Getting Water from a Hard Place: World Water Day

Lent 3A
March 23, 2014

Exodus 17: 1-7

Psalm 95

John 4: 5-42

World Water DayIn his message for the 2014 World Water Day (March 22), Gen. Secretary Ban Ki Moon stated: “Climate change driven in great part by the unsustainable use of energy will exacerbate water stress and scarcity in many regions. Efforts to provide universal access to water and energy will be undermined if the current warming trend continues.

The many strong links between water and energy demand coherent, integrated policies and innovative strategies. Water must be used — and electricity must be generated and distributed — equitably and efficiently, so all users get a fair share” (UN World Water Day).

In the Hebrew Bible reading for this week, the people were thirsty and grumbling against their leader:

Marc Chagall, “Moses Striking the Rock”

“But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?'” (Exod.17:3).

Without water, most of us would not last 40 hours in the desert, much less 40 years.  Moses had to do something.

The Lord has Moses do the unthinkable: Go to a rock to get water.  How?  “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.  I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink'” (vv.5-6).  The Lord has Moses 1) Go with the elders of Israel – this is going to be a political act, an act of leadership; 2) Strike the place where you would absolutely think water would not come; and 3) Use the same staff that meted out justice to the Egyptians.  It is going to be Divine justice, undertaken by our leaders, that brings water to the thirsting masses.

The UN World Water Day wants to spread the following message regarding water and its links to energy (both physical and political).  Getting water equitably for all is going to require going to a hard place:

1. Water requires energy and energy requires water.

Water is required to produce nearly all forms of energy. Energy is needed at all stages of water extraction, treatment and distribution.

2. Supplies are limited and demand is increasing.

Demand for freshwater and energy will continue to increase significantly over the coming decades. This increase will present big challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions, especially in developing and emerging economies.

Hydroelectricity is the largest renewable source for power generation and its share in total electricity generation is expected to remain around 16% through 2035.

Hydroelectricity is the largest renewable source for power generation and its share in total electricity generation is expected to remain around 16% through 2035.

3. Saving energy is saving water. Saving water is saving energy.

Choices concerning the supply, distribution, price, and use of water and energy impact one another.

4. The “bottom billion” urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity.

Worldwide, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation.

5. Improving water and energy efficiency is imperative as are coordinated, coherent and concerted policies.

Better understanding between the two sectors of the connections and effects on each other will improve coordination in energy and water planning, leading to reducing inefficiencies. Policy-makers, planners and practitioners can take steps to overcome the barriers that exist between their respective domains. Innovative and pragmatic national policies can lead to more efficient and cost effective provision of water and energy services.

The Mosaic Law under Deuteronomy has provisions regarding progressive income redistribution:

“If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks” (Deut. 15:7.)

“When you have finished paying the complete tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied” (Deut. 26:12).

The overarching view of the Hebrew Bible is that “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).  Wealth is not something to be hoarded or consumed by the individual.  The wealth of the world is the Lord’s, and the Lord hears the cries of the poor for water.

This Lent, let us remember that the poor who thirst are God’s chosen in our everyday decisions, individual and collective:  “The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst.  I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, as the God of Israel I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41:17).

5 thoughts on “Getting Water from a Hard Place: World Water Day

  1. You’ve done it again, my sister, poured water on dry soil. I didn’t know where I was going until it was written so “what you see is what you get.”

    Yours and the rock in Numbers 20:1-12 represents the 2 messiahs, the early and latter rains, Jesus and Elijah. The first rock was Jesus smitten on the cross and the bringer of the early rains Israel refused to hear, as was told Moses in Exodus 4:8. The has world became dry from a lack of truth of the laws by which to govern the people. Even Christianity, as one of the measures of mean in which was placed leavening, blew truth way out of proportion of what Jesus taught leaving man dry thirsty.

    Martin Luther King, as the forerunner of Elijah, made his path straight so he could travel the US without much harassment as an Edomite (Isaiah 63:1-7) meaning red in color black man. The rock in Numbers suggest Elijah has to be smitten twice, once of god with his new birth or metamorphosis and the other from the corrupt man in high places’ anger.

    Barack’s and Elizabeth’s speeches are the early sprinkles before the storm Elijah is about to pour upon a dry, grudging and selfish world lacking truth most people of our times have never considered. Is the United States and world ready for the change for the people you elected Barack [Aaron] to bring it but can’t so he’ll pass it to Elijah? He’ll pour upon us the message of preparation to be judged to enter life or discarnation. Are you sealed by the angel in your forehead for life or will you receive the seal of the world for death?

  2. Mr. Ham spent $27,000,000 on building a “museum” that showcases the fundamentalist myths of a 6,000 year old earth. He plans on spending millions more on a display of Noah’s Ark. It costs just $15,000 to drill a deep well in Africa that can prevent disease and death for an entire village. I’d rather have the water than the folly. Mega-churches with Hollywood level theatrics, churches where a baby crying is banned because it spoils the fund raising videos, and pastors who build mansion after mansion and indulge in every luxury because they teach people that God wants them to be rich and want to be a “good example.” These aren’t good examples of what our faith is called to be.

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