September 14, 2022
The woman said to him, “Sir, you don’t have a bucket and the well is deep. Where would you get this living water? – John 4:11 CEB
Rod thinks I have a drinking problem, water that is, since I always have at least one thermos, mug, glass, or bottle of water close at hand. He’s right when it comes to water. I come by it honestly. My mom always had a glass of water on her nightstand, and in various locations around the house. She was delighted when the first drink holders became standard equipment in cars. She knew that hydration was important.
In ancient times, people created bags from animal hides to carry water and other fluids. Jesus used the image of a wineskin in his teaching. Surely, he and his followers would have carried these on their travels. I recall their popularity among a certain population of students at Penn State back in the day although I don’t recall anyone using them for water.
Medieval pilgrims walking the Camino carried emptied-out gourds to hold water. And in this day of modern technology, we have a plethora of options, including “hydration packs” which are like plasticized skins that go in a special pocket of a backpack, complete with a long tube that extends to your shoulder. You can walk and sip at the same time. We’ve been advised to carry a water bottle that can hold 32 oz. While I am fond of water bottles that keep drinks cold for hours on end, these add weight and bulk to a backpack. So, I have settled on a basic bottle with a tight-fitting top.
Jesus was thirsty when he arrived at a Samaritan well at midday. He had a life-changing exchange with a woman who noted that he spoke of living water yet had no bucket. The irony is that no bucket, no wineskin, no gourd, no fancy bottle is needed for that living water. Just space within our overly full lives to thirst for what really gives life.
I expect that the Camino will provide abundant opportunities for awareness of that kind of water, if only I slow my inner self to get quiet enough to become aware of the thirst.
Living Water, when I sip water along the way, may I be aware of my thirst for you, and the thirst of those who have no access to either fresh water, or your Living Water. ~ Anne