Tuesday, 26 January 2016



Our brother, Geoff. was an engineer, based in Aden. One of his jobs was to discover water beneath the parched, sun-baked land. Imagine the excitement when he struck water! A jet leapt high into the air, soaking the locals anxiously watching and waiting.

 Far from being annoyed at getting wet, old and young, men, women and children pranced and danced, laughed and wept for joy. Now a well could be sunk. That would guarantee a regular supply of water. They could plant and irrigate their crops; they could water their livestock. Their community could survive and prosper. They had a future! Geoff  rejoiced that he had helped them to survive.

Turn on a tap and the water flows! That's how it is for those of us who live in a temperate climate. We take take a drink of water for granted. Our thirst is easily quenched. Rainfall is a sign of God’s life-giving blessing upon those with ground that is  parched.  A shower of  rain is bad weather for those who want to enjoy outdoor games!.

Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ gives a new dimension and urgency to that Corporal Work of Mercy which is giving a drink to the thirsty. 
He reminds us that we are Custodians of God’s Creation. We owe to others and to ourselves that we protect it’s life-sustaining environment. All of us, even young children, simply must work to preserve the drinking water. People can't survive without water. No tap should be left running to no purpose.
"Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. 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.....  But water continues to be wasted, not only in the developed world but also in developing countries which possess it in abundance. This shows that the problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such behaviour within a context of great inequality," 
(Laudato Si. 30).

Global Warming  is at the heart of  those droughts that threaten some parts of the world  and other parts with floods...on a devastating, destructive scale.

In stressing the importance of protecting the environment Pope Francis gives an obvious,  global, importance to quenching someone’s thirst. Such compassion is to be expected of any decent human being.

But what if we  give this very same drink in God’s name to a fellow human being who is made in God’s image and likeness?   According to Jesus, this simple act of kindness acquires an eternal value and richness. This is because Jesus identifies the giver with His own compassionate self; and the one who receives the drink with His own needy self.

Jesus identified with every thirsty person when He asked the Samaritan woman to draw for Him water from the well (cf. Jn. ch. 4).  He needed her help. The thirsty of the world need ours. In them, for them, the crucified Christ appeals, "I thirst!" ( Jn. 19.38).

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, your Son knew what it meant to be thirsty.  He knew what it was like to have to depend upon someone else to draw water from a well, to quench His thirst. When people ask us for a drink of water to be like the woman at the well.  She readily responded to Jesus’ need.
There are millions of people living in parched lands, dying of thirst, together with their crops and livestock.  Without water nothing can live, grow and flourish.
The gift of water is a powerful sign of your love and care for your people; our thirst for water expresses our love for you, our need  for you, our need for your help.
In your love and compassion hear the cry of your people’s thirst for your life-giving water.  Inspire us, your people, to preserve the drinking water already available.  Move us to protect its purity.  Help us discover knew sources of drinking water, new ways to make the desert green and fruitful, your people flourish.  Help us to be true custodians of the world you have given us, the world in which you have placed us. We ask this through your Son, who from the cross cried, “I THIRST.

             For the sake of His Sacred Passion have mercy                 on us and on the whole world.

  Isidore Clarke, O.P.

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