My mother taught me the value of drinking water. She didn’t sit me down and lecture me, didn’t explain the benefits of hydration. She simply did it. Every hour or so, my siblings and I would hear her, turning on the faucet, filling her glass, adding a couple of ice cubes and then jiggling the glass a bit before she drank.
She did it several times a day. Now, I do it, too.
Like my mother, I drink five, six, sometimes eight or ten glasses a day. And, each time, within an hour, or two, I get thirsty again. When that happens, I can usually walk a few steps, open the refrigerator and lift the spigot on the container I bought from the nearby Water & Ice store. However, there are those times, when I am “out” of water, when I’ve consumed every ounce in all five of my five-gallon jugs, and I have to grab my keys, quarters and containers, jump in my car and go get more of what sustains me.
This need to be constantly re-rehydrated, is a well-known phenomenon, one the Savior pointed out more than 2,000 years ago, when, traveling from Jerusalem to Nazareth, he stopped to rest at Jacob’s well. A Samaritan woman approached, carrying her empty jugs with her. After asking the woman for a drink, Christ told her, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.”
It was a fact that must have seemed more-than obvious to the woman who, thirsting again, and with jugs in hand, had just headed back to the ancient version of a water store.
Next, Christ introduced her to a different kind of water. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst … the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
It’s a beautiful promise, one that a desert-dwelling, water-lover like me instantly responds to. And, yet, knowing what I do about water … and about thirst … it’s a promise that, at first, may seem a bit far-fetched or unattainable, at least for me.
You see, I’ve gone to that wellspring, tasted the living water, and felt the power of the atonement in my life. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be the ultimate quencher. I still struggle, I still face discouragement and disappointment, I still long for more. I still get thirsty.
What was it, really, that the Savior—the giver of all good gifts—was promising the Samaritan woman that day? What message was he sending about thirst and drought and water and wells?
The answer distills like dew from heaven.
The Savior didn’t say, “You won’t ever have to drink again.” In fact, He wants us to drink, and to drink deeply, and often.
He wants us to come to Him with our cups empty, so they can be filled.
He wants us to come to Him with our stains, our filthiness, so He can wash us clean.
He wants us to come when we hunger and thirst after greater things, after more than this world has to offer, so, in our emptiness, he can lead us to drink again from the waters welling up to eternal life.
He wants us to come parched and dry, so we can be healed and restored.
He wants us to partake of living water.