The THOMAS Web-Zine
May 2010 Issue 24

Well, Well, Well

We take water for granted in our homes; turn on a tap or faucet and clean water gushes forth. Without such water we would feel our civilization was falling apart. Not only would normal activities such as drinking tea and coffee, cooking vegetables etc. be affected we would also be concerned over our personal hygiene! How we scream when our water supply is disrupted for even a few hours: "what will we do?" we cry; "how will we cope?" we ask, and "don't flush the loo" we tell the children.

Yet for many in the developing world, this lack of clean water is their daily concern. Life for such people revolves around fetching, carrying, and storing this precious resource. And so it was in Jesus' time; water was the key to life.

Water and wells feature in many of the stories about Jesus told in the New Testament. So it's no surprise that they appear in 'Thomas' but perhaps with much deeper meanings: that of 'living' waters.

First mention of the 'living' waters comes in Thomas's signature logion #13

.because you have drunk;
you have become drunk from the bubbling spring
which I have made to gush out [#13 13-15]

Here Thomas refuses to say whom Jesus resembles for fear of blasphemy in front of the other disciples. Jesus recognises however, that Thomas has 'tasted' the living waters so takes him aside for special teaching. These new teachings are so blasphemous that when questioned by the others, he is unable to reply for fear of ritual stoning.

The next reference is around the simple concept of a well:

Jesus said:
Lord there are many round the well
but none in the well [#74]

Here Jesus is concerned that while many may listen to his teachings, few if any become totally immersed in the 'living' waters. He wants us totally immersed; not 'paddling in the shallows' as another author suggested. We need to be overcome by these waters -- swimming in the deeps - to lose ourselves in its embrace.

Finally in logion 108 Jesus gives us one of the most exciting promises:

Jesus said:
He who drinks from my mouth
shall become like me;
and I myself will become him,
and the hidden things shall be manifest to him [#108]

This means you. When you take the 'living' waters directly from Jesus you will not only understand yourself and the world around you, but also that Jesus will be within you guiding your response to every moment.

These three logia tell us that Jesus is there all the time; ready to give us the 'living' waters; wishing we would immerse ourselves in his world; willing to be part of our lives.

© Barry McGibbon & Hugh McGregor Ross