Rivers of Living Water

I saw water trickling … (Ezekiel 47:2)

What an image of rebirth and renewal! As the tiny stream trickling from the Temple became a mighty river, Israel’s parched landscape began to flourish with fruit trees. Even the brackish, salty water of the Dead Sea was made fresh so that it teemed with fish. The Church has long seen in Ezekiel’s vision a symbol of baptism. Just as the river’s water brought physical revival and renewal, so do the waters of baptism bring us spiritual rebirth and restoration. As Pope Benedict XVI noted,

The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the new Temple from which a spring issues forth that becomes a great life-giving river. In a land which constantly suffered from drought and water shortage, this was a great vision of hope. Nascent Christianity understood: in Christ, this vision was fulfilled. He is the true, living Temple of God. He is the spring of living water. From him, the great river pours forth, which in Baptism renews the world and makes it fruitful; the great river of living water, his Gospel which makes the earth fertile… . Let us ask the Lord, who has given us the grace of Baptism, for the gift always to be sources of pure, fresh water, bubbling up from the fountain of his truth and his love! (Homily on Holy Saturday, 2009)

Every year, the Easter liturgy offers us the opportunity to reflect on our own baptism. At the Easter Vigil, the baptismal font and its waters will be blessed, and catechumens will be baptized. Then we will all be asked to renew our own baptismal promises. Finally, walking throughout the church, the celebrant will sprinkle everyone with the holy water from the baptismal font, while this beautiful refrain is sung: I saw water flowing from the Temple, from its right-hand side, alleluia; and all to whom this water came were saved and shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

Let’s prepare our hearts in these days of Lent so that we can indeed drink deeply from the abundant river of God’s grace when we renew our baptismal promises this coming Easter.

“Let us be buried with Christ by baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.” (St. Gregory Nazianzen)

Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
word among us

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