The holiday of the “Life-Giving Source” icon falls on the Friday following Easter. The story of the miraculous fountain is read during the festive service. Once, on a hot summer day near Constantinople, Emperor Leo of Byzantium met a blind man who was thirsty. Leo told him to sit under a tree and went to search for water but did not find any. Upon his return he heard a female voice saying, “Leo, don’t be sad, the water is right by your side. Give it to the thirsty one and pour some on his eyes.” Leo did as he was told, looked around, and discovered water. He poured it onto the eyes of the blind man and his vision was restored. Emperor Leo later built a magnificent church by the miraculous spring—the Sanctuary of the Source.
This icon depicts the Mother of God sitting over a spring, and the water of life is flowing from her. She is surrounded by the sick seeking relief. The spring can still be found in the Turkish town of Balikli, but the church built by Leo no longer exists.