Desert Wells: Bridging the divide between life-in-church and life-in-the-world

DESCRIBED BY THE PUBLISHERS, Darton, Longman & Todd, as written for “anyone who knows deep down that they would like to live and love differently, [Desert Wells] is a fresh approach: ten original short stories written to help us explore paths that deepen our humanity, such as slowing down, listening, forgiving – living in the present.”

I invited Alice Bates, the book’s author, to tell us what inspired her to write those stories. She writes:

Alice Bates

Alice Bates

I’m nagged by the divide between our life-in-church and life-in-the-world as Christians; it seems to me that God never meant that divide to be there, and that God is nothing if not present and working in our everyday lives, the non-church days. And I’m sure that, ever since Jesus came to be a man on earth like us, God is incarnate in every leaf and twig of his creation — is everywhere — only we can’t see him there very clearly.

So how do you recognise God in ‘normal’, everyday life, in the people and things all around? Jesus told stories, usually not ‘religious’ stories, to bring the Scripture out of the synagogue and into the streets, into everyday life — to ‘earth’ it there. To heal that church/everyday life divide. Desert Wells is an attempt to do the same for us, in our world now.

So I’ve taken a verse from the Bible together with a concern we’re likely to share — such as how to listen, forgive, live in the present — and told a story in the light of both, which I hope has something to say about how we live now. The stories don’t mention God; that is part of the point; but I hope they speak of him.

In her foreword Jane Williams ended by urging people to ‘read (the stories) and start to pay attention to the people and things all around that an lead to freedom, growth and joy.’ That was precisely my aim, and I’m so thrilled she put it so succinctly.

Desert Wells Desert Wells
Alice Bates

Darton, Longman & Todd, 2011

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