Saint Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well in Nablus, West Bank
Commemorated on November 29th
God knows what He makes from each of us.
Saint Arsenie Boca of Romania
“One family went on a trip to England to buy something from a beautiful antique shop, for the celebration of their 25th anniversary of marriage. The husband and wife liked antiques and clay products, ceramics, especially cups of tea. They observed an exceptional cup and asked: “Can we see that cup? We’ve never seen anything so beautiful!”
While the selling lady gave them what they had demanded, the cup of tea began to speak: – You can not understand. I was not from the beginning a cup of tea. Once, I was just a lump of red clay. My Lord took me and I ran, I fought hard, I kneaded repeatedly, and I shouted: “Do not do that!”, “I don’t like it!”, “Leave me alone!”. But he just smiled and said gently: “Not yet.” Then, ah! I was seated on a wheel and I was spun, spun, spun. “Stop! I feel dizzy! I will be sick! “I cried. But my Lord just shook his head and said quietly: “Not yet.” He swirled me, kneaded me and hit me and he shaped up my form until He liked it… and then I was put in the oven. I never felt so much warmth! I cried, I knocked and slammed the door … “Help! Get me out of here! “I could see my Lord through an opening and I could read his lips while he slowly shook his head from side to side:” Not yet. “
When I thought I will not stand another minute more, the door was opened. Carefully He pulled me out and put me on the shelf … I started to cool off. Oh, I felt so good! “Well, so much better”, I thought. But after I cooled down, He took me, brushed and stained me all over … the smells were horrible. I thought I will not breathe anymore. “Oh, please, stop, stop!” I cried. He just nodded and said, “Not yet!” Then suddenly I was put back in the oven. But now it was not as the first time. It was twice as hot and I felt I would suffocate. I asked him. I insisted. I screamed. I cried … I was convinced that I will not escape! I was ready to quit. Just then… the door opened and He pulled me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited and waited, wondering, “What will He do with me next?”
An hour later, he gave me a mirror and said: “Now look at you.” And I looked. “That’s not me; it can not be me … It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful! He spoke to me softly: “I want you to remember, I know you were hurt when you were mingled, hit, spun… but if I would have left you alone, you’d be dry. I know you felt dizzy when I spun the wheel… but if I had stopped, you would be broken into pieces, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was very hot and uncomfortable in the oven… but I had to put you there, otherwise you would have cracked. I know it did not smell good when I brushed and I stained all over, but if I had not done that, you’d never really hardened. You would not have glow in your life. If I would not have stuck you for the second time in the oven, you would not have survived much, because that reinforcement would not hold. Now you are a finished product. You’re what I had in mind the first time I started working with you. “
The moral of the story, said the confessor Arsenie Boca, is this:
“God knows what He makes from each of us. He is the potter and we are His clay. He will mold us, He will do and He will expose us to the needed pressures to be perfect to do his good, pleasant and holy will. If life seems hard and you are hurt, beaten, and pushed mercilessly; when your world seems spinning uncontrollably; when you feel that you are in a terrible suffering, when life seems dire, do yourself a tea and drink it in the prettiest cup, sit down and think about what you read here and then discusses a little with The Potter “.
Prior to the sailors throwing Jonah into the sea, the Lord had beautifully prepared a great big fish to protect him from drowning.
Prior to Joseph being thrown into the pit by his brothers, the Lord had beautifully prepared a caravan of Ishmaelites to escort him to Pharaohs palace.
Prior to Jochabed (Moses mum) placing Moses into the river, the Lord had beautifully prepared Pharaoh’s daughter to rescue him at the river bed.
Prior to God testing Abraham by requesting Isaac as a sacrifice, the Lord had beautifully prepared in a thicket a ram.
Enter your tribulation with faith my friend as the Lord has beautifully prepared an exit and a solution prior to you entering the tribulation.
Before God sent you
the cross that you bear,
he looked at it with his omniscient eye
examined it with his divine logic
checked it with his infinite justice
warmed it in his loving heart
weighted it up well with his affectionate hands
lest your cross be heavier
than you can lift.
And when he calculated your courage,
he blessed your cross,
and put it on your shoulders.
You can lift it!
Carry it and rise,
marching from Golgotha
to the Resurrection!
Stand on the edge of the abyss and when you feel that it is beyond your strength, break off and have a cup of tea. Elder Sophrony(Sakharov) of Essex
Saint Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well in Nablus
Troparion of Saint Philoumenos (Tone 4)
At Jacob’s Well you were proved well named:
loving Christ, confessing Him, pouring out your sacred blood.
Being faithful in small things you were set over great.
Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth,
you are now Guardian of the Holy Places forever.