She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? Are you then greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I give shall never thirst; the water that I give will become in each one a well of water springing forth eternal life.” John 4
On a purely physical level, each one of us shares a common human experience: after a short time, we need to take in the flowing element: water. We have thirst. Thirst is a deep desire of the body to balance out the mineral element which builds up inside. Salt and other minerals help us to take hold of our form, to incarnate and to act and to think. Too much mineral, too little water, leads to dehydration. We need the element of water from the world around us. It leads us again and again back into life.
This fact of our need for replenishment from without keeps us in a relationship with the world; at least with the natural, created world as we develop ourselves individually. As wonderful as each of us is, and no matter how unique our individual gifts are, it remains a fact that our existence is a kind of desert experience without the company of others with whom we can move through life. To enter a certain quickening flow together. Through community is our life exponentially more lively.
We are also invited to merge our lives into an even larger stream. We do not have only bodily thirst, and thirst after community experience, but a kind of existential thirst for real spiritual experience and a larger purpose in life. We hear of a living water which can still this thirst. But how shall we come to its source? What shall we use to reach into its depths and bring it out?
What if my thoughts and feelings feel dried out and do not lead me to a life which feels truly alive? Can I turn them into a tool by turning with them, rounding them again by offering them up as a question and a prayer? To turn them into a kind of ladle or scoop? What if the depths that I seek are in fact in the heights, that I can reach into no matter where I am? Prayer is such an implement. With it I can bring my own will into the stream of a higher will to which my will belongs and from which new life can flow into me.