Following the impressive gestures of the day before a further fifty people joined the crowd that came to the grotto for many reasons - curiosity, prayer and cautious interest. The number at the grotto on this day was about three hundred. This vision would mark a turning point - though the crowds witnessing the events would not realise the significance of what they were seeing. In fact they would laugh and jeer at Bernadette who continued to follow the Lady's commands undaunted. In her own words:
"(The Lady) told me that I should go and drink at the fountain and wash myself. Seeing no fountain I went to drink at the Gave (the river just a few metres from the grotto). She said it was not there; she pointed with her finger that I was to go in under the rock. I went, and I found a puddle of water which was more like mud, and the quantity was so small that I could hardly gather a little in the hollow of my hand. Nevertheless I obeyed, and started scratching the ground; after doing that I was able to take some. The water was so dirty that three times I threw it away. The fourth time I was able to drink it. She also made me eat the bitter herbs that were found near the spring, and then the vision left and went away."
In front of the crowd that was laughing, gasping and jeering Bernadette retreated from the grotto with her usual dignity. When she overheard the crowd asking "Do you think that she is mad doing things like that?" she replied; "It is for sinners."
Though no one yet knew it, the spring Bernadette had dug was in fact the same one that would become known, in a matter of weeks, as the miraculous spring of Massabielle. It has an entirely separate source to the Gave river which flows just metres from it. When examined by scientists it was found to have no special factors compared with other waters and yet incredible things happen to those who come to bathe in it.
People laughed at the grotto that day but now 30000 gallons of water flow from the spring EACH DAY. It is taken all over the world and remains a symbol of faith and hope. Video of the spring can be seen/ heard at the post VIRTUAL LOURDES
(This is the half way point in the apparitions -18 in total. The next apparition occurs on the 27th of February)