Water – vital for life

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As I look out the window there are some clouds above that suggest an imminent delivery of rain is on its way!

We may not always appreciate getting wet if caught outside in a shower, yet water is vital for life! Next to me is a glass full of it, ready to drink. It is something that we can so easily take for granted.

In the talk for the ICL service on the 17th May, I mention that it was ‘World Water Day’ back in March. It is a day which highlights the challenges many people face when it comes to water. For instance, 785 million people across the globe do not have access to proper drinking water (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water)

Though there are obstacles to be overcome, decent water for all is still achievable.

Water is vital for life! It is now and was back in the centuries that the books of the Bible were written in. It was crucial for people, for crops, for livestock. Not surprisingly, water imagery is used again and again to speak about faith and life too. For example,

“As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you, O God”

Psalm 42:1

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” 

Isaiah 12:3

Often it was through wells that people reached the underlying water they needed. Wells also frequently formed a backdrop to stories in the Bible. One example is in John chapter 4. A woman who for various reasons was ‘socially distanced’ has an encounter with Christ, when he crosses over racial and cultural taboos and asks her for a drink.

Christ speaks to her about ‘living water’. Water in the well was essentially still. Living water suggested a spring, a stream or river, none of which were around the village. What could he mean? She was intrigued and asked more. At one stage Jesus says,

“whoever drinks of the water that I give will never thirst. But the water that I shall give will become a fountain of water springing up to eternal life” 

John 4:14

She asks him for this water.

If you read on in the text, you can see how the woman’s life is radically changed. In fact it was not just her life but others from where she lived too. All of them were Samaritans, a racial group that were looked down upon as outcasts by many Jewish people living to the south in Judea. Actually mistrust and hatred was often reciprocal between the two groups of people!

Yet there was something about Jesus (a Jew himself) and this ‘living water’ that he spoke of. Something that was life changing and liberating which reached across barriers such as social status or race.

Does such ‘living water’ still have a relevance for our world today? How is the water that Christ was speaking of vital for our lives?  I ask whether we count ourselves a Christian or not.

Even right now during this lockdown time, how might knowing Christ’s ‘living water’ make a big difference? In our lives personally but also for others?

I appreciate such questions might seem a bit abstract but I encourage us all to think about it.

Water is vital for life. I want to suggest that ‘living water’ is too!



After writing this blog post, I read about the attack in Kabul –  on a maternity ward killing 24, including two newborn babies. Elsewhere in Afghanistan on the same day, at least 24 were killed by an attack at a funeral. Heart-breaking to read about! If you believe in praying, let’s be praying for all those grieving in these situations and for the nation of Afghanistan generally. Besides COVID-19, that nation has many other on-going challenges.