How Much for A Glass of Water?


“Nothing is Worth More than this day

– J.Goethe

A rich man was very attached to his wealth and money. A sufi saint approached him and asked him this question.

If you were dying of thirst in the desert, would you give half of your wealth for a glass of water?

The rich man replied “Yes.”

The Saint then asked the rich man, “if you were in agony because you could not pass this water, would you spend half of your wealth to be able to pass the water?

The rich man replied “yes”

So the Sufi saint said, “Why do you attach so much importance to your wealth when you would give up your entire kingdom and material possessions for a glass of water you don’t even get to keep?


Material wealth is neither good nor bad. What is important is how it is used and our attitude towards it.

A knife can be used to stab someone or cut an apple in half to share. Similarly, money can be used to improve our material wellbeing; but  it can also destroy a person.

If the accumulation of wealth is our highest priority we will be seeking happiness in ephemeral way; we will be doomed to disappointment. Furthermore, when we become possesed with the desire to accumulate wealth, we invariably become mean, selfish and self-absorbed. In this story the sufi saint reminds us of the transitory nature of the world. No matter how much wealth we accumulate in this life, we can not take it with us – nor does wealth help us to understand the deeper meaning of life.

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6 thoughts on “How Much for A Glass of Water?”

  1. I came across this in a book by Timothy Freke – The Desert about sayings related to the desert. If I come across any general sufi stories I’ll let you know.

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