Essential element

By Alan Bailey

ON an average day, you and I use a staggering 450 litres of it. Yes, it could only be water— and we take it for granted. It’s just there at the turning of a tap. We not only drink it, we wash our dishes, ourselves and our clothes with it, water our gardens and flush our toilets. Not to mention washing the car and filling the pool.


Our planet has water in abundance when seen as a whole. The oceans are massive. Seventy percent of the earth’s surface. But those that peer into the heavens and tell us about the rest of the solar system and the portion of the universe we know anything about, find little water there.

Two gases, hydrogen and oxygen. Simple chemically, but both common and rare. Plentiful but precious.


Life depends on it. Life could never have begun without it. Summer days make us thankful for it. Cool water to swallow down and shower in is a blessing. Almost like a luxury. It can only be imagined what it must be like wandering in a blazing desert looking for water. As the body dehydrates, delirium increases. The craving for water decreases as the system closes down. Then a shrivelling corpse lies inert in the sun. In time it will be white bones in the glaring light, testimony to the fact that life cannot exist without water.


A man sat on the side of a well in the hot Middle East. A woman came to draw water up in a bucket and carry it away. He asked her for a drink and this started a conversation that has gone down in history. There was an amazing change of direction when he said he had water for her that would quench her thirst forever. This was hard for her to understand, as it is for present day readers.

His words were, “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.”

Life that never ends is like a stream of water that goes on and on. People everywhere are thirsting for a new kind of life – a new quality of life. So many thirst but do not find. The woman in the story had tried in many ways to find what her heart craved. Jesus knew that and made the offer of a completely satisfying answer to her need. The offer stands today. Many have found by experience what it means to tap into the eternal, to find their inner thirst quenched, to discover they need look no further.

Christ came for the purpose of giving us life. Our existence had been affected by the pollution of sin. Spiritual death held sway. His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection brought the availability of life without end.

“Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

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