(May 23)

Come, let us drink a new drink (Δεῦτε πόμα πίωμεν καινόν, Приидите пиво пием новое), not miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone, but from the fount of incorruption, springing from the tomb of Christ. In Him we are established (ἐν ᾧ στερεούμεθα, в немже утверждаемся).” (Irmos 3 of Paschal Canon)

Here the author of the Paschal Canon, St. John of Damascus, is comparing the “miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone” by Moses (in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20) with the new life offered to us in the risen Lord from a most unexpected place, – from a stone tomb, – in His unexpected exit from there. Every day, I am invited to “drink” of His life-giving word, and to “drink in” His life-giving presence in my life, however stone-hearted I may at times become.

As we daily re-affirm our decision to follow Christ on the cross-carrying journey, we no longer need to reach for the “old drink,” whatever it was (in our previous addictions or obsessions), but for the “living water” of Christ, in Whom we are “established” with a new emotional stability that comes with living in faith and not fear, through our ups and downs. Christ Himself signaled this “new drink” that we embrace on the Way of the Cross, when before His passion He said to His disciples: “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Mt 26:29)

Our King and our God transfigures and brings life to even the toughest, darkest, driest of places and things in our lives. As One Who from “stones” can raise up children for Abraham (Mt 3: 9), He Himself has become our life-bringing “rock” (1 Cor 10: 4), by Whom we are – not crushed, nor heavy-laden, nor entombed, – no, in Him we are “established,” when we let ourselves “come” and drink of His “new drink” throughout our ups and downs, fortifying our faith bit by bit, daily. Today let me trust Christ and the “living water” He offers us. “Lord, give me this water,” I say this morning with the Samaritan woman, “that I may not thirst” outside of You.