The Word on the Week


‘Water, water, everywhere and all the boards did shrink,

Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink!’

These words from Coleridge’s poem “The Ancient Mariner” come to mind when glancing through the headlines of our news this week. It’s been all about water.

We were not on board a ship on Thursday night but coming home in the car through the torrential rain certainly resembled it! “Local flooding” was what the weather man promised us and that is what we got.

It is against this background that the government has been trying vainly to introduce a water tax. In an effort to make it more palatable for some people it attempted to cap the amount payable according to the number and make up of each household. A fruitless task as it turned out which pleased no-one. Meanwhile the installation of water meters continues.

The countrywide network of pipes is known to leak up to 40% of its water and now with meters we know where the leaks are. Perhaps someone may fix them. Meantime the system continues to haemorrhage and the meters clock up the cost for which the householder is considered to be liable.

This has brought a normally passive people onto the streets in protest and provided those in opposition with a watertight case for change! Insult was added to injury when it was learned that those responsible were allocating bonuses to themselves – reminiscent of the Celtic Tiger days when builders got a bonus for simply showing up!

My Missionary friend in Bahrain used to ask enviously “Is Ireland still a rainy place?”

This is a timely reminder that for millions of people water is a precious commodity for sustaining life. It was this aspect that Jesus imbued with a spiritual meaning when he told the woman at the well of Samaria that he could give her “living water”.

She got the idea half right when she realised there would be no need to receive this water a second time but she imagined that it was H2O and not a euphemism for the Holy Spirit (St John’s Gospel Chapter 4 verses 10/14).

However before their conversation ended she recognised Jesus was the Christ, went back and told the town. Many townsfolk went to the well and persuaded Jesus to stay with them which he did for two days. During this time many more believed in him.

Jesus offers “living water” to all who are thirsty with a thirst which nothing in this world can quench.

Like our water system, which is not working, man made remedies to cure the thirsty soul will not provide a permanent solution. Come to Jesus who said, “The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (Verse 14).

But how? The same way now as it was then – ask Jesus (in prayer) and he will give you the “living water”.