Last Wednesday, in the Pause for Thought segment of our website, we were reminded of God’s ‘life-giving water’ in the Gospel of John, chapter 7. Four days later, I came across another mention of John 7 and life-giving water as I continued my deep dive into the ACW National Archives. This time it was mentioned in a report in the May 1983 edition of Women at Work, the past newsletter of Australian Church Women (ACW). The report featured the annual Quiet Day that is usually held in April by the members and friends of the Vic Unit of ACW. Sadly, this year, for the second year running, we were not able to gather together to enjoy this day of reflection due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
As more and more of us are finding ourselves in lockdown and isolation, you may like to make good use of this situation by reflecting on the content of that 1983 Quiet Day. Here is the report:
‘Sister Patricia Madigan, President, A.C.W. VIC. UNIT, arranged a "Quiet Day" for members and friends at St. Mary's College, Melbourne on Friday, 29th. April, 1983, from 9.30 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. After preliminary fellowship over tea and coffee, Patricia spoke of her experiences of Quiet times and also told us of her faith journey. She presented reflections on "Stillness of Heart" and the importance of listening to God.
‘We were then given about one hour in which to meditate in silence — we could remain in the hall or go into the garden or chapel. To help us to focus our thoughts, Patricia had prepared a sheet of excerpts from the Psalms, and a reflection on John 7:37 and living water. We were asked to select the text with which we identified most closely and think about what that text was saying for us today.
‘After this time of silence we returned to the hall and sat in a circle to share our reflections. Lunch was an informal sharing in threes and fours at a more personal level. The final segment of the day was a time of silence as we viewed an audio visual "Be still and know that I am God" — a series of slides showing many aspects of daily life with the background music of this hymn. After this time of meditation individual prayers of petition were offered by anyone who felt moved to do so.
‘The day brought us very close as we probed the depths of our own hearts and shared together in a very intimate caring group. We felt God had been with us – bonding us together.
‘Reflection Sheet – Texts from Psalms.
My body pines for you like a dry weary land without water.
On you I muse all through the night. (Psalm 62)
‘One thing I long for – to live in the house of the Lord.
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek. (Psalm 27)
‘My soul is longing for the Lord
More than watchmen for daybreak (Psalm 130)
‘In God alone is my soul at rest; my help comes from the Lord.
‘Some trust in chariots or horses, but we in the name of the Lord (Psalm 20)
‘In my anguish I cried for help. God is the rock where I take refuge.
You, O God, are the lamp of my darkness.
With you I can break any barrier.
God is indeed a shield to all who take refuge in the Lord. (Psalm 18)
‘O that I had wings like a dove to fly away and be at rest!
Entrust your cares to the Lord
And God will support you. (Psalm 55)
Unfortunately, the reflection on John 7:37 and living water was not included in the report, but here is that verse for you to consider in light of the thirst we are experiencing in these difficult days and being reassured that Jesus can quench our thirst.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”
Below is an audio clip of a virtual choir singing ‘Be Still and Know that I am God’. This production was released in April of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic to remind us of God's comfort during these trying times. The choir features more than 500 singers scattered across the United States and beyond, yet the singing is so beautiful you can easily imagine them all gathered in one place.