Give Drink To The Thirsty

Week 5 | Corporal Work of Mercy

Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)


By Lisa Hendey

When I ponder Christ’s preaching on the works of mercy in Matthew 25, my mind goes immediately to water, to access, and to sanitation. I know from my work with relief agencies that every dollar we spend on this problem yields a quadruple impact in productivity and health.

Yet I have also come to believe that as followers of Christ, our commission to “give drink to the thirsty” extends far beyond the literal. Yes, we can and should work together to create a world where girls won’t have to forgo education in favor of lugging endless buckets of water on their heads. Yes, let us each make small sacrifices to ensure proper sanitation so that another precious preschooler isn’t lost to an excruciatingly painful death from diarrhea.

But let us also remember that the “thirsty” often have needs that will be met more often by words and deeds than by water. I don’t have to travel halfway around the world to find folks who thirst. They are all around me, waiting for me to bear relief . . .

The thirsty are the working poor of my own community who labor in farm fields to put food on their tables. My elderly neighbor thirsts for someone to sit with her and to simply listen. A friend who single-parents a child with special needs thirsts for compassion, understanding, and welcome. And often, my own family thirsts for my care and attention when I let my daily busyness stand in the way of lovingly fulfilling my vocation as wife and mother.

We have the boundless gift, but also the tremendous responsibility, to become the hands, feet, and yes, even the heads that bear the living water to those in need.

Sometimes the “drink” we carry to those who thirst will be literal. Often, it will be figurative. Regardless, let us pray daily for gratitude for those who have quenched our thirst and for the grace to carry the drink of living water to those most in need.

Excerpt taken from Chapter 3 of Beautiful Mercy. Get your free copy of the book (just pay shipping).


How far do you need to go to satisfy your thirst? The answer for almost a billion people in the world is four miles a day.


Look around you. There is someone thirsting either physically or spiritually. Give them a drink this week.


Lord, help me become the hands and feet that bear living water to those in need.


Are you grateful to people who quench your thirst?