I'd propose that the general existence of water on the moon is not - forgive the expression - earth shattering. In my worldview, it is more significant that water is turning up everywhere we care to look, if we look hard enough. The fact that it exists on the Moon and on Mars indicates that we might also expect to find it in the asteroid belt. It is in fact most likely that we will discover it is ubiquitous within the solar system.
Furthermore, the presence of water in quantity makes it a commodity that a proposed "permanant manned base" would not have to necessarily bring with them from Earth. As lunar regolith is relatively rich in light metals like iron, titanium and manganese, one might envision a mining/smelting operation being a commercial impetus, with the extraction of water from the regolith being an ancillary benefit. Not to mention that water + sunlight can generate elemental hydrogen and oxygen - i.e. rocket fuel.
And as for exploration of the solar system and space in general - well, that's what humans do. Search out the unknown and make it known. We've been doing this for thousands of years, in the periods of time that we're not blowing ourselves to smithereens, that is.