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Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith Paperback – November 27, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (November 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060628227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060628222
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Streams of Living Water is Richard J. Foster's roundup of six great traditions of Christian spiritual practice. His essays on spirituality--contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical, and incarnational--are grounded in straightforward profiles of biblical and modern characters whom Foster considers exemplars of these traditions. (The prophet Amos and the Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, for example, are featured in the chapter on social justice.) Each chapter ends with a bit of advice about how readers can cultivate new aspects of spiritual life and keep these Christian traditions alive: "Take a bath instead of a shower. Waste time for God," Foster writes, in his chapter on the contemplative tradition. Foster doesn't really break new ground in Streams of Living Water--he's written about most of these spiritual disciplines elsewhere--but this book is a useful and engaging introduction to a fairly broad range of Christian spiritual practices. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"...a marvel of a book covering two milleniums of Christian experience. With clarity and restraint, Foster invites the reader to draw from his wells of wisdom as he paints in words the portraits of those who have shaped our rich and varied heritage. His broad brush strokes bring to life the streams of living water that for centuries have nourished our souls. Not only that, he generously gives tangible application to our fragmented lives in the here and now." -- Ingrid Trobisch, author of THE CONFIDENT WOMAN and KEEPER OF THE SPRINGS

"Foster's engaging writing and thoughtful presentation make the book appealing to a broad readership." -- -- Publishers Weekly

"Richard Foster has written another classic." -- Dallas Morning News

"Richard J. Foster has offered the church an exquisite gift in his new book STREAMS OF LIVING WATER. Foster paints a masterful portrait of Jesus... This well-written and immensely appealing book needs tobe read by every individual who is committed to reaching maturity in his or her spiritual life." -- Sojourners Magazine

"STREAMS OF LIVING WATER is educational and inspirational...[it] provides the chart for negotiaiting through the shallows and narrows, the rapids and bays that make up a remarkably diverse and ric body of faith."-Dale Hanson Bourke, Religion News Service --

"STREAMS OF LIVING WATER may well be Foster's most important work yet." -- A Closer Look

"This book is an amazing bridge-builder." -- CBA Marketplace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I'd recommend this book to anyone that is still struggling with their spiritual calling.
The historical view of the origin of each stream is very interesting and written in a way that makes Richard Foster's prose very exciting.
Jean Hartman
Good for some one who wants to understand the works and successes of various 'branches' of protestant doctrines.
Andrew Chuang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By John C. Tittle on May 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
We now live in a post-denominational world. Technology has moved us all into a global community. We find ourselves daily exposed to the rich cultures and perspectives of the world. Our provincial and limited expressions have expanded exponentially because of this. Today we have the freedom to draw from past and present traditions to shape and enrich our faith and world-view. People are more open to discussion and interaction than ever before. In keeping with this new reality, Richard Foster has done us a wonderful favor by applying this to our spirituality. No longer do we have to be limited to our own particular denomination or upbringing. We can keep our own spiritual background and identity, but also add on and incorportate different streams of Christian expression to enrich our approach to God and practice of faith. And so Foster paints a broad picture of the Christian faith for us to gaze upon. We don't have to take sides. Foster persuades us that the issue at hand is not either/or, but both/and. Like a mosaic each Christian can incorporate the living streams of the contempletive, holiness, social justice, evangelical, charismatic, and incarnational traditions to the "warp and woof" of life, as Foster likes to phrase it. This approach will make our lives into a unified, yet diverse work of art. He illustrates so clearly each "stream" by using historical examples of those who practiced each style particularly well. First he uses Biblical characters that emphasized each approach. Then he shows how Christ perfectly fulfilled each tradition of the faith. He clearly spells out the strong points and the dangers of each tradition. And finally Foster helps us put into practice each of them from his own perspective and experience.Read more ›
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
PLOT: Like some other Renovare' books, this one deals with 6 traditions of Christianity: contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical, and incarnational. For each tradition (stream) Foster introduces us to Christians from Scripture, history, and modern times who serve as examples of that stream.
PROBLEMS: There was nothing wrong with the examples Foster selected, but they didn't grab me as much as other Renovare books have. Perhaps I'd rather read each person's own words than read about that person's life. Also, the binding on my book broke. I don't know if that is a problem or just happened to me.
POSITIVES: For me, the joy of this book was in the appendix and extra material. Foster gives us one appendix of critical turning points in church history and another of notable figures and significant movements in church history. He begins each chapter with a chart from the time of Jesus to present that lists significant people, movements, and dates related to that tradition.
CONCLUSION: The extra material is easily worth the cost of the book. The chapters are just the added bonus on this one. I've returned to these charts for reference time and time again.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Foster's "Streams of Living Water" emphasizes a MUCH needed piece of the Christian faith: acknowledging and embracing the fact that the followers of Christ approach Him in different ways. Not only are other Christian traditions valid, but they each provide an important piece to living the whole Christian life.
The book is not deeply theological, but does provide a broad outline of the history, characterizations, benefits and perils of each of the six major Christian traditions. While a more theologically reflective work would be helpful, Foster's is extremely accessible reading and lays a great foundation.
Of the books a person ought to read in their lifetime, this has made number three on my list (after the Bible and Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship"). It is a must read for any Christian who's perspective on the faith is pidgeon-holed into his or her own tradition.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lucas M. Engelhardt on March 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
The more I read of Richard Foster, the more I like his style. As is always the case in his books, Foster's Streams of Living Water presents a well categorized methodical approach to understanding the Christian faith. In this case, he focuses on what he calls the "Traditions" of the faith.

Other reviews have detailed the Traditions of which Foster speaks. So, I'll comment on the structure of the chapters, which, in my opinion, is excellent. Each chapter gives multiple examples of people who focused on the Tradition for that chapter. One of these people is contemporary (Billy Graham is one), one is historical (St. Augustine of Hippo), and one is Biblical (Amos, for example). After using examples to give you a feel for the Tradition in question, Foster lays out what he considers to be the essentials of the Tradition, its defining characteristics. He then moves to a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the Tradition, and closes the chapter with a discussion of how we can integrate it into our lives.

It's clear from reading the book that it is designed with an ecumenical understanding. Foster sees each modern expression of Christianity as presenting a part of the life of wholeness we are to live. Through people reading this book (and joining Renovare groups and such), Foster hopes to encourage Christians to live a balanced life. This book is certainly a good step in that direction.

If you want to live a full Christian life, this book will help guide you on your way.

A final note: I love the first Appendix in this book. It is a brief outline of some Church history, along with certain contributions that each branch of Christianity has given us (from Catholic to Orthodox to the various Protestants), that we can apply in our lives, regardless which of these groups we belong to.

On the whole, this is simply and excellent book. I pray that each one who reads it moves to apply it in their own walk.
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