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Selling Water by the River: A Book about the Life Jesus Promised and the Religion That Gets in the Way

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  182 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Work, sex, ice cream, religion-they all promise fulfillment. But what they deliver is fleeting.

Jesus knew about this quest. He came to show us that peace is possible in this life, not just the next one. Yet Christianity, the very religion that claims Jesus as its own, has often built the biggest barriers to him and the life he promised.

Celebrated speaker and pastor Shane
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Jericho Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Taylor Storey
Dec 27, 2013 Taylor Storey rated it it was amazing
If someone wants a book that describes a Christianity that is accessible and has integrity when it comes to scholarly criticism and the recent American trend of church disenchantment, I'll recommend this book.

I thought it would be about church (god is the river, "christian institutions" are the people who bottle the water) but it's not. That is a metaphor the author uses, but instead of focusing on those bottling the water, he instead chooses to talk about the river and how it is accessible to
Aug 18, 2012 Gene rated it really liked it
Buy this book when it comes into circulation in October 2012. I read an advance copy courtesy of Jericho Books. Trust me, it will breathe life into your belief and reduce the neurotic tendencies so prevalent in Christian faith as practiced in much today's churches in North America!
Feb 19, 2013 Kyle rated it really liked it
The NEW Blue Like Jazz.

I read Blue Like Jazz and it changed my life. It helped me organize my frustrations with the Church in ways I hadn't done before. Since then I have read more books and been frustrated with different things about the Church, but true to my narrative, BLJ helped me wrestle with the Idolatry of Christianity that I had once experienced.

I call it the NEW BLJ for a reason.

It's better. The writing style is similar, but instead of just writing about how the church has hurt him, H
Phil Aud
Nov 01, 2012 Phil Aud rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This review contains spoilers.

Shane brilliantly uses metaphor. This book is packed full of metaphor all of which are his own. There are no end notes and no bibliography. These are Shane’s thoughts on scripture. I found many of these metaphors to be stunning and well thought through.

I have seen the typical ugly reactions to Shane’s promo video online. While I wasn’t a fan of his promo video (at all), I think it brings up an important point that Hipps makes regarding the lenses through which we vi
Nov 24, 2012 Melinda rated it it was amazing
I read this book because Peter Rollins recommended it. Here's the excerpt that caught my attention and made me want to read it:

"The desire begins with the first breath.
The moment life first dances in the body, a longing is born in the human heart.
A desire so simple and powerful that it drives a singular quest. This longing is baked into our being whether we want it or not. The longing is as innate to us as our thirst for water.
The object of our thirst goes by many names. Some call it love, ot
Eric Black
Jan 02, 2016 Eric Black rated it really liked it
Selling Water by the River should be read, mulled over, read again, discussed with others, argued with, and maybe read again.

The enso on the front cover communicates Shane Hipps' tone very well.

Many of Hipps' images are very intriguing, and several of his scriptural interpretations are enlightening. I recommend them for contemplation.

My only significant reservation is his not-so-subtle Gnosticism, his insistence that knowing the secret will set us free.
Mason Wren
May 07, 2013 Mason Wren rated it really liked it
Excellent use of metaphor and word-pictures...ones that have stayed with me and I continue to use in counseling. This booked gave me language and pictures for ideas I was wrestling with, and I am very thankful for that. The first half of it was better for me than the last, but still very good. Great book on the bigness of Jesus beyond the institutions we try to limit Him to, and His availability to meet the deep thirst of everyone who is willing to open to Him.
Jan 20, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it
What is it about former marketing executives having a way to relate the Christian faith in a way that is fresh and appealing? Was I just sold something?

I think I must have highlighted about half of this book. Good illustrations of God, religion, and faith. A bit too loose with theology for my taste (and I'm pretty loose) but a quick, enjoyable read nonetheless. Like his former fellow pastor at Mars Hill, Hipps is a great communicator.
Marty Solomon
Feb 21, 2014 Marty Solomon rated it really liked it
As many of the reviews and endorsements state, this book will be an incredible journey through images that communicate the heart of the conversation about Jesus. Hipps has a gift with the ability to use picture, image and metaphor to bring ideas into the light. Time and time again, Shane takes a complex idea, puts in a metaphor, and the reader walks away with a whole lot more clarity of thought.

The book is based on the premise that the Christian "religion" is like a merchant selling water by a r
Rielly Mclaren
Jul 08, 2013 Rielly Mclaren rated it liked it
I love Shane's analogies. He has a brilliant way of putting grace into perspective. He reminds me of Henri Nouwen, possibly the Henri Nouwen for this generation? His book reminded me of the importance of the inner journey, and discovering you already have what you seek. He has a calming way of writing, which expands your mind and helps you see God in ever nook and crevice of life.

I gave it three stars because it lacked a significant component, a larger cosmological understanding of the Gospel. I
Robert Rosenthal
Aug 10, 2013 Robert Rosenthal rated it it was amazing
"Selling Water by the River" is a wonderful book. I suspected it would be from the title alone. Could there be a better metaphor for the relationship between spirituality and formal religion--the felt experience of Spirit and God as opposed to the formulaic system of beliefs that constitute religion--than this? Among the many current authors who try to pry the original message of Jesus free from the twisted tangle of dogma and misunderstanding that have sadly come to characterize much of mainstr ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it
I read this for a church discussion group, and I thought that it was a great read. The author shows how multi-layered Jesus' parables are and uses concrete stories and comparisons to explain his points. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the New Testament better, who feels stymied by church structure, or skeptical of the concept of heaven.
Michael Oliver
Feb 16, 2014 Michael Oliver rated it it was amazing
Hipps is plugged in, man. He sees spiritual metaphors and analogies in everyday life that he uses to create easily digestible morsels. I enjoyed watching the woman sawed in half - knowing full well she would later bow on stage unscathed... so it was watching Hipps work magic on our churchy ways.
Shawn Skaggs
Following Jesus

Phipps does a great job of teaching people what it is to follow Jesus without the constraints or added dogma that come along with religion. One of the most important things is that he does so in a way that does not come off as offensive or patronizing.
Amy Young
Dec 12, 2015 Amy Young rated it really liked it
"Throughout his ministry, Jesus says, 'You have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . .' Or we might put it this way: 'You know the may says this, but I'm telling you the territory demands something more of you.'"
Tosha Sisler
Jan 19, 2015 Tosha Sisler rated it liked it
This book is being reviewed at Chautauqua this year. It has a great prose style and the sample touched on many of my innate yearnings and questions. As someone who has tried to maintain a sense of Christianity while searching beyond its religious borders, into other faiths and spiritual practices, in order to compensate for what I find lacking within its religious dogma and to feed that deep need within myself, I am very intrigued to explore this book more.

The woman who chose to review this book
Apr 08, 2016 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly InDepth

His use of American English shows a mastery not only in mystery but a very refined skill in discernment that is prevalent.
Apr 01, 2013 Mariam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Refreshing and freeing of so much of the religious guilt many of us are brought up with. Shane creatively reminds the reader of the gift of life Jesus offers and he starkly points out how often we miss out on the river because we buying from vendors standing next to it. My favourite quote: 'He (#Jesus) didn't come that we would become more religious or even more spiritual. Jesus came to show us what it truly means to be human - to live life conscious of the exquisite gift we've been given. He ca ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Missy rated it really liked it
The author puts into words some of the things I have been "feeling" about religion and faith through the past few years but haven't been eloquent enough to express.
Kevin Clementson
Mar 28, 2013 Kevin Clementson rated it liked it
A thoughtful reflection on faith and religion. Hipps does an admirable job of helping the reader reflect upon Jesus as one who helps us discover the intimate and immediate qualities of God's presence in our lives. Painfully missing is any real sense of the community aspect of life. One could easily 'assume' that community is that which gets in the way. Still this is a book that can be helpful in sorting out that which can be helpful or harmful to ones personal walk.
Aug 14, 2012 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
Shane Hipps is an incredibly talented writer, teacher and thinker. I am so grateful for this book and for what Shane is sharing. As he so eloquently illustrates, the church can sometimes get in the way of our faith in Jesus. Shane takes it back to the source and starts from there. This is a great book to give to your friends -those who might have walked away from 'religion' but still hold out hope for Jesus.
Sarah Nagy
Feb 10, 2014 Sarah Nagy rated it liked it
I liked Hipps' message overall. Something more people need to hear I think. I thought his writing was very accessible, but I personally found it a little boring. I could only read a chapter or two a night.
Charles Dean
Nov 07, 2012 Charles Dean rated it liked it
I liked the central metaphor - God is the river, religion a merchant that sells water by the river. The merchant isn't the river.

Some good stuff here, but I got a little bored towards the end. I felt like I wanted more about the metaphor - how does religion get in the way? How do we DO religion in a way that leads people to the river and doesn't get in the way?
Nov 25, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This book will make you rethink several things about Christianity, but I think in a good way. The gist of it is that we should be focusing more on bringing heaven to earth as much as we can rather than the heaven after we die. That is important, but not the end all be all. I am probably not doing it justice because it is a wonderfully complex book.
Jul 08, 2016 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
Amazing book on living for Jesus and how it can be very different than the Christianity we are taught to believe in. Rarely have I read a Christian book that I agree with on so many different levels. highly recommended. I was blessed to have Shane Hipps as my pastor for a few years in the past at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Az.
Joel Cox
Dec 28, 2013 Joel Cox rated it it was amazing
Full of beautiful metaphoric descriptions of the Kingdom of God. Shane Hipps has a well articulated and imaginative way explaining God and what God is all about. Highly recommended.
Kate Davis
If you've heard Shane's sermons, you've probably heard most of the contents of this book. That said, it's nice to have the metaphors at-hand and transcripts accessible for easy review and reflection. Shane is has a lovely fluency in the language of metaphor.
Jon Mills
Jan 06, 2014 Jon Mills rated it it was amazing
Shane has a wonderful gift of being able to take simple stories from daily life and use them to clearly expound a deep truth. I was taught and inspired. This is one of those books I plan on reading again.
Harley Mathews
Oct 01, 2013 Harley Mathews rated it it was amazing
wonderful. enlightenin. challenging. I'm already looking at ways to share with my own church these great gems of scripture prose and interpretation. looking forward to reading it again!
Jun 29, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking. I learn best through story telling and analogies, and Hipps has a gold mine of them to offer. My heart will be churning around these gems for awhile.
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“Truth without love, isn't.” 5 likes
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