Thursday, 1 September 2016

Water of Life

The cloister garden in Chester Cathedral was used for growing herbs for medicines and for flavouring food.  In 2008 it was replanted with a variety of rare and unusual plants.  Hollyhocks, which were a popular garden plant when I was young are now rarely found outside large or specialist gardens.

The centre-piece of the garden is this sculpture - The Water of Life - which was created in 1994  by Stephen Broadbent to represent Jesus and the Nameless Woman of Samaria (John 4:7,9)

Jesus met this Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink.  It is inferred that the woman complied immediately with the thirsty Man’s request for a drink of refreshing water, even though she could see by His features and dress that He belonged to the nation who hated her people.

As she drew water from the well she asked Him, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?” Little did she realise that in her willingness to give the Jew a drink she was fulfilling the Christian law toward Him, “If he thirst—even if he is thine enemy—give him drink.”


  1. And he offered in return Eternal Life through Himself. A wonderful story and a lovely garden and sculpture.

  2. Goodness, me. I just Googled Samaria and did I learn a lot in five minutes. offers thoughtful information. I learn a lot from your posts. Thank you.

    I'm not a fan of this piece of sculpture. It implies an intimacy that isn't necessary. Not that you asked. :)

    1. Your views are always welcome, Limner, and I have to admit that was my (and obviously Mrs Splapthing's) first reaction but it has grown on me the more I see it.

  3. What a beautiful sculpture and garden. I love Hollyhocks but they never do well in my garden. I've tried growing them on several occasions. Maybe I need better soil or maybe a lovely statue would help!

  4. Looks like she's getting ready to share a huge smooch, right along with the water! Awesome statue (and the church too!).

  5. An amazing and touching work of art.

  6. Hollyhocks still seem quite common in gardens down here - there are at least a couple of other houses on our street with them in their front gardens and perhaps more in the back. I haven't grown them since the first couple of years that we moved in. Shame they don't self-seed like our foxgloves do.

  7. I remember well this sculpture from my visit to the cloister, four years ago. Thanks for posting the pictures, they are beautiful.

  8. Lovely tranquil spot which I always visit when in Chester. A few minutes there is very restorative.

  9. It's amazing what we forget. I recall taking photos of those statues but I don't recall capturing them so well. I may have blogged about the gardens at the time. I must check.

  10. Interesting sculpture depicting the Bible story.
    Never in a million years would I have guessed it if your post did not explain.
    I looked up the words on the sculpture.


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