The Sprinkling Service at the Holy Well


The simple form of service associated with a holy well is called The Sprinkling.  There is no set form for this devotion, but we follow the common pattern recognizable to anyone who has been to England’s most important shrine, at Walsingham.  There are three simple actions to the sprinkling:  (a)  a sip of water is first drunk, from the ladle held by the minister;  (b)  it is used to make the sign of the cross on the pilgrim’s forehead, a remembrance of the cross bestowed at baptism;  (c) finally, the rest of the water is poured into the cupped hands of the pilgrim, to be drunk, to be used for symbolic washing, or to be applied to a limb in need of healing.  In the context of this short service, it is a ritual participation in the gift of water at this holy site.  None of this, however, is compulsory.

 In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen


Jesus said, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’  

Let us acknowledge our need of being made clean by the Lord and together confess our sins:

Lord Jesus, you have given us new life in the waters of baptism.

            Lord, have mercy.            Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you received the tears of repentance of the woman who was a sinner. 

            Christ, have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, water and blood flowed from your side as you hung on the cross.

            Lord, have mercy.            Lord, have mercy.

May almighty God have mercy on us, cleanse us from our sins, and bring us all to everlasting life.   Amen


So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  There came a woman of Samaria to draw water.  Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’  For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Judaean, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’  For Judaeans have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’  The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep;  where do you get this living water?   Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?’  Jesus said to her, ‘Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst;  the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’  And the woman said to him, ‘Lord, give me this water.’



The Almighty Lord, who is a most strong tower to all those who put their trust in him, to whom all things in heaven, on earth and under the earth, bow and obey, be now and evermore our defence, and make us know and feel, that there is no other Name under heaven given to man, in whom and through whom we may receive health and salvation, but only the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

            For Christ’s Church – especially all those to be baptized

            For those who are sick, and all who seek Christ’s healing

            For those who care for the sick and the dying

            For those who are troubled in mind or spirit

            For those who do not know Christ or who have fallen from the faith

            For those who thirst for the water of life




Each pilgrim who desires it comes forward to receive a sip of water, the sign of the cross of their forehead with the words Ask of him, and he will give you living water, and the rest of the ladle of water poured into their open hands.


Lord God, in your mercy give us living water, always welling up as a fountain of eternal salvation:  free us body and soul from every sickness and danger, and admit us into your presence in purity of heart;  grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen

THE BLESSING if a priest is present