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March 1996

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.(John 4:13-14)

John the Evangelist tells of an encounter which it is difficult to describe, as is usually the case with everything concerning Jesus' life. Read it and you will sense the presence of someone who is not from this earth. He is a prophet and knows people's inmost depths. He is the Messiah and speaks of salvation, promising water that comes from heaven and is 'the gift of God'.

It was midday in Samaria when Jesus reached the city of Sychar. He was tired from the journey and sat down by a well. A woman came to draw water and Jesus said to her: "Give me a drink." However, since the Jews were not on good terms with the Samaritans, she expressed surprise at such a request; and 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." (John 4:10)

The woman pointed out that Jesus had no bucket to draw water and that he was certainly not greater than Jacob who had built that well. It was at this point that Jesus, in order to explain, said these words:

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

As you can see, Jesus does not stop at the physical meaning of the word 'water', but uses it to talk to the Samaritan woman (and to all those who would come to know his words) of something greater, invisible, and divine.

For Jesus, living water from the spring becomes the symbol of the gift that he came to bring to all people and therefore to us and to you.

And just as water in the arid lands of the Middle East is all the more precious because it quenches thirst and enables life, in the same way Jesus' gift generates supernatural life in you and satisfies your profound thirst. Ordinary water would never be able to satisfy you for good; only the water that comes from Jesus can give you fullness.

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

Since Jesus' gift satisfies you, you will no longer have to seek elsewhere for the meaning of your life, for your happiness. You have found it in Jesus.

And Jesus does not give you a fixed quantity of water that you have to draw every day. In you who receive it, this living water will turn into a 'spring', that is a 'force' working in the depths of your being, giving you new-found vitality which enters your whole being and which, through you, has an effect also on others.

This water will not end up like ordinary water, which can stagnate. On the contrary, this water gushes up in you to eternal life.

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

But you might ask, "What kind of water is Jesus talking about?"

In giving you water, which generates supernatural life, Jesus gives you himself.

Jesus who is present as new life in your inmost being, gives you a 'way of being' that is totally new. It is he who lives in you, and as happens with the saints, this can show in even the smallest things you do and can be striking to the people you meet.

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

How then can we put this Word of Life into practice?

If Jesus is the only fullness that can satisfy your greatest thirst, there can be nothing better than to choose him as the ideal of your life.

An ideal is something you choose, you study, you love, you follow, you imitate. You become identified with your ideal.

So where can you find Jesus so as to choose him, study him, follow him?

Open the Gospel. The words of Jesus are Jesus himself. Live them one by one, and live, in particular, the words that invite you to love as he teaches.

If you decide to do this, you need not worry about your future. You will not need to plan the progress of your spiritual life. The wellspring of water Jesus gives will have in itself all the energy needed to make you grow and reach holiness. All you need to do is to be faithful to him with all your heart.

Chiara Lubich

 

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The Word of Life is published by the Focolare Movement