Leon van den Broeke
When people hear about salvation and church planting they easily think about the spiritual dimension of belief. Mission history shows that (the topic of) salvation can not neglect the cultural dimension and infrastructure. The picture tells the story of the Weezenputten near the village of Oudeschild on the Isle of Texel. Of the original five wells, only two are left. The owner of these wells was the orphanage (in old Dutch: Weezen) in Den Burg. This house benefited from the sale of water.
At the east side of the dike of the village of Oudeschild was the Roadstead of Texel. Sometimes dozens of ships were waiting for good wind to sail out to the East or West Indies or to the Baltic area. When they sailed to the East, they could take fresh water and food at the Cape of Good Hope for the second part of the voyage. The Weezenputten were important for the health of the crew and passengers for mainly the first part of the voyage. The quality of the water of the Weezenputten was high, because it contained iron. That allowed the water to be preserved for a long period. This was a matter of life and death.
A Reformed minister or comforter of the sick also belonged to the ships’ crews on their way to overseas territories. They had an important role in the field of the spiritual and moral affairs. The minister was the captain of morality and belief on board of the ship. For that reason he was well paid. To help promote the process of Reformed church planting in overseas territories and during the journey, he wanted to preach the gospel of the Living Water. He could only do so when he was able to drink the water from the Weezenputten.