Elder Paisios and the painting

By priest Nectarios Savidis

An athonite monk, who went very often to see starets Paisios, has recently related me a happenstance he witnessed himself and that’s very useful for soul.

Once a painter visited starets Paisios in his cell.

The starets, with his remarkable, educational sense of humour, asked him:

“My son, would you be able to make me a painting representing a theme I’d tell you about?” “I’d like to hang it in my cell.”

“I’d be glad to do it, gheronda”, the painter answered with great delight. “This is my job”. “What would you like to be painted in it?”

“Could you paint some mountains?”

“Very easily”, the painter said.

“Could you also paint some trees I’ll tell you about?”

“Of course, gheronda.”

After the starets told him some other things he wanted to have in the painting, asked him in the end:

“Could you also paint a fountain with water flowing from it?”

“Of course, gheronda, this thing is not difficult at all for me”, the painter answered plainly.

Then the starets asked him:

“But from that painted fountain could anyone drink water to quench his thirst?”

“No, gheronda.”

“You see, that much differ the things of men from those of God!” the starets told him. “If someone cannot quench his thirst with the water from a painted fountain, the less he would quench it with the things of men.” “Human life thirsts only after the things of God Who gives us “the living water”.

These wise words spread the fragrance of the Holy Spirit! Therefore let’s go back to the words of our elders, so that our soul would quench its thirst in our “waterless” times.


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