Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015: Day Six, “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”

Jan 23rd, 2015 | By | Category: Blog Posts

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:1-42

There is something about water as part of the basic necessities of life, including food and air, that points at not only our great need for it, but also its insufficiency for our greatest need, which is above nature. Indeed, our greatest need and desire is communion with God. Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer of His people has the unique task of, among other things, revealing things concerning God the Father and Himself that we would not otherwise know. I can hardly imagine what it must have been like to encounter Jesus in this way, not knowing who He was, but as the conversation went on, realizing that I have not encountered the average person on the street.

I can feel the exhaustion in the woman’s voice, as the drudgery of coming again and again to this well comes foremost to her mind. Along with the sins and difficulties of life as it has been so far, she must have thought, “Here’s another thing I have to do.” When Jesus offers the possibility of never thirsting again, it may have sounded like all the promises of her five husbands and current male companion. On the other hand, you can sense the spark of hope as well. This woman is well aware that things have not gone according to plan. Even if she doesn’t understand it, her request is the speaking of a deep need, as it turns out, the deepest one she has.

The Holy Spirit is the spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman will change the subject once more to possibly escape from the profundity of what she has just asked, but we can know that the Holy Spirit is at work when we ask good questions and for good gifts, in search of the truth. I can testify that the Holy Spirit causes me to well up in other ways, when the will of God is made plain to me, whether in challenge, or in consolation! In any case, let us be open to the Holy Spirit, who can bring us to the fullness of charity, despite whatever obstacles may lie in our path.

We have hope for unity, and it is not a vain hope, because there is one Lord Jesus Christ, one Holy Spirit, who convicts the world in regard to sin and righteousness, and one Father of us all. Let us rejoice in this common ground, prior to all the debates and discussions: that we desire to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, to Christ our brother and Savior, and to be beloved children in the family of our Father.

Triune God,
Following Jesus’ example,
make us witnesses to your love.
May we become instruments of justice, peace and solidarity.
May your Spirit move us towards concrete actions that lead to unity. May walls be transformed into bridges.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


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