One morning a couple of weeks ago, somewhat bleary-eyed, I headed into the bathroom, and turned on the tap at the basin – but nothing came out. So I tried the tap on the bath – and the same thing happened.

Suddenly wide awake and still dressed in my PJs, I leapt down the stairs, two at a time, and tried the tap at the sink in the kitchen. Again, nothing came out. 

As it slowly dawned on me that something was wrong, and as I started to wonder how long it would be before I had water again, I turned on my phone to call the plumber. It was at this point that I saw a flurry of messages in my road’s WhatsApp group. It turned out that it wasn’t just my house that had no water; none of my neighbours had any either. 

In the early hours of the morning, not far from where I live, a mains water pipe had burst. The whole of my neighbourhood, and several surrounding areas, were without water. A roundabout and all the roads feeding into it were flooded. And the water company engineers were on the scene, trying to fix it, while also delivering bottled water as an interim measure to all the households and businesses affected. 

It all felt quite disconcerting!

By the end of the day, the water supply had been restored to the taps in my house, road and neighbourhood – and never have I felt so grateful for something so simple. Turning on the tap suddenly became an excuse to give thanks to God, because I had access again to pure clean water!

Sadly it took a few days for some of the surrounding areas to get reconnected, and more than a week for the pipe to be repaired and the roads to reopen. 

But needless to say, the whole experience got me thinking!


None of us can survive for long without water. It protects our tissues, spinal cord and joints. It helps our brain function optimally. It aids digestion. It helps our bodies remove waste. And it prevents us from becoming dehydrated.

Without water, we will die. 

There’s a story in the Bible about a time when Jesus stops at a well and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. They engage in conversation and then, in John 4:10, Jesus says to her: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 

But what is the “living water” that Jesus was talking about in this context? 

To understand, we need to jump forward a few chapters to John 7:37-39, where we read: “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” 

It is the Holy Spirit who is the “living water” and, just as our bodies can’t last long without natural water, neither can our spirits last long without the living water of the Holy Spirit.

How much more, then, do we need living water, just as much as natural water, to sustain us?


Have you ever had the experience of turning on a tap and being without water? How did you react? In what ways did it impact your perspective about your relative ease of access to drinking water?

Have you ever felt spiritually dry and parched? If so, when was the last time you invited God to quench your spiritual thirst? How would it feel for your spirit to be filled afresh with the living water of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps you need to pray for this now.

Just remember that, unlike the burst water main near my home, God’s living water is steadfast and constant.

As ever, constructive comments are welcome below.

Please note: This is my ‘thought for the month’ reflection for October. (You can find all my ‘thought for the month’ reflections here.)

Photo from Elena M on Unsplash



  1. Penny Cuthbert Reply

    I remember not long after our twins were born turning on the tap and no water coming out. I phoned our plumber who said, “That’s unusual, check if Thames Water are outside doing something.” I checked, and they were! I asked one of them, “How long before it comes back on?” He said, “At the rate we’re going, about six weeks!” I panicked and shouted in some dismay, “Six weeks! I’ve got two newborn babies, how am I going to manage without water for six weeks!” and he replied a bit sheepishly, “Don’t worry, love, it will be back on in half an hour.” I returned home and found myself thanking God for running water from a tap, when so many people in the world don’t have that. We take so much for granted. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded not to.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thanks for sharing this story, Penny, together with your reflections. How stressful to have had it happen with two newborn babies in the house!

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. When I was in Kenya in 2009 with Tearfund, we visited a community who were in the middle of a severe drought. We read in the newspaper that morning, that there was 70-80% crop failure in the region, meaning 90% of the population potentially faced starvation. We visited a school, where their maize crop had failed and their rain storage tank was empty. Children walked for several kilometres to get to school and were sent home early, as there was nothing to feed them and no water to drink. They then had to walk home again in the choking dust before being able to quench their thirst. This is the effect of climate change on communities who have the least impact on the environment. When I got home to beautiful green Devon, I remember walking to my kitchen to get some water from the tap and crying, thanking God for the blessing of fresh water, accessed easily from a tap and praying for those who had no access to clean water to drink. Having my thirst for God quenched by the Holy Spirit is such a joy. Thank you for sharing this story.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thank you for sharing this memory, Janet. What a contrast between what you experienced in Kenya, and how you found things when you returned home to Devon!

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