Lourdes Water is generated from a spring in the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes and is protected by an illuminated glass plate. The water flows from the rock of Massabielle and is seen through the glass. Lourdes Water is not Holy Water, however having the water blessed by a priest does mean that it then becomes Lourdes Holy Water.
Lourdes Water comes from the Miraculous Spring in the Grotto
The spring was discovered by St. Bernadette Soubirous during one of the apparitions, on February 25, 1858. Bernadette was told to by Our Lady "go drink at the spring and wash yourself there". Shortly after the first pilgrimages began Louis Bouriette was cured. He had lost his vision and washed in the miraculous water where he regained his vision.
On April 24, 1858 work was carried out to build a pool to capture the miraculous water. Later water was channeled and a 450,000 liter reservoir was built below the basilicas, this now feeds many small fountains. During pilgrimage many pilgrims follow the instruction of Our Lady of Lourdes to "and wash there".
The baths at Lourdes were built in 1955, today hundreds of people immerse themselves each day in the Lourdes Water, including both the sick and healthy.
As many as 2,500 unexplained healings have been recorded since the first healing, of Catherine Latapie on March 1, 1858. However this is just a small percentage of the unexplained healings which remain unrecorded
When water for drinking is bottled it has to be certified for consumption under new French laws, bottled Lourdes water is not certified and therefore supplied as non-consumable.
The medical bureau here in Lourdes is a body that looks into claims of miraculous cures. The bureau collaborates with doctors and medical scientists, from around the world. All professionals are both believers and non-believers. The bureau likes to be satisfied beyond doubt, that there is no medical explanation to be found.
It therefore takes 7 years or more to investigate a single case. After the bureau is happy with the research, the case is then passed to the international medical committee of Lourdes. This special committee is made up of some of the highest medical and scientific experts from universities from around the world.
After all the investigations have taken place, the whole dossier is then sent on to the bishop of the diocese from where the patient came. The bishop then looks at the claim and finally declares the cure to be miraculous or not. There have been thousands of cures but only 70 have gone through this painstaking process and declared as miraculous.