders, but everyone who claims to follow Jesus. He gives us a history lesson.

So many of us have no idea about the history of Christianity, why at its heart it is a missionary religion, the passion of those who have gone before, the blood that was spilled for the movement of Jesus to be where it is. It is so rich, so powerful and gives us such passion and enables us to continue following after God to this day.

It starts by looking at martyrs throughout church history. For many of us in the Western world, the idea of dying for your faith is remote, if not a non-thought. But, as "missiologist David B. Barrett estimates 160,000 Christians were martyred in the year 2000 alone. They died that year for the same basic reason they died in the year 155, when Polycarp was marytred, or in 202, when Perpetua was martyred. The early martyrs believed that if Jesus is Lord and the only Savior, then he accepts no rivals - no person or religion or ideology or empire. They affirmed that the Christian faith requires nothing less than a firm and joyful commitment to this conviction. Jesus came as God in human flesh to show the way to God and to be the way to God for us. This is the only Jesus there is. A lesser Jesus is not the real Jesus at all, at least not according to the testimony of the martyrs, from Stephen to the present."

Here are a few things from the book I highlighted:

The only way to understand something is to love it first, that is, to study it with sympathy, patience and appreciation.
That we might not have to die for Christ is irrelevant. How we live for Christ is the real issue.
It is easy to gawk but not learn, listen by not sympathize and thus trivialize what is sacred. These stories are not fanciful, fictional accounts that have been recorded and passed down for our entertainment. The martyrs were real people who did in fact die horribly. They had families and friends, hopes and longings, and they wanted to live a long, peaceful and prosperous life, just like us. They chose to accept death rather than renounce their faith because they believed something was more valuable than the long and happy life for which they longed.
The early church lived by a different ethic, which impressed the very people who suffered the most as victims of Rome's immorality and injustice.
The appeal of Christianity still lay in its radical sense of community: it absorbed people because the individual could drop from a wide impersonal world into a miniature community, whose demands and relations were explicit.
To love all members alike, pastors have to love them all uniquely.
Struggle is normal, necessary and even healthy in the spiritual life. Struggle proves that we are taking the Christian faith seriously.
Mystical spirituality is concerned with one basic question: how can we truly know God?
Preaching is the Word of God only if the sermon itself actually proclaims the Word of God.
This statement summarizes the essence of the book: "The Bible tells the story of human resistance and God's persistence. The story is full of flawed heroes and strange twists of plot, of the wretchedness of evil and the triumph of good, which was accomplished in a way that no one could have predicted, namely, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."

This book was one of those books that impacted me on a personal and professional level, which is quite rare for a book to do. The stories, especially chapter 5 "holy heroes" left me with a sense of awe for the legacy and history of Christianity and what God calls each of us to.

Chapter 9 on the reformation showed me the high view of God and the Bible that the reformers and their churches had. Their role in communicating the words of God and their love and passion for the people they were called to lead was inspiring.

This is one of those rare books. If you want to know more about how Christianity got to where it is today, this is the book to read

More at [...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, but often too uncritical of un-Christian practice 9 Dec 2013
By D. Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I greatly appreciated the intention of this book, to help us look to older eras of Christendom for inspiration in our own walk, such as the self-discipline of the desert fathers, the creativity of the medieval artists, zeal of the Reformers, the “born-again” call of the evangelists, and the sacrifice of the pioneer missionaries.

But I was disturbed by the repeated instances of those with grave misunderstanding of Christian orthodoxy being held up uncritically by the author as examples to imitate, such as those who:
- Make supplication to Mary in lieu of her "remote" son with whom she alone has "special power to intercede on behalf of the faithful";
- Make pilgrimages to holy sites to earn favor with God;
- Collect relics of saints, who "served as intercessors for those who still lived on earth" and "conveyed their merits to the faithful";
- Take to isolation in monasteries “not in order to take worldly care of other people's physical needs but for the eternal welfare of our own souls";
- Established a controlling Catholic church hierarchy "who preside over the divine mysteries of the church" (rather than those mysteries being enjoyed by all believers directly through Christ the Head);
- Perpetuate Platonic and Neo-Platonic concepts of the soul which view it as preexistent and trapped in bondage within the body;
- Cast one’s gaze within to garner information about god's nature, as with Bonaventure's rather “New Agey” teaching, instead of the clear Biblical insistence that we rely on God's revelation alone to know Him;
- Question whether anyone living outside the monastery could be saved at all, but since "monastic discipline was thought to be so meritorious that even laypeople could benefit from it", "delegated the task of salvation to an elite of specialists";
- Eschewed sex as unworthy, base, or evil, even within marriage.

The author even spends several pages outlining the writings of the imposter Pseudo-Dionysius before admitting that his theology is "suspect", "questionable", and Christ-less.

Occasionally the author does warn the reader of un-Christian ideas that had crept into the practices of our forefathers such as worship of icons or embellishment of biographies; I make no mention here of those instances, only those which the author presents without criticism or caution.

I cannot recommend this book for a new believer. For the critical reader and mature Christian, however, this book has much to offer for consideration to widen our perspective of Christian practice. For example, an evangelical today might have much to criticize about the art and sacraments of the medieval Catholic church; however, the author presented them in a new light to me, as being necessary to communicate the story of Christ for a largely illiterate populace. Church practices change for good reasons, and there is no one way of Christian practice that is appropriate for all settings.
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