It would have been easy to write it off as a burst pipe or an overflowing storm water drain, at least that was on my mind the first few time I noticed the water feature in the square in the Ellerslie shopping centre. I guess I should apologise to the person who created it (and I looked around the square for a plaque to see who had... didn't find one).
Now, however, I find my self reflecting on this sculpture (or water feature) each time I drive through Ellerslie... which I do about two times everyday. It's not a fountain that you'd want to admire because of its artistic beauty or historical significance... lets face it the little township of Ellerslie nestled in the suburban sprawl of Auckland city isn't Rome or London or New York, it's not even down town Auckland.
Two thoughts come to mind, well three actually because I've pointed out to my son who is studying to be an engineer and he wondered if the fountain wasn't recycling the water that it used as it simply drains off into the ground in a very functional little drain that is a square round the four spouts.
But anyway back to the reflections I had. Firstly I couldn't help but think of Jesus words at the festival in John 7 where he talks of believing him being the source of springs of life giving water.
‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’
Historically there are famous fountains connected to churches which are a way of signifying this reality. But the simplicity of this water feature was such that it invites you to consider water sources springing up in the midst of the tough, concrete urban environment. Even the very modernist functional and I think soulless modern architecture and design of the Ellerslie public square. Although as you'll probably have guessed the plumes of water actually provide that life and soul, hopefully I've captured something of that in the couple of photo's I've put with this post.
The second thought was a prayer actually about being church in (or at least just outside of) this place. St Peter's finds itself down a side street hidden from view by the growing number of multi story gated apartments. On our advertising fliers I have summed this up by saying "St Peter's is the church just round the corner... but not round the bend... and definitely at the heart of the community". But my prayer is that while we may be like the water feature in Ellerslie glimpsed as people move past on their way somewhere else or going about the business of everyday life, that we may indeed be a place which brings this life giving water to those around us... That by the Spirit's presence in our midst (and John tells us this is what Jesus was refereeing to) that people may meet with Christ.