This past Monday was the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. The apparitions of Our Blessed Mother at Masabielle involved an unexpected stream bubbling out of the earth. In the years since 1858, that small stream has been the source of many, many miraculous physical and spiritual healings.
In today’s first reading at Mass, the author of Genesis writes of “a stream…welling up out of the earth,” which watered the whole surface of the ground (Gen. 2:6). Our minds should automatically make a connection between these two streams. Yet, there is an even more important connection between streams of water that comes to my mind.
During his public ministry, Jesus went out of his usual way for a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in the town of Sychar (cf. Jn. 4:4-30, 39ff). During this encounter, the Lord mentions to this outcast woman that he has “living water,” which is intended to become “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14). The streams in Genesis and at Lourdes point us to this eternal spring of living water!
The classical maxim states, “Grace builds on nature,” and it applies perfectly in this case. The first stream, mentioned in Genesis, is beautiful and necessary. It provides fertilization for the ground and hydration for bodies. The spring that wells up to eternal life provides fertilization and hydration for our souls. With the first water, we can have a great life here on earth. With the living water, we can inherit eternal life with the Trinity.
It would be a great thing for each of us to find a spring or stream near us, and then to ponder the realities of God’s beautiful creation and his even-more-beautiful re-creation in grace. We should allow these thoughts to ruminate within us every time we are near a creek, stream, river, or any other body of water.
To continue ruminating on this living water provided by Jesus Christ, check out this picture slideshow and short article about healing streams by Philip Kosloski.