The Godly Play program at St. James is a Sunday morning opportunity for children ages 3 yrs. old - 5th grade. It is offered during the 9:30 A.M. service during the school year and the 10:00 A.M. service during the summer. Children meet in the Nave (Church) with their families and then process (leave together) for the Godly Play rooms. There they share a story and time to express themselves in play and art. Following the service, children are picked up by their families in the Todd Center (building directly north of the Church).
Parable of the Deep Well
In Godly Play, stories are presented and children play with the stories to discover deep meaning. Why do we use stories to engage the children in theology instead of telling them what to believe? This can be explained by a story, a rabbinic parable – The Parable of the Deep Well.
"There was once a great desert. The desert is a dangerous place. It is often hot. There is no shade and not enough to eat. The wind blows the sand changing the shape of the desert so it is easy to get lost. There is not enough water in the desert so people can die of thirst. People only enter the desert if they have to and often hurry through.
In the middle of the great desert there was a deep well. It was so deep people could no longer reach the water to drink. They could not see the water, but sometimes they could feel the damp coolness rising from the well.
One day a person crossed the desert. When the person came to the well, the person took time. There was no hurry. The person looked at the well and the little golden strands in the desert.
The person picked up an old object, but none could remember its purpose. It could contain water and had a handle. The person looked some more and kicked the golden threads. They seemed out of place. What were they? Others thought they were silly and went on their way. This person took time. The person began gathering the golden threads and tying them together. The person tied the end of the threads to the handle, lowered the container into the deep well, and drew forth the cool refreshing water. The person tasted the water and was changed. The person left the threads tied together so that the next person could taste the water as well.”
What about this ending?
“When the person went on their way, the little golden strands were untied and scattered again, so the next person could figure it out themselves.”
I wonder which ending you like better.
We thank the Hull family for the thoughtful donation of the Parable of the Deep Well. Their donation given in appreciation of Godly Play will be used to help the children discover why we use stories. Bring your children to Godly Play so that they can string the golden strands together and drink the cool refreshing water from the deep well.