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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: How Deep Is Your Well?
By Jan Ross


The pipe organ began to swell as a week of silence had just been broken by the familiar melody of the age-old hymn. The hymnal was reverently held by both young and old in the family of God assembled in the 19th century church.

The congregation reverently rose in unison while carefully taking note of the tempo and harmony as if they were about to perform before a royal audience.

The pews were lined with worshipers side by side, young and old, ready to begin the familiar refrain at the direction of the worship leader.

The worshipers stood in awe, obviously inspired by the familiar lyrics systematically wedged between the lines of musical notation on the yellowed and worn pages of the well-used hymnal. With great anticipation they listened carefully for their cue to join in, bringing their corporate offering of praise.

As with one voice and uninhibited zeal, the parts could be heard – the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass blended together in harmonic melody. A single high soprano offered an occasional descant with glorious yet delicate precision.

The bounteous offering of praise ascended from those who were intimately acquainted with the words they sang, reminiscing of the place where hope met faith . . .

When peace like a river, attendeth my way;
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well [echo] with my soul. It is well; it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well [echo] with my soul. It is well; it is well, with my soul.

He lives--oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

It is well [echo] with my soul. It is well; it is well, with my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well [echo] with my soul. It is well; it is well, with my soul.

In the awe-filled atmosphere impregnated with the fragrance of holiness, the Pastor arose and spoke with a soft and unassuming voice. “How deep is your well?”

Without disturbing the weighty presence of holiness, he opened the Sacred Book and began to read: "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." (Mark 4:39 KJV) An awesome hush remained in the room as a gentle breeze seemed to momentarily capture their focus.

As he continued to share from his heart, tears flowed freely from the eyes of the aged saints who identified with the passion implicated by such an imposing question. Having lived through what the youthful onlookers might only experience on the pages of a history book, their elders were well acquainted with the tools that dug their wells deep . . . deep into the Source of the Rivers of Living Water ever flowing from the heart of God to the depth of their souls. The years of challenge, sorrow, trials, and tribulations led them to the peace that transcends human understanding as they determinedly persevered with sacrificial and unwavering faith, never questioning why.

The Pastor concluded after a few brief words: “Is it indeed well with your soul? How well is it? The depth of the well determines the breadth of your peace.”

Every eye glistened with tears while fixed on the empty cross towering above the altar. A still voice whispered to each heart the familiar words: “Peace be still.” Immediately, the storms were hushed and the winds stilled if for only a brief moment as the shalom of God blanketed the sanctuary.

Are the winds and waves billowing in your life? Listen to the echoes of “It Is Well” and ask yourself “How deep is my well?”

Then, remind yourself that trials and tribulations are the shovels designed to dig deep wells.

“The depth of the well determines the breadth of peace.”


(1) Horatio Gates Spafford [1873]

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This article has been read 1739 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dorothy Purge06/08/06
I enjoyed reading your article and will use it as a personal meditation.
david grant06/08/06
Very good, very wise. Well done.
George Parler 06/09/06
Beautiful piece. I really enjoyed it. Great job.
Virginia Gorg06/12/06
Sounds like a sermon that we need to hear more of these days. Nicely done.
Jan Ackerson 06/12/06
I like your play on words here: "well" as both adjective and noun. This is a gorgeous hymn that I fear will be forgotten soon.

My only suggestion is that the first part seems a bit adjective-heavy. You can trim the weight some by choosing wonderful nouns and verbs, and minimizing adjectives.

Loved the sermon!
Rita Garcia06/12/06
One of my favorite hymns. Great Job!
Helen Paynter06/12/06
Lovely piece, with a great message.
I felt some of the sentences, particularly towards the beginning, were a little unwieldy.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed this a lot.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/13/06
Well done. I love this devotional. It really gives one food for thought and for the spirit too. Thanks
Sherry Wendling06/14/06
Jan, I love the depth of this piece! And you made me feel I was right there in the congregation. Just a note to watch overuse of adverbs(those pesky critters).
Beautiful and from the heart of God!