Tuesday, February 28, 2012

living water

We have all seen those pictures of starving children with visible skeletons as eyes stare blankly at cameras capturing a moment in what well might be their last days. We are left not knowing whether those who brought cameras also provided sufficient food and clean water to keep alive all our unfortunate fellow human beings.

In many parts of this world, living water is a matter of live and death.

 This photograph showing a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture won Kevin Carter the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. He committed suicide the same year this picture was taken. 

From the beginning of the television campaign to “save the children” in “the developing world,” in countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia, or Haiti and The Sudan, there has also been a global campaign to gain control of the living waters  that are essential to life for all of us. Living Water:  our mountain streams, our natural springs, rivers, lakes and ponds, even as of late, rainwater … sources of fresh water across the globe are the single most important source of life on Earth.

Corporations have been trying to, and largely succeeding in, gaining control of most sources of living water for many years.  Because of this reality that a few corporations have imposed upon the rest of us restrictions of access to living water the solicitations to “end hunger” are much like raising money for gasoline for vehicles without wheels.

Starvation exists as a result of three basic causes: 1. Depriving people of a plot of land on which to grow food; 2. Depriving people of the essential knowledge and tools to cultivate small plots of land, and  3. Depriving people depriving people of access to living water with which to grow crops and sate thirst.

In general, the second cause is easily negated through cultural history; most cultures have developed or learned basic knowledge of agriculture and passed it down through generations. The same is true of agriculture tools that fit local environs. Then, too, many people are provided barren land on which to live yet their acreage remains barren because the primary resource of water is hoarded by a few. Native Americans living in the American Southwest can attest to this.

I’ve been told that  a human quest for “decadence’ is what drives “progress,” and that this desire for decadence is therefore good because of its utility. In cultures like the former Soviet Union, the argument goes, deprivation of means to be decadent led to systemic failures, thus proving the good of decadent desires for the enrichment of humanity … “the profit motive works.”

I disagree with that argument, and this is why.

Efforts to gain control of all sources of living waters on this planet are an epitome of that same “desire for decadence.” Those who seek such power intend to overcome every limitation for themselves, thus to position themselves “to enjoy whatever decadence one’s heart (or loins) desires.” Many have long ago achieved that status.

Yet, those who live for decadence are empty and unsatisfied. One sated pleasure is immediately replaced with a need for another. Rarely is an alcoholic ever content with his last drink, if ever.

The Gospel of John provides a connection between this quest for decadence of today and the concept of living water. Yeshua had met a Samaritan woman by a well, and said to her of the water from the well: 

    Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, …”

This is the cycle of decadence, or of appetites whether simple or large, such as an appetite for power or pleasure.

Water has been, for millennia, a symbol of the spirit. It is a symbol of life, fittingly, for all life depends upon water. Those starving in barren lands, deprived of clean water, are deprived of life. Those who deprive others of access to water are spiritually dead.

It is also strangely apt that the Samaritan woman at the well represented a “decadent” lifestyle, as she had had a number of men, “husbands,”  in her bed through a passage of time. A great many of us live this way today, passing from one “comfort zone” to another with little thought to spiritual continuity.

Many of us, in the same superficial way, answer pleas for donations of money to causes such as those pertaining to starving children. We write a check or make on online contribution without contemplating the difference between cause and effect. We are quick to provide a bottle of water without a single thought that what is needed is a stream of living water  that will alleviate the perpetual thirst and hunger of many unfortunate people.

John 4.10 records:  Yeshua answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

We are told elsewhere that “those who are the least among you” and “who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,'” are one and the same when it comes to charity. In other words, those starving children are in need of living water  to sustain their lives, just as those who provide that living water  must also partake from the heart.

The human will  has the power to prevail. We can do this on Earth, while we are here. Whatever living water  we provide to villages and isolated rural communities will provide them with “perpetual life” while they exist in body, and an opportunity to contribute to humanity as a whole. Collective human will  is required to overturn the present concentration of Earth’s living waters  under the control of a very few who profit from its control and sale.

When we reach a point of each community supporting itself, there will be no excuse for war and deprivation, its related death and disease.

These are some aspects of living waters  as they apply to humanity today.

And yes, beneath the surface, unseen yet vitally important is the connection between what is written here and the exclusive meaning given to living water  as Yeshua intended. May you never thirst.