Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4: 13-14)
On his way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus went through Samaria, a foreign land. He stopped in Sychar, by Jacob\'s well, where he met a Samaritan woman. Jesus asked her for water and she responded, \"You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?\", as Jews and Samaritans did not relate to each other. Then Jesus replied, \"If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.\" And the dialogue continued for a while.
This meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman shows Jesus going beyond conventional rules and talking to a Samaritan woman, which astonishes the disciples when they see him (v. 27). Jesus starts from a daily need, water and opens the Samaritan woman to a different dimension: living water. His words resonate with those of the book of Revelation: \"To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life\" (Rev 21: 6)
\"The Bible affirms water as the cradle of life, an expression of God\'s grace in perpetuity for the whole of creation (Gen 2:5ff). It is a basic condition for all life on Earth (Gen 1:2ff.) and is to be preserved and shared for the benefit of all creatures and the wider creation,\" states the WCC's Statement on Water for life.
The relationship between water and life is highlighted in Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman. For those of us who easily get water from the tap it is difficult to understand how precious water is. But \"access to freshwater supplies is becoming an urgent matter across the planet. The survival of 1.2 billion people is currently in jeopardy due to lack of adequate water and sanitation. Unequal access to water causes conflicts between and among people, communities, regions and nations.\"
Church World Service's campaign Water for All uses the above olive wood ornament of the Woman at the well as its symbol. It tells of the different symbolism of water and a woman going to well.
Water also reminds us of the spiritual life and the basics of our faith. The 16th century Spanish mystic John of the Cross, for example, refers to water in many of his poems. Water, springs and wells are symbols in his poems of God who can be reached only by faith. Despite doubts, difficulties, conflicts, crises, darkness or night, water can be a reminder of the presence of a loving and caring God amongst us. One of St John of the Cross\'s poems begins: \"For I know well the spring that flows and runs, although it is night\".
May that spring of living water flow for all, everywhere.
Guillermo Kerber, WCC
Together we can make a difference:
Learn about CWS campaign Water for all
Try to find out how churches in your city, country or region are addressing the water crisis. How can you be involved, how can you contribute to these initiatives?
Read and meditate John of the Cross \"Song of the soul that rejoices in knowing God through faith\" Would you like to try the original Spanish version?: Poem number 8. Cantar del alma que se huelga de conocer a Dios por fe.
Recent WCC statements on the water crisis and its relationships to Climate Change:
Statement on Water for Life (February 2006)
Statement on the 10th Anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol (September 2007)
"Be stewards of God's creation" Minute on Global Warming and Climate Change (February 2008)