The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
Ezekiel's living water appears often in our scriptures, churches and songs. Newer churches are built with elaborate baptisteries, and often have trickling water. I've seen sets of stained-glass windows depicting a river that runs through them all. Living water is a great favorite for American Baptists, with their devotion to the Sacrament of Baptism. I think especially of the song, "Go down to the River to Pray." and its renditions by many artists.
In the Book of Revelation (22), Saint John of Patmos describes its appearance in heaven:
Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
John's gospel remembers the living water which flowed from the temple in Jerusalem. That image will reappear on Calvary when blood and water flow from Jesus' exhausted body. He has poured out everything for our salvation.
Since the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) was reintroduced to the Church after the Vatican Council, Catholics are especially aware of Baptism during the Easter Season. During these forty days of Lent we pray for our catechumens and for our church, that we will be worthy to receive these "baby Christians" with their innocence and eagerness. We will go down to the river with them during the Easter Vigil. (I admire Louisville's Archbishop Kurtz who takes his shoes off and stands in the baptismal pool to give full immersion to the newbies.) Finally, during the fifty days from Easter to Pentecost we will ponder again the mystery of our new life in Christ, especially as we read daily the Acts of the Apostles.
Water is life. Astronomers remind us of that as they search the planets and galaxy for signs of water. There may be other forms of life out there, who don't need water; but that's even harder to imagine, much less understand.
People die of thirst, especially children die of dehydration when they suffer untreated diarrhea. Athletes may collapse for lack of water as they run marathons or swim long distances. Old people often forget to hydrate because they don't feel thirst as readily, and suffer the consequences. We may have sturdy skeletons but, when it comes to water, we're like slugs, bags of water.
During this season of Lent Christians ponder the life of faith and what we need to practice that faith. We may be tempted to reductionism; that is, the tendency to think, "I need only to say my prayers." or "I do enough with my charitable donations." or "I obey all the rules."
We must ask, "Do I remain within the current of God's Spirit?"; "What attitudes, habits or relationships draw me away from living water of Jesus."; and finally, "Fill my cup, Lord."