Water from the Grotto of Lourdes
Water from the Grotto of Lourdes - What's so special about it?
“Go and drink at the spring and wash yourself there”- this is what the Virgin Mary asked of Bernadette Soubirous on 25 February 1858. This invitation is addressed to each one of us.
It is Mary who indicated the source of the Spring
On 25 February1858, Mary shows Bernadette where to uncover the spring which flows at the back of the Grotto. A few hours afterwards, some girls from Lourdes observe the hole she dug and one of them sprinkles the Grotto with holy water against the evils of the devil. Having finished this ritual, she notices the water flowing from the hole made by Bernadette and, on an impulse, she fills the bottle that contained the holy water with water from the spring to take it back to her ailing father: “Something tells me that this water should be drunk”. Her bottle will be the very first bottle of water drawn from the Grotto, the very first in the history of Lourdes.
It feeds the taps and the Baths of the Sanctuary
It is ordinary water, slightly calcareous, comparable to that of all neigh bouring sources. It has no thermal benefits or special properties. It is totally independent from the water of the Gave de Pau. This water is channelled through an underground pipeline to tanks which then feed the taps at the Grotto and the Baths.
The taps: just after the arches. You can obtain little bottles beside the taps if you wish to take some water back for your friends. This water is free of charge.
The Baths: Even though priority is given to sick people, the Baths are not for their use only. Bathing in the Baths has a profound meaning for all those who go there.
Its use is associated with many cures, some of which have been officially recognised as miraculous.
The popularity of Lourdes water is due to the miracles. It’s true that the water is most frequently associated with miracles, either by applying it, by drinking it, or by going to the baths. The taps and the baths are all man-made. In the Catholic faith, it is always God who heals through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the prayers of the faithful, by using natural elements and the sacraments. This water is therefore a sign, not a magic potion. Bernadette Soubirous herself said: “They are taking the water like medicine... You must have faith, you must pray – this water has no virtue without prayer!”
It is a sign
Many people leave the Sanctuary with plastic or glass containers of various shapes and sizes filled with water from the Grotto for their own use or for those who could not come. They know that this water is special: it is a tangible support for their faith and hope. It is also a tangible sign that links them to Lourdes. You too can take Lourdes water home for your family and friends.