This essay explores the form and function of drinking vessels and their role and meaning in relationship to Arabic and Persian inscriptions within Islamic metalwork. The focus is a thirteenth-century jug from the Aga Khan Museum Collection. While similar jugs have been variously considered as vessels for water, wine, or sherbet, the anonymous epigrapher of the bilingual inscriptions on this example refers to water as the “water of life” (Pers. āb-e ḥayāt). These inscriptions prompt an examination of the relationship between object, image, and text in connection with water, an elixir of long or eternal life, in both a secular setting and a courtly context.