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Scrutiny Reflection/Quilt: Woman at the Well

March 21, 2018

The “scrutinies” are a series of three readings from the Gospel of John, used during lent by those entering into the Catholic faith as preparation for baptism. The “elect,” or those seeking baptism, are invited to scrutinize their lives and meditate on these stories of God’s mercy with the whole community as they determine their readiness for baptism.


My husband, Fred, teaches RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at our church and uses these readings for instruction. Several months ago, he wrote reflections for each of these three readings. The first is the story of the woman at the well, the second is about the man born blind and the third is the raising of Lazarus. He asked me to create art quilts to go with each of  them and requested that they be "modern" and somewhat abstract. 


Here is the first reflection based on John 4:3-42.



By Fred Fosnacht


Reflection on First Scrutiny 

The Woman at the Well


If you knew

The reason I pass

On the morning coolness 

And take the longer road

To the comfort of the well,


If you knew

The truth of my secrets

Locked tight in memory

Beneath the shroud of my shame,


If you knew the stares endured

And lies whispered

Which bind my name

To unholy story,


You too would ask my leave

At the community pool

And direct the children

Away from touch and talk.


So, late in the day is my arrival,

After those more worthy

Quench and wash and play and talk.


But you dare

To meet my gaze and foreign features,

Asking for unholy water

From unholy hands.


And as you drink

I am quenched.

Your mercy makes pure

What washing could not.


As you search and probe, 

Among unspeakable secrets,

My deeper self becomes a holy gap

Finding absolution.


Pour over me 

Your Holy water,

That my desert of infamy 

Is drowned in the river of life-giving water.




The Woman at the Well

Designed, Pieced and Quilted

By Mary Kay Fosnacht

23 x 39"


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