March 1996


The Word of Life, taken from Scripture, is offered each month as a guide and inspiration for daily living.


Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (Jn 4:13-14)


John the Evangelist narrates an episode for which it is difficult to find an adjective, as is ommon with everything concerning Jesus. Read it and it will present to you someone who is not of this world: he is a prophet and he knows the inmost depths of people; he is the Messiah and he speaks of salvation, promising water which comes from heaven and is "the gift of God."

It was midday in Samaria, when Jesus reached the city of Sychar. Tired from the trip, he sat by a well. A woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink." However, since the Jews were not on good terms with the Samaritans, the Samaritan woman experssed her surprise at such a request. Jesus replied, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you: 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water" (Jn. 4:10).

The woman told Jesus that he had no bucket with which to draw water and that he was certainly not greater than Jacob who had dug that well. It was at this point that Jesus, so as to explain himself, pronounced these words:


Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life"


As you can see, Jesus does not stop at the usual meaning of the word "water," but he makes use of it to talk to the Samaritan woman (and thus, to all those who would know his words) of a superior, invisible and divine reality.

From Jesus' lips, living water which signifies water welling up from the spring, becomes the symbol of the gift that he came to bring to humanity and therefore, to all of us, to you as well.

Water in the arid lands of many areas in the Middle East is very precious because it quenches people's thirst and makes life flourish. In the same way, the gift of Jesus generates supernatural life in you and permanently quenches your innermost thirst. Natural water would never be able to satisfy you permanently; only the water that comes from Jesus can give you fullness.


Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life"


Jesus' gift will satiate you, and you will no longer have to seek elsewhere for fulfillment, for happiness. You will have found it in Jesus.

Jesus does not give you a limited amount of water which you have to draw everyday. In you who receive it, this living water will turn into a "spring" surging forth from the depths of your being, giving you new-found vitality which penetrates your whole self and through you benefits others, too.

Furthermore, this water will not end up like natural water which becomes putrid when it stagnates. On the contrary, it wells up in you onto eternal life.


Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life"


But - you will ask - what kind of water is Jesus speaking of?

Jesus gives himself in giving you water which generates supernatural life.

Jesus, who is present as a new life in your innermost self, gives you a "way of being" which is totally new. Jesus himself lives in you. Then, as it happens with the saints, even your simplest gestures may acquire a new dimension and can touch the lives of the people you meet.


Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life"


How then, can you put this Word of Life into practice?

If Jesus is the only One able to satisfy our most profound thirst, there is nothing better that choosing him as the Ideal of our life.

An ideal is something which you choose, study, love, follow and emulate. You want to become one with your ideal.

But where will you find Jesus so as to choose only him, to study about him and follow him?

Open the Gospel. His words are he himself. Live them one by one. Live in particular those that invite you to love as he teaches.

If you decide to do this, you need not worry about your future. You need not make a program for spiritual growth. The living water which Jesus gives will in itself have all the necessary energy to sustain your progress and sanctification. All you need to do is to be faithful to him with all your heart.


Chiara Lubich