The Second Work of Mercy: Give the Thirsty Drink

I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink

Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’ [John 4, 13—15]

When the poor and needy seek water,

I will open rivers on the bare heights,

and fountains in the midst of the valleys;

I will make the wilderness a pool of water,

and the dry land springs of water. Isaiah 41:17-18

And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. [Rev 22 v16]        

Without water there is no life. That’s why space scientists are always on the lookout for signs of water: for a planet with water is a planet that may harbour life.

In our country we have abundant water. We have efficient infrastructure for delivering clean water to every home, we have taps that deliver hot or cold water, whichever we want. We have lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, and reservoirs. We have rain. We carry bottled water about wherever we go.

In our country, we take good sanitation and safe and effective management of sewage for granted. Dozens of designs for toilets can be found on the internet; all modern homes have an inside toilet, often more than one.

But public toilets are harder to find than they used to be; water fountains have all but vanished.

So if you are homeless, stuck in a B&B, or sofa-surfing, it is harder to find a toilet that is safe to use, harder to find somewhere safe to wash, harder to find a place to wash your clothes. It’s hard to be clean and tidy; hard to be without what the rest of us take for granted: water.

In many parts of the world water is scarce, and getting scarcer.

For girls and women across the world, going to the well, carrying water, takes many hours each day. Lack of clean water kills: every 20 seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies because of a water-related disease.

The Works of Mercy are both personal and social.

They challenge us on two levels: what can I do? what can we do?

As individuals and families we can examine our own lives and lifestyles, and see if there are changes we could make to use less water and perhaps donate the difference in the water bills to Water Aid or Just A Drop, a charity with a focus on reducing child mortality from water-borne diseases.

Every year the United Nations designates 22nd March as World Water Day. What could your parish do to mark World Water Day, and give thanks for water??

A Prayer for Rain

May God open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains. Let us especially pray for those most impacted by water shortages and for the wisdom and charity to be good stewards of this precious gift.  May our political leaders seek the common good as we learn to care and share God’s gift of water for the good of all.  In Jesus Name, AMEN.

[Bishop Jaime Soto, Catholic Diocese of Sacramento]

And another:

O God, in Whom we live move and have our being, grant us sufficient rain, so that, being supplied with what sustains us in this present life, we may seek more confidently what sustains us for eternity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.         [From The Roman Missal of the Catholic Church, #35

Above article van be downloaded for own use here:

Drink to the thirsty – Word

Drink to the thirsty – PDF


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.