Thursday, November 24, 2011

storytelling through art

"Jesus said, 'Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again.  But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again - ever!  In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life'" (John 4:13-14, HCSB). 

Recently, I went to a henna party and found out more about how missionaries are finding a new way to talk about God with others through art.  Henna is a natural dye for the skin used for beauty reasons in Southeast Asian countries.  It can help share a story like this:
The hour of the day was when most people weren't out, but that was just the right time that this woman went to get some water.  In the fourth chapter of John in the Bible, we learn that she had a reputation.  Jesus was going to get some water at the same time and asked her for some.  Now, Jesus was recognized from being of Jewish descent, and she was a to some, this could've seemed scandalous, that this man was talking to this woman at this odd time of day.  The Bible lets us know that God looks at the heart, though, not the outside - so, it makes sense that Jesus started this conversation with her.

He asked some questions, and as they talked, He explained that He was the living water.  God gives us new life through Christ. When she realized that He was the Messiah, the promised one who God sent prophets to tell about so long ago who would save God's people.  She went to the city to tell others that He had come.

There's more to learn about Jesus being living water, from John 4:1-26.  It's been on my mind for a couple of weeks, and symbols representing different parts of this story are now stained on my hand for about a week.  A woman named Katie told me about how this story, and how other Bible stories, can be expressed through henna art.  

In South Asian cultures, the henna plant is often ground into a sort of paste that feels cool to the skin.  Women use it for hair dye or as a temporary tattoo, as it's popularly considered a beautiful thing there.  Someone noted how it's similar to how many American women use lip stick stains and how some women in other countries stain their nails.  It goes away in about a week.

Some missionaries partnered with the International Mission Board to explain to others this way of sharing God's good news through Bible stories. The designs you can make using this dye can be symbols of different parts of the story. That way, they help give a creative, visual picture of the story that you can share.

If you'd like to know more, then check out the sites below.  A good place to buy something like the henna I used is online or at an international supermarket (I've heard that peacock, that comes out looking black, can cause serious allergic reactions - so I've heard to stay away from that kind).  

Happy Thanksgiving!