Mysterious Waters

Mysterious Waters, Paul Gauguin, 1893, oil on canvas, 99×75 cm, Post Impressionism, French Polynesia, Image Source

This week I have been attracted to the idea of pilgrimage. I say this because I was drawn towards a book that I own called The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau. I have read the book before and I remembered really loving it. As I pulled it out of the stacks and glanced through I saw all kinds of things that I had underlined.

Along with this I discovered this painting called Mysterious Waters by Paul Gauguin. And again the sight of this girl leaning in to drink from the steady flow of a pure stream, really called to me and I had to wonder: What am I thirsty for? and How can I even make a start on this journey?

While it would be lovely to travel just now, we all know this is not in the cards, so how do you go on a pilgrimage in the middle of a pandemic? I’m asking so don’t be shy. I hope you will write to me in the comments about the things you have done during this pandemic to find meaning and see the world with new eyes or find refreshment.

“…the goal of the sacred journey is to become as whole again as possible. Our longing is a sign that there is a gap in the circle. Our life burns with the desire to complete the circuit with our journey. ” p. 82

Phil Cousineau: The Art of Pilgrimage

As I gaze at this painting I see:

  • A steady stream of water flowing from a mysterious source
  • a young girl leaning in to drink from the stream. To find refreshment she must lean in
  • She has traveled to some kind of inner sanctuary of the jungle or forest
  • She hasn’t taken a lot for the journey, her feet are bare
  • And then I am there with her, and the forest is cool and peaceful like a dream world
  • I can imagine the cool refreshing taste of the water as it touches my lips
  • I hear the sound of the water as it fills the pool and feeds the lush vegetation

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Isaiah 45:3

This painting reminds me that sometimes we have to seek God in the deep hidden sanctuary of our heart. To do this we must stop and listen for his direction, get out of our routine, and when we do this we must enter alone and learn to really lean in. Maybe It is in the seeking of him that we are truly changed to see our world with new eyes once we return home.

I hope you will join me on pilgrimage:)

God’s Peace be with you as we travel on.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely image, and a thoughtful reflection.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by! I am trying to get back into the groove of blogging after several months off so I really appreciate your kind words.


  3. Thank you for your reflection. In terms of pilgrimage, I am considering visits to the graves of two noteworthy nineteenth century preachers from Churches of Christ who are buried within fifty miles of my house. One of them preached boldly against slavery in the 1850s; the other published a journal and started congregations that still worship today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you are finding and reminding yourself about your spiritual dna or your heritage so that you can be proud of all they accomplished and realize how you are in some way standing on their shoulders. I hope you will share the experience by blogging about it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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