What it Means to “Give Drink to the Thirsty” in the Year of Mercy

by Evangelization, Social Justice

Remember the refreshing feel of that ice cold drink of water after you mowed the lawn or ran a marathon or woke up realizing you are thirsty beyond compare? At times, nothing else can really satisfy us like a glass of clear, pure, clean water. God has provided us the freshest source of renewal we can drink—water and He has asked us to give drink to the thirsty when we are able to.

We all need water. Sixty percent of our bodies are made of water. Without water, we could die in three days. In harsh conditions, we could die in three hours without water. No wonder it is a work of mercy to give drink to the thirsty!

After visiting Chicago multiple times, I am well aware of the number of homeless people, often asking for money or food. But, are they ever given water?

Last week, I decided to take to the streets of Chicago for a few hours with some friends and a bag of bottled water. While we walked around the city blocks surrounded by skyscrapers and noisy cars, we passed many people that day. The sun was hot, and almost everyone was sweaty and seeking air conditioning. Each time we saw someone asking for help or sitting on the sidewalk, we handed them a bottle of water. It took a lot of courage at first to just hand a stranger a bottle of water, but it was worth it. It’s one thing to give someone what they want, but it is another to give them what they need. And, everyone needs water.

Let’s reflect on the meditation offered by Mother Teresa:


The desire and need for water is strong, but the desire for Christ’s love is even stronger. Jesus on the cross said, “I thirst” (John 19:28). What do you thirst for?

Jesus died on the cross for love of you—beaten, bruised, humiliated, exhausted, and thirsty. Christ’s thirst for us is unmatched, and your love for Him be unmatched by anything else in this world—even water. You may not have been there at the foot of the cross to give Christ the water he asked for, but you can give others who are struggling with their crosses the water and love they need: “I was thirsty and you gave me drink… whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Refer to Matthew 25:31-46). Thirst for Christ, and act upon that thirst by helping those who are parched.

We are all thirsty somehow, and as a Christian, you are called to quench that thirst, whether literally handing someone water or showing them the way to Christ.

“O, God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You.” (Psalm 63:1)

Give Drink to the Thirsty – A few practical tips:

  • Conserve water when you can by limiting shower time, turning off the water when you brush your teeth, and being aware of how often  your run your sprinkler. It might not feel like you are helping someone who is thirsty get a drink when you converse your water, but it helps to be conscious of your water supply, causing a ripple effect for those near or far. Offer up your sacrifice of access water use.
  • Shut off faucets tightly. Every drip is water wasted.
  • Think about organizing a water walk or water awareness campaign in your city, youth group, or school.  Ryan’s Well Foundation offers materials and resources to do this.
  • Check out this water-conserving company that helps reduce water waste in urban areas: Miya Water
  • Make it a point to go to a city and pass out water, perhaps with little notes or prayers written on the sealed bottles. Offer to pray with people, and remember to pray for them.
  • Volunteer to give out water during a race, such as a local charity 5k.
  • Pack extra water in your car for your family, friends, guests, or someone you see who needs it.
  • Test your water to make sure it is clean annually.
  • Actively pray that everyone finds water, food, and shelter this day and are led closer to Christ in their need.

Check out these wonderful ministries to see how you can have mercy on others and give them drink:

Water Is Life, where they have a straw that purifies water in order to drink safely

Coffee Lover? Visit Three Avocados, where buying coffee gives others water

The Water Project

Charity Water


Water Aid
Columbia Water Center
Pure Mandi

Ryan’s Well Foundation

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