There was a time in my younger days that the idea of selling water for drinking is unlikely, even absurd. Clean drinking water then was plentiful; water wells were oozing with supply. Today, we have to shell out money to buy clean water for drinking. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we are reminded of the significance of water both in our physical and spiritual life. We drink water to quench thirst and to sustain bodily functions. It is used for agriculture, for cooling and heating, and is referred to as the universal solvent; as such it is widely used in industrial processes and in cooking and cleaning. Much of the world’s fish and marine life are sourced from major seas and oceans. Trade uses water to transport commodities and manufactured products through waterways. Water is also a venue for many sports and other forms of entertainment.
Jesus was asking a drink from the Samaritan woman, and struck a conversation with her. The discussion was getting deeper and the woman eventually asking “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” (Jn. 4: 15) The Lord speaks about water that gives “eternal life”, a spring of water that flows continuously.
As water is the major component of beer and beverages, we always appreciate its contribution and significance in the final product quality. There was a time that cities became famous due to the beers that were produced there, as a consequence of the water quality that flows out of its aquifers. (A good example is the popular Pilsen Beer, deriving its origins from a city in the old Czechoslovakia which became the model for the category of beers under the same name.)
Similarly, Jesus speaks of the markers that the gifts of the Holy Spirit – knowledge, understanding, counsel, wisdom, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. These in turn bears the twelve fruits of the Spirit, according to Sacred Tradition these are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1832).
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. (Mt. 7:17-20)
This passage in St. Matthew’s Gospel helps us understand the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are manifested by people who have allowed the grace of the Holy Spirit to flow in their lives.
As we come deeper into Lent, let us be reminded that we shouldn’t stop trying to achieve holiness. Let us continue nourishing ourselves with the living water that following Jesus can give; in so doing, we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Let us continue to exercise fasting, alms-giving and immersing ourselves in prayer, not only this Season, but as a continuous practice of sanctification.
“Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me living water, that I may never thirst again.” (cf. Jn. 4: 42, 15)