Christian's Spring

When we bought the land in 1988, only the barn was here. We lived in it for nearly two years while we moved an early pioneer settler’s cabin to the property and rebuilt it as the First House.

Our goal was to recreate an eighteenth-century community of single brothers that was located north of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. That community was called Christiansbrunn, the Spring of Christian, named for the leader of the brotherhood. Ironically he never came to Pennsylvania, being born in Germany and dying in London at the age of 24. However his brothers believed Christian’s spirit lived again in the waters of what became a sacred spring. By drinking the water, they brought Christian inside them. That spring still exists.                                                                        

Hymn No. 65 There Once Was A Man1

That idea, filled with so many possibilities, set us on fire. It was the union of the physical and the spiritual which we had sought for years. We welcomed men to join us but, while many came, none ever worked out and we finally realized we were not meant for a monastic life but were actually hermits. We continue our hermit lives, living in separate dwellings but with a shared spirituality. Our high holy days recognize and celebrate the earth, with the solstices and equinoxes.

 Our own lives have changed as we have created a family not solely of humans but a broader ideal of living in harmony with the earth and the 63 acres of the Hermitage. William Penn’s vision of an earthly paradise garden where humans and animals live in peace continues to guide us. 

We realize that all are one and one is all. That unity, in which we are all incarnated spirit, calls us to act in specific ways.                     

Hymn No. 80 Patience, Kindness . . .

“The Peaceable Kingdom” by Quaker artist Edward Hicks is our ideal of living a life of holy work with the planet and its creatures to create a single, unified family.                                  Public domain.

Chancy 4 edited

Chancey the cat, whom Zephram saved as a baby, when he found him laying at night in the road, possibly just minutes from being killed.


The way we were: 1994. Photograph by David Perry and used with permission.

Still, despite our ideals, we are also human, and there are times when we forget our core unity and lash out emotionally, especially in times of stress. Still, those moments, too, are part of being alive and we find it better to forgive ourselves and move on as life really is too short to get bogged down in negativity. To attend to the spirit around us, to expand and extend ourselves beyond our limiting and limited bodies, to be kind and patient with ourselves as well as others, those remain guiding influences. We are all facets of the jewel of the spirit.

Where beauty and harmony dwell

earth joins with spirit

And humanity unites with all living things.

spring 1

The 1790s stone-enclosed spring, the oldest part of the property, and where we first got our water, carrying it in buckets across the road.