In listening to the lectionary reading this past Sunday, hearing about taking a stick and jamming it into the sandstone red rock (Old Testament), and that Jesus is the living water, my mind traveled to being in the middle of the Sinai desert this past Spring. My friend and fellow pilgrim Henry showed us how a nomad or Bedouin takes a sharp, pointed stick and stabs the reddish sandstone rock, which holds water within the very strata of rock, and, "Voila!" Water! It is a water that is good for camels and sheep to drink, though Henry was very clear: do not drink the water. All of God's "critters," great and small, need water.
Living in the drought-stricken American southeast, we know full well that water is both a necessity of life and a resource that is a non-renewable. All the water we have upon this planet is the same amount as was around the time of dinosaurs. Water is a resource that is finite, and in order for everyone to have enough, we have to be sure that we only use what we need rather than what we want. And that is why the claim of Jesus, being the living water that we can have as much as we need and want, is an incredible gift: "The water that I give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life" (John 4:14).
On pilgrimage, water is key for our survival and enjoyment on the trail, because of the physicality of the pilgrimage: we always need to hydrate. Jesus Christ, being the "living water," is what--or who--we need for each and every step of the way on our pilgrimage of life. God is at work when we recognize our reciprocal need and let the Holy take it from there.