Once on a hot summer day in France, I hiked a winding path with some companions all the way to the very source of a small stream. Having grown hot and tired from our hike, our local guides instructed us to rest a few moments and refresh ourselves at the spring. I hesitated as I watched the others drink confidently, even eagerly. The closest I had ever come to drinking untreated water was in sipping from the garden hose!
Their beckoning won me over, however, and I joined them. We drank the cold flowing water made all the more delicious by our thirst and the natural stone spicket. It occurred to me then that God intended water to be like that—pure, refreshing, a free gift of his goodness.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises that “living water” will well up in those who believe. The scene of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4:1–42 is one those passages. This scene is particularly valuable for those who evangelize and catechize because it offers us a model of an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ and reveals to us the effects of that living water he promises.
In fact, we could almost name “the holy Samaritan”—as St. Teresa of Ávila calls her—our patron saint. We want to drink of the water Christ offers and teach others how to do the same, just as she did that day in Samaria.