IF ANYONE IS THIRSTY LET HIM TO COME TO ME AND DRINK.... HE SAID THIS REFERENCE TO THE SPIRIT. Clearly there is such a state of soul as is characterized by a form of thirst that can be quenched only by the Spirit. As St. Augustine notes "There is then an. interior thirst and an interior stomach because there is an interior man." (Sobre El Evngelio de San Juan, vol. I, 32.2 , [Madrid: B.A.C., 1968] 654) There are two ways of understanding this text. Some commentators maintain that the rivers of living water flow from the side of Jesus as the source of the Spirit. Others hold that the waters flow from within the believer who thirsts after life in the Spirit. In this latter case, he receives these living waters through the Spirit given by Jesus. John himself informs us here that until Jesus is glorified, that is, dies on the cross, rises and ascends to the Father, the Spirit is not given. The gift of the Spirit derives from the risen and glorified Lord Jesus.

Our part is to thirst for these living waters that alone afford permanent, everlasting satisfaction. Satisfying other desires with drink from other fountains will only result in further thirst, harder to quench the more indulged in. For no satisfaction of the outer man can long satisfy our longing for a fullness that wells up from within our depths. In the Book of Sirach (24:21) there is a passage that Jesus may well have had in mind when he spoke the words promising abundance of life-giving water of the Spirit. There Wisdom/Torah says of herself "They who eat me will hunger for more, they who drink me will. thirst for more". But Jesus says waters that he promises, "he who drinks of the water that I will give him will not thirst for all eternity (John 4:14)". This water is the very Spirit of God the Father and of the eternal Son, poured out for us. Let us drink of it with the thirst of desire here at this altar and at the living fountain welling up from the depths of the inner man where the Spirit of God makes his abode.

  Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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