The water that
I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling
up into eternal life. - John 7:38
This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those
who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water?
Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their
origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it
is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in
the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation.
It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining
essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that
In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple
and indivisible, apportions grace to each person as he wills. Like a dry
tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of
holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit.
Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will
of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous.
The Spirit makes one person a teacher of divine truth, inspires another
to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another
to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one person's self-control,
shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a
life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the need of the body, trains
another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but
the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture
says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common
The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He
is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and
knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the
tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to
counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind
first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of
others as well.
As light strikes the eyes of one who comes out of darkness into the
sunshine and enables that person to see clearly things he or she could
not discern before, so light floods the soul of the one counted worthy
of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables that person to see things beyond
the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.
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Holy Spirit Perfects and Renews Us, by Didymus of Alexandria