Highly porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which have undergone exciting developments over the past few decades, show promise for a wide range of applications. However, many studies indicate that they suffer from significant stability issues, especially with respect to their interactions with water, which severely limits their practical potential. Here we demonstrate how the presence of 'sacrificial' bonds in the coordination environment of its metal centres (referred to as hemilability) endows a dehydrated copper-based MOF with good hydrolytic stability. On exposure to water, in contrast to the indiscriminate breaking of coordination bonds that typically results in structure degradation, it is non-structural weak interactions between the MOF's copper paddlewheel clusters that are broken and the framework recovers its as-synthesized, hydrated structure. This MOF retained its structural integrity even after contact with water for one year, whereas HKUST-1, a compositionally similar material that lacks these sacrificial bonds, loses its crystallinity in less than a day under the same conditions.