In the Rule of St. Albert, written around 1208 A.D. by Patriarch St. Albert of Jerusalem, he addressed the Rule to the hermits who lived near the spring on Mount Carmel. It was in the vicinity of this spring that the first Carmelites built their cells and their first chapel dedicated to Our Lady. The spring was considered ‘living water’ because it rose of its own accord from the ground. I have often pondered the mystery of living water. In the physical sense, I am captivated by the mysterious, innate goodness of the earth itself. Water falls from the sky and carries our physical impurities down through the soil and rock deep into the earth before making its way back to the surface – clean, fresh and wholesome. What a mystery – that the earth itself is perpetually blessing us with fresh water! However, the spiritual mystery of living water is even more fascinating. I have always loved the story of the ‘woman at the well.’ She doesn’t fully understand what Jesus means when He says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I 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.” (John 4:13-14, NRSV Catholic Edition) This ‘water’ is traditionally associated with the water that gushed from the side of Jesus, along with his blood, when He was pierced by the soldier after His death on the cross. And of course, it also refers to the Sacrament of Baptism. As much as we can study the theology of these profound mysteries, I am always left with the sense that there is so much more to know. Perhaps it is because this living water is not only a gift from Christ, but it is also the gift of Christ Himself, the ultimate Mystery, who never ceases to fascinate as He draws us ever closer to Him.
(Originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of “Las Cruces Carmelite Tid-Bits”)