A well is a meeting place. For thousands of years, this was where people would come to draw water. They came together, conversed and chatted about everything under the sun.
A well is also a place full of symbolism. Water, once thought of as one of the four elements, is the origin of all life. Water heals and gives strength. But it can also destroy – think, for instance, of the story of Noah and the ark. And over unimaginably long periods of time, water in motion can polish even the hardest of stones – like the beautiful, cool, round natural stones at the edge of the well.
700 years ago, this well provided water for the women of the Dominican convent, and they no doubt considered themselves lucky to have a water supply right inside the building.
If you look down into the well, the water seems motionless. But it’s actually fed by a spring here in Meersburg’s upper town. That gently flowing water source once supplied an entire system of wells. So the nuns always had fresh water – such a luxury in those days!
Since then, the former convent has had its ups and downs. During the period when educated nuns still occupied the building, it served as a girls' school. Then, after secularisation, it housed a brewery. Most recently, until 1963, it was home to Meersburg's elementary school. Finally, it stood empty and fell into disrepair.
In the 1980s, the town carried out a thorough renovation of the complex and offered the Protestant community the opportunity to set up the Bible Gallery here. During the renovation work, the well was rediscovered and excavated. Sediments and deposits were removed, and the casing – that’s the interior stone work -- was rebuilt. Looking down into the well, you can clearly see where the medieval stone walls ended.
But that’s enough about wells! Here in the forum, you’ll discover how closely religion and everyday life are linked, and hear about the records set by the "book of books", the Bible. Have fun discovering and immersing yourself in the world of the Bible.
All depictions: © Bibelgalerie Meersburg