Ezekiel’s telling of the transforming power of the water flowing from the temple reminds of the importance of water in our lives. The waters flowing out of God’s temple brought new life to the stagnant waters of the Dead Sea. ‘Where ever the river goes it brings life to the fish that swim in it and to the trees that grow along its shores.’ Anyone who lives near a river knows the truth of these words.
Water has been in the news many times this past year. Time and again we’ve seen the devastating effects of water as hurricanes battered the Gulf and the East Coast. Peoples whose lives were turned upside down by these storms ended up with no safe drinking water – ‘water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.’
In November 2002 an agency of the United Nations stated that ‘ The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity – everyone has the right to sufficient, safe and affordable water for domestic and personal uses.’ In his important but seldom read letter ‘Laudato Si’ (On the Care of Our Common Home) Pope Francis teaches ‘our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.’
Through our carelessness we are polluting the oceans, lakes and rivers of Earth and countless of our brothers and sisters have no safe drinking water. Cholera, the result of unsafe drinking water causes the death of countless unnamed people.
Earth does not belong to us, we belong to Earth and all its life systems and what we do to Earth and wind and water, we do to ourselves. Think on this; the next time you take a drink of safe, cool water thank God for this gracious and precious gift and give a thought to the children, women and men of the world who, for so many reasons, are not so blessed.
Fr. Paul Cusack, C.P.