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Water from an Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life [Kindle Edition]

Kenneth McIntosh
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.95
Kindle Price: $6.99
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Book Description

A Fresh Look at Celtic Spirituality

Using story, scripture, reflection, and prayer, this book offers readers a taste of the living water that refreshed the ancient Celts. The author invites readers to imitate the Celtic saints who were aware of God as a living presence in everybody and everything. This ancient perspective gives radical new alternatives to modern faith practices, ones that are both challenging and constructively positive. This is a Christianity big enough to embrace the entire world.

Editorial Reviews


When I was reading Water from an Ancient Well, I sometimes felt like I taking a spiritual pilgrimage to Cano Cristales, the most beautiful river in the world or the river of five colors. Located near the town of La Macarena in Colombia, South America, the river is famous for its colorful blotches of blue, green, black, and red causing some to call it the river that ran away to paradise. If you want to run away to paradise for a couple of days, and drink living water from a source unlike any other, read Kenneth McIntosh's deeply satisfying book. ----Leonard Sweet, best-selling author and professor.

This book offers profound insights into a very different way of living our Christianity. Kenneth McIntosh invites us to imitate the Celtic saints who were aware of God as a living presence in everybody and everything. If we were to take seriously what he offers us in this book, we would experience a paradigm shift in our approach to spirituality. ----Dara Malloy, author, Celtic Priest and Monk on Inis Mor in the Aran Islands, Ireland; author of The Globalisation of God: Celtic Christianity's Nemesis.

The author writes with humility; he does not prescribe. In the process, he takes us to places made sacred by inspired believers, depicting their lives as a romance that proved itself in everyday things. He invites us to enter into a similar divine love affair that involves the whole of life. This book could become a classic. ----Ray Simpson, author of Soul Friendship and Celtic Daily Light: A Spiritual Journey Through the Year; Founding Guardian of the International Community of Aidan and Hilda and Principal Tutor of its Celtic Christian Studies program.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4979 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Anamchara Books (July 26, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005F50B7W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soothing. December 2, 2012
Can I use that word to describe a book? As I started to read it, that's what I felt. It seemed as though the words were offering a soothing touch. Many books these days are written with a more firm air of assurance. The market is being innundated with books that are self-help books loosely based on scripture. They almost aggressively urge us to get our lives in order and be the best we can be. Water from an ancient well is refreshingly different. The author does not point us in a certain direction and order us to start running, rather, we are invited to sit and drink deep of wisdom that goes back hundreds of years. That's not to say we can be privy to some magical knowledge that scriptures failed to mention. No, it simply means that people down the ages have found the God of scripture to be generous in revealing Himself in other ways too (as the scriptures themselves testify).

I've not yet finished reading the book, but the author himself states in the introduction that it is not intended to be read simply in linear fashion. I've perused the chapter headings and will dip into them as I feel I need.

I'm no expert in Celtic Christianity, so I can't comment in any depth on the academic robustness of this book, but I can say that I found it an enjoyable read. Celtic Christianity was interwoven with themes from nature. Some people today might find it hard to allow nature to bear such a spiritual weight, but from a Christian point of view, I reckon that, as long as our appreciation and understanding of creation serves to inform and increase our understanding and appreciation of the Creator, we're not going to go far wrong.

The theme of water, in particular, runs through many of the chapters of this book (excuse the pun...).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ancient/Modern Converge December 5, 2012
Liminal space is that threshold between two different spaces or realities. In his book, Water From an Ancient Well, McIntosh provides the liminal space between ancient Celtic spirituality and our modern-day faith journey. Ancient stories of Celtic saints such as Patrick, Brigid and Columba appear along contemporary stories of faith, often times from the author's own life experiences. It is upon these stories and the history of the Celts that McIntosh draws modern applications to everyday life, the "middle issues" as George Hunter describes them in The Celtic Way of Evangelism.

McIntosh arranges the book in such a way that it embraces the fluidity of the Celtic knot. Rather than a beginning to end sequence, the author intends the book to be enjoyed in a nonlinear fashion. Each chapter is an independent essay and can be read however one wishes. The chapters themselves intertwine three basic aspects; stories, and examination of theology and history, and modern applications. Even these three focal points reflect the love of trinity found in Celtic spirituality.

Whether you are steeped in Celtic spirituality or a novice, you will find this book a fascinating read. Historical, practical and at times, just plain fun, this is a good book to add to your collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Book November 28, 2012
Do you remember you high school history teacher quoting the saying, "If you do not learn from history, you will end up repeating it." Well, after reading Water from an Ancient Well, by Kenneth McIntosh, I'd say that might not be a bad idea.
The ancient well that McIntosh is referring to is Celtic Christianity. McIntosh paints a panoramic picture of Celtic Christianity, in his book, and then suggests that the church today might learn from them. Centuries ago Celtic Christians were practicing relational evangelism, living in both the spiritual and physical realms, nurturing their faith through tried and true spiritual disciplines, and caring for the creation in which they lived. The Celts of long-ago saw God in everything (panentheism), and comfortably lived in the tension between an all-powerful God of creation and a loving, forgiving, gracious God, who so loved the world .... McIntosh describes the Celtic Christians in a can-do-nothing-wrong manner. I'm sure they must have had their faults and weaknesses. There are probably even areas where modern day Christians might learn what NOT to do. But, on the whole, Celtic Christianity is a well full of cool, refreshing water that might be able to renew, refresh and perhaps even reform today's church.
Many of us are ill-at-ease with much of what the church has become. There is a comfortableness among many Christians; they don't expect much from God and don't do much for God. Today's church is criticized (I think rightfully so) by those outside its walls as being judgmental, self-righteous, and hypocritical. Evangelism is forced. Often more effort is expended in sustaining the congregation than in serving others. Branches of today's church are exclusionary, deaf to environmental concerns and intent on being politically powerful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Celtic Knot of a Book December 1, 2012
Water from an Ancient Well by Kenneth McIntosh is one of the most quietly wise books I've read in a long time. "Like a Celtic knot, this book is meant to be enjoyed in a nonlinear fashion," McIntosh states in his introduction. Each chapter is a self-contained essay on a particular topic in Celtic Christian spirituality, with stories, theological-historical background, and applications for today. A lot of my favorites are here: St. Brigid of Kildare, the Gaelic hymn "Be Thou My Vision," the Celtic sunwheel cross, St. Columba, St. Brendan the Voyager, even Merlin the Magician. Quotes from C. S. Lewis, "the great Celtic theologian of modern times," are peppered throughout the book. My favorite chapters are the ones about the panentheism of John Scotus Erigena ("Every Bush Aflame: God Revealed in Nature") and the one about "Furred and Feathered Neighbors: Creatures of Grace," which shows how St. Columba, St. Brigid, and others related to their animal neighbors. If you're not familiar with Celtic Christian spirituality, Water from an Ancient Well is a great introduction. Even if you are familiar, this book is a great way to revisit some of these stories, poems, and prayers and learn new ones.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A rewarding book I have read over and over.
Published 3 months ago by Fay Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars It provided good information about Celtic Spirituality
Book was very informative. It provided good information about Celtic Spirituality.
Published 6 months ago by Liblis
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than inspiring...
A 3 week trip to Scotland, Ireland and Wales does not make one an 'expert' on Celtic Spirituality. Some basic facts on Celtic thought, around which are woven any number of... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Beverley.
4.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more ...
Superbly written and well researched. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about Celtic Christianity and how it applies to the modern lifestyle.
Published 8 months ago by Joseph S. Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource!
I enjoyed the format of this book and appreciated the history that was shared. It is an excellent resource for those who want information about Celtic traditions. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual journey
A book that creates self reflection. He provides ancient guidance for a modern journey to make a place for God in our everyday life.
Published 10 months ago by owl moon
5.0 out of 5 stars Water From an Anchient Well
A great read about how to live a Christ filled life today. A great look at history of the church.
Published 11 months ago by Jim L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Liberating!
I found numerous life giving stories in McIntosh's book. I also found surprises, such as the presence of co-ed monasteries in Ireland, the pilgrimage of Irish Nobles to the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amos Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most pleasant books I have read
This book is one that suits me, it fits like an old sweater and reminds me of all the things life has unlearned in me. Read more
Published 11 months ago by T. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Celtic Christianity for Contemporary Christians
Kenneth McIntosh understands the beauty of Celtic Christianity. Historical Celtic Christianity was a part of the western region of the one, holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tasgognata (Toireasa Nic an Chrosain)
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More About the Author

Kenneth McIntosh is a writer, educator and spiritual mentor. As a child he became fascinated with the Celtic legends of his heritage and then as a young adult he experienced a profound spiritual conversion. Degrees in English and theology combined with travels in the Middle East and the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland and Wales inspire his writing.

He is best known for his book Water from an Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life. In addition, he has written dozens of other books--mostly non-fiction. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with his wife, dog and two cats. In addition to writing he teaches Comparative Religions at a community college and serves as pastor for a Congregational church. His hobbies include hiking, investigating rock art and archaeological sites, labyrinth building and fixing vintage Volkswagens.

Kenneth is also a noted public speaker and is available for seminars, retreats and other speaking engagements.

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