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Living Water [Hardcover]

By Obery Hendricks (Author)
Our Price $ 21.21  
Retail Value $ 24.95  
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Item Number 56392  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.32" Width: 6.34" Height: 1.19"
Weight:   1.42 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2003
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060000872  
EAN  9780060000875  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

Sprung from the pages of The New Testament, Living Water is a gripping and lyrical portrayal of a young women's search for identity set against the strict social confines of the time. This extraordinary first novel brings to life one of the most mysterious and intriguing characters in the Bible -- the woman at the well.

Buy Living Water by Obery Hendricks from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780060000875 & 0060000872

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More About Obery Hendricks

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! OBERY M. HENDRICKS, JR., is a professor of biblical interpretation at the New York Theological Seminary, an Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the author of Living Water. He has served as a professor at Drew University, as a visiting scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary, and as president of Payne Theological Seminary, the oldest African American theological institution in the United States. He lives in New Jersey.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [79254  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent choice for a book discussion  Aug 31, 2005
This book is wonderful. The women's guild at my church featured it as a topic of a book discussion last year. We had the pleasure of taking part in a telephone conference with the author Obery Hendricks. He was very gracious. It was a wonderful experience. The reader gets an understanding of how women and minorities were marginalized in society during Biblical times.
A gripping, at times lusty, tale and an engaging read  Jun 29, 2004
This is a gripping, at times lusty, tale based on the life story of the Samaritan Woman. LIVING WATER is not a stereotypically lightweight, biblical novel. It's for readers who are ready for a challenge and willing to look for truths presented in nontraditional forms.

Author Obery Hendricks, a seminary "professor of biblical interpretation," calls this, his first novel, "an African American retelling of the New Testament story of the woman at the well who was married to five successive husbands at a time when women did not have the right to choose either marriage or divorce." Ethnic overtones are evident in some characters' nicknames (Sonny Boy and Big Mama) and patterns of dialogue ("Oh Lordy, we're in trouble now" and "Don't he talk sweet"). But there are deeper parallels: The ravages of slavery and harsh control influence the heart of the story --- the Samaritan men being humiliated and beaten down by the Romans; the women being powerless property of the husbands who have lost respect for themselves and take out their frustration on their women.

The book opens with a short, startling death scene of the Samaritan woman's fifth husband. Then Part 1 is a flashback, from prenuptial childhood up to that pivotal, bloody mess. She --- her name is Maryam, though significantly we aren't told this for 250 pages --- is a spunky, in-your-face kind of kid who sadly learns, from her kindhearted grandmother, Ma Tee, that spunk is not acceptable for girls. "Atop the coarse woolen tunic that is [the girl's] usual attire is now draped a stale, heavy garment of carefulness. Ma Tee has tried her best to craft it to her size, yet it does not fit. Still, she will dutifully struggle to wear it, though its weight will sag her heart to its knees." And this narrative comment comes even before she's married to and beaten down by her first husband and abandoned by numbers two, three, and four.

This is a feminist story, but not drastically so; it is egalitarian more than man bashing. The big cast of characters --- five (or is it six?) husbands, three father figures, a brother-in-law, Messiah Jesus, and more --- include bad men and good; similarly with the Samaritan women. In a supplemental reader's guide, Hendricks explains that the Samaritan woman's journey "to be free of male domination and mistreatment was also my own journey to free myself from the roles of dominator and mistreater."

Theologically conservative readers may rankle at some feminist theology, but, again, this is not as radical as it might be. Hendricks interprets biblical passages (mostly from Proverbs, once from Luke) that personify Wisdom (a feminine Hebrew word) as being descriptive of "the woman-side of God."

For a novel that is replete with social commentary applicable to any age --- including a chapter on an itinerant, fraudulent faith healer --- LIVING WATER is an engaging read. Part 2 --- in which Maryam claims her name, takes up with a man who loves her and treats her well, and becomes a disciple of Jesus --- includes powerful scenes of redemption, even unto the last page, which drew a tear to my eye.

--- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence

AView of God From a Woman's Perspective  Aug 3, 2003
This is a touching story of a young womans journey from her joy of life to near-death despair around to a greater joy of life.
It truly celebrates the strength of womanhood. The descriptions were vivid and the personalities so real, I felt I knew all of the characters. Because all women have experienced Maryam's life in some form, this story will touch your heart in an unbelievable way. I loved this book!
From Heartwrenching to Heartwarming ...  Jul 1, 2003
In this glorious tale of redemptive love BEFORE we know what it is, Maryam flowers despite the heartships and trials of her life. Hendricks is a master storyteller who gives us the depth of anguish from both the men and women, while not excusing the pain that the men are causing the women in this Novel. Given to me by a Pastor who shares the stories of women in the Bible with his congregation, I read it from front to end without stopping, finding the message that God loves us even when we don't see it. Worth reading, but more, worth its use as a Bible study tool. Wonderful story with a dynamic ending!
Living Water Quenched My Thirst!  Jun 30, 2003
Obery Hendricks' Living Water is an inspirational work of historical fiction. It explores the popular biblical parable of Jesus and the woman at the well but expounds upon the unnamed woman's life in ancient times under the rule of the Romans and laws of Moses. In the novel, the author gives her a name, Maryam, and delivers a well-developed character who struggles with self-identity, conformity, and the newly discovered Christian values of forgiveness, universal love, and equality.

Maryam was born with "gibora" - a strong, outgoing, free spirit; something that women are not to possess or openly demonstrate in a male-dominated society; thus she is taught to suppress it in order to avoid shaming her father/family and to make her more desirable as a potential wife. With no protection from an abused and broken mother, the young Maryam is wed to a lecherous, spoiled husband and is subjected to his perverse sexual demands. Although she tries her best to appease her husband, he exercises his right to "erwat dabar" and is publicly divorced. Consequentially, she is cast aside by society's communal laws, disowned by her father, and falls victim to public scorn resulting in her name becoming synonymous with impropriety. She is clearly a victim of poor circumstances and hard luck and even the most discerning reader is compelled to empathize with her trials and tribulations. Her next four marital relationships are wonderfully conceived and creatively written by the author. They provide much food-for-thought regarding the woman's role within marriages and in ancient Hebrew society.

Hendricks cleverly intermingles modern day African American vernacular and misguided values regarding skin hues, racial superiority, etc. which add practicability to an otherwise archaic story. Maryam struggles with oppression (to the point of nearly losing herself) and concepts of conformity throughout her life and receives the answers to her lifelong questions during her encounter with Jesus. Through Him, she finds renewed strength and courage to share the message of forgiveness, gender/race equality, and universal love among the very villagers who disparaged her.

This is a powerful story of strength, redemption, and liberation with a message that will transcend time. It is highly recommended to those who enjoy inspirational and moralistic works.

APOOO BookClub
Nubian Circle Book Club


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