Sarum Pause for Reflection: Water Power


Contemplating his Passion, Julian perceived the very being of Christ streaming across the universe: on earth, a sustaining force; in hell, destructive (liberating); restorative in heaven.

Her hell-image is not of floodwaters dousing flames, but kinetic energy: a mass of water bursting barriers, breaking shackles.  I seriously mis­remembered the passage when on a dawn country-walk I found a bonfire abandoned, but still going.

A lot of water would be required to make that burnsite safe: most of the liquid would vaporise instantly.  But when you’re standing next to the Thames, H2O is there in abundance.  All I had to do was improvise a pail, decide where I could reach the river safely, and draw-carry-pour as many times as necessary.

Which gave me plenty of time to think how God’s love, a bucketful at a time, quenches despair, fear, rage  – all those things, if we allow.


The angel showed me Water-of-Life River flowing crystal-clear out of the throne of God.  The banks were planted with Tree of Life, which produces abundant fruit year round.  The leaves have universal healing properties. 
Revelation 22:1-2

Look and see what this precious and plentiful flow of his own dear-worthy life-force can do!
(Julian of Norwich, ‘A Revelation of Love’ Chapter 12)



Flood my soul, O Lord!

As yet you only trickle down
Your healing power on me.

Bring on the day
You open high
the sluice-gate on all
this hurting world
You love so much.


With respect to John Donne


Apparently carrying loads of water is good exercise for body, mind, and spirit – something about feeling the weight. At home push-ups against the furniture can have that relaxing effect. Or sitting with a weight in one’s lap. Not Julian’s book (too small): a cat; or a big Russian novel.

Share this reflection here.

A reflection from Jennifer Brooker ObJN, who has been a frequent visitor of Sarum College. She has a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and master’s degree in theology awarded by Durham University.

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