Archive for October, 2015

“Jesus met the woman at the well” – old song/new song

Must be the year to connect with traditional or classic American folk music … not a big musical stretch for me.

In preparing for our church’s UC Frontier Services focus this Sunday, I came upon an American trad. song based on Jesus’ (John 4) encounter with “the woman at the well”.   I tracked down the original words and an ancient Peter, Paul and Mary clip:

Problem was, I didn’t at all want to focus on a woman who “had five husbands” and was told to “go, sin no more”. Withwater 10 the Frontier Services theme of Living water: wellspring of hope before me, my preference was to focus in on the “living water” that Jesus was offering, for evermore.

So I did.  Needs to be sung and played with a clear folk-blues feel, and definitely not too quickly. See what you think. As always, I look forward to how it goes.


lyrics download

Jesus met the woman at the well, (x3)
And He told her everything she’d ever done.

He said,
“Please give, please give, give me some water” (x3)
“I know everything you’ve ever done.”

She said,
“Please give, Please give, living water” (x3)
You know me far better than anyone.

He said,
“I give, I give,  living water” (x3)
God’s gift of life for you, evermore

Jesus meets us all there at the well, (x3)
And He tells us everything we’ve ever done.

David MacGregor
© 2015 Willow Publishing
* lyrics adapted from American trad. of some title
* tune: public domain



Scotland 2015 #13 – home!

Well, we got to bed, back home in Brisbane around 2.30 am today. This is not a typo!
The flights home (think 3 of them) were uneventful; the only hitch being that the sinus/sniffles I had dealt well with the preceding two weeks came home to roost and I dealt with blocked ears all the way home.  At least no ear pain. Even managed a copy of movies – Love and Mercy, the excellent biopic on Beach Boys genius, Brian Wilson and Amy – the illuminating though so sad documentary on late singer Amy Winehouse.  Even managed to watch a concert from the Beach Boys 2012 50th anniversary reunion tour.  Well and truly got my Beach Boys dosage on the trip back.  It was nice to have Nathan pick us up from Brisbane airport in the wee hours (David, you’re no longer in Scotland, me lad!).

10 highlights from our time way … in no particular order:

  1. having  a break.  Dale and I so needed it. Life, ministry and so on have all been demanding these past months. Yes, with  no real exceptions, I had good sleep every night, for which I give thanks!  A break it indeed was.


 2. Our time with the Iona Community. Never think that 6 days and nights with the community on a semi-isolated Scottish Hebridean island is some sort of waited-on retreat … “Waiter, waiter”.  No way.  We lived, worked, worshipped, laughed, worked and worshipped together some more, all in community.









3. All of the worship in Iona Abbey, of which two services stand out:

  1. the Sunday morning communion, which included John Bell’s stirring, challenging preaching – questioning how well we would welcome the refugee
  2. Monday night’s God and Her Girls service, highlighting the legacy of women of faith, fight and justice down the ages




 4.  times of singing in the Abbey and with the community in the Macleod Centre. John Bell has this God-gifted ability to get us to sing in glorious unaccompanied 4-part harmony; singing songs of such depth from the world church. Aaaahhh.

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5. Walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  Dale may not agree with me on the “walking” bit, but I loved the symmetry of Holyrood House at the bottom and Edinburgh Castle at the top end.  The castle is all that it’s purported to be.  Our airbnb experience – apart from the flights of stairs up to and down from our room – was a great success.  I’d be surprised if we don’t do that sort of thing again sometime, somewhere.

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 6. Wednesday night’s concert on Iona.   Dale and I did our Pete Seeger medley and the audience joined in superbly!!  Such classic, meaningful songs. Just as memorable, the Swedish item (in silence – imagine a choir of fish singing – you had to be there) and the guy … making good fun out of the Iona kitchen’s policy of inclusion with meals – lactose free, gluten free, meat free, dairy free, onion free and so on.  So, the adaptation of Sting’s Free, free, set them free went down a treat!    Thanks also to Dale for facilitating the singing of some of my worship songs on the Thursday night with a small group at the Macleod Centre.


7. Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. This was a must see, and (with Edinburgh Castle) one of two castles we visited.  The cruise to and from it from our o/n lodgings at Clansman Hotel was great too.


 8. The driving. I loved it! We drove through some marvellous countryside, through or by way too many lochs and glens and mountains (and yes 3000 foot+ “munros) to mention.  Of particular note was the drive through Glen Coe.  All it was built up to be and more.  Not far behind – the drive from Gardenstown to Glasgow via Cairngorms National Park. Stunning views.  Stunning.   The drive across Mull deserves an honourable mention.

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 9. Our time on the NE Aberdeenshire Coast, in/around Gardenstown.  This really was a unique experience, and we really do thank Dale’s sister Diana for helping organize this.  Such an isolated, quaint area, and all the time basked in beautiful, sunny weather. No wind, no rain, no need for the fire place – just sunshine. I don’t ever recall being in such an amazing area.

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 10. Culloden Battlefield.  As I’ve remarked in a past post, I am a pacifist and struggle with war and conflict.   Walking the field where so many lost their life, particularly for the Jacobite cause was so sobering.

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 Marvellous memories.  Much to ponder on, for life and ministry. Much to let go of; much to take up. I do feel I’ve come back renewed in body, mind and spirit.

I thank God for yet another enriching chapter in the life Dale and I weave together.


Scotland 2015 #12

On a roll with this blogging. A long but delightful day’s driving – all the way from NE Aberdeenshire to the Ramada hotel at Glasgow airport. We fly home just after 2 tomorrow afternoon, so a good opportunity to get some o/n rest before the long trek home. 

We belatedly left a foggy Gardenstown around 7, having breakfast at Elgin (half way to Inverness) on the way.

underneath the arches at Cullen, Aberdeenshire coast

We started heading south through the central Scottish Highlands, heading deeper and deeper into the famed Cairngorms National Park. Nice morning tea stop at a The Tea Pot in Kingussie. The road south – apart from several stops for roadworks, was in really good nick. Made for pleasant driving indeed.


Walkers factory south of Elgin


just north of Cairngorms National Park


stunning – Cairngorms N.P.


Cairngorms National Park takes up a huge amount of the Scottish Highlands. Driving through it on a sun drenched day like today was truly delightful.


Stirling Castle


As we neared Glasgow, we passed Stirling Castle, before making it to the Ramada at Glasgow Airport around 3 pm, 8 hours after leaving Aberdeenshire. Checking in, I handed the trusty black Peugeot in at the Avis office. It had taken us west to Fionnphort on Mull, north by Lochness to Inverness and east to Gardenstown and Fraserburgh, west again to the war grave at Culloden, to British supermarkets like Tesco and ASDA, and then today through the Cairngorns to Glasgow. It served us well!
Better late then never, Dale manages to order for dinner the closest thing to her favourite seafood chowder – Cullen Skink (a chowder with haddock and potato), Cullen being a little seaside town which we drove through many times. Dale well and truly gave it the thumbs up!


Dale and her “Cullen Skink”



Scotland 2015 #11 – slower days around Gardenstown

We’ve enjoyed the slower pace of the past two days. After our ASDA trip yesterday morning at Fraserburgh we headed back to Gardenstown via the beautifully scenic coastal trail – striking coastline and all in beautiful sunshine.



 Getting back around lunchtime we put some salad sandwiches together, walked down a flight of steep steps to the waterfront, where seagulls in their scores were having the best of times and enjoyed an al-fresco lunch. Nice.

  Quiet rest of the day.

Today, after another excellent sleep and leisurely start  we thought we’d do what tourists do in Scotland … visit a distillery. So we did – the Glenlassaugh Distillery about 30 min west near Portsoy. We took the tour. Now – neither of us are really drinkers and I wouldn’t know the difference between a single malt whisky and a “triple malt” (if such a thing exists!). The tour was well worth it, though I’m still none the wiser as to what a single malt is!?!.

Time then for lunch. The little cafe we planned to patronise at nearby Banff was closed so we enjoyed lunch up the hill at Banff Springs restaurant. We splurged and thoroughly enjoyed our meal – enhanced by stunning views out to the bay.

Back to Gardenstown for the last time. We head off at sunrise tomorrow morning, to Glasgow. We’ll drive through Cairngorms National Park through much of our 5 hours driving. If this superb weather persists, we should take in some superb views. Eyes on the road, David.

It’s been such a blessing and gift staying these many days in Gardenstown. Dale and I have been blessed over our life together to have stayed at some amazing places. This place is up with the very best – so quiet and picturesque. Almost another world.  

To celebrate our delightful time here, pub crawlers that we are (not!) we each had a drink and final chat at the trusty Garden Arms hotel around the corner; four nights out of five 😀



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