As any tourist or lover of Wimbledon or cricket can testify, Britain gets a lot of rain. So the news that we are currently in a "drought" will no doubt be met with disbelief across the world, especially in those parts of Australia and Africa where drought means not a drop of rain for several years. In Britain we have had rain - just a good deal less than normal: and for a country whose systems are predicated on a lot of the wet stuff, this means reservoirs are getting dangerously low and rivers are drying up.
So whilst the north of England and Wales cope with unseasonal snowfall, here in the south we now have a hosepipe ban, and the threat of fines for transgressors. Last night on the news disgruntled gardeners resorted to watering cans, a man huffed about being unable to wash his car, and specialists talked about how profligate the British are with this natural resource. We take it for granted and use more, per capita, than many other countries. It seems we're so used to having gallons of water - literally on tap, as well as falling out of the skies - that we forget just how precious it is, and how easily it could just dry up.
But we have a source of water which will never dry up! In a few hours' time we will read John's Passion: towards the end a soldier pierces the dead Christ's side and there came out blood and water. An act of savagery which opens up a wellspring whose source is the Open Heart of Jesus. In his Passion and Death Jesus gave everything he had, to the last drop - except that with God there will never be a last drop. Here we have an unquenchable supply of living water, poured out for ALL, which no government can ever limit or control access to, and which will never run out. And here too we have abundant, self-giving love, poured out with tremendous joy.
Yes, today we mourn and keep silence before the awful mystery of the Cross. But let us not forget why we call today Good: because it is in the Passion and in Jesus's defilement and wounds that we have our salvation and our only hope. And because we will draw water joyfully from the wellspring of salvation! (Is: 12.3)