A Moment for Mercy - Give drink to the thirsty

A Moment for Mercy - Give drink to the thirsty

We all know the feeling of despair while visiting a foreign city on a hot day when all the shops are closed, or returning home after a run or a swim on a summer day to a nice shower and discovering there is a problem with the water supply. We find it so upsetting, even unfair: water is so basic to our way of life, it should always be there.

Yet what looks so obviously basic is in fact not available to all: as many as 650 million people don’t have access to safe water.  2.3 billion people – one in three – don’t have access to a proper toilet. Many are forced to go in the open, spreading deadly diseases. This means, among other things, that around 900 children under-five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. (wateraid.org)

In his encyclical on the environment Pope Francis calls access to safe and clean water, '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'. (Laudato sii, 30)  

Yet we continue to use water very wastefully, seemingly unaware of the deadly results of such behaviour.

In the Gospels Jesus says that giving a glass of cool water to one of the little ones will not remain without its reward. 

So, besides going without chocolate, during this Lent we can make a real effort to use water more responsibly, and to perform such simple gestures as pouring someone a glass of water at table with greater awareness of the value of what we are doing.

By Paul Pace, SJ 

You may also wish to watch this TEDed talk intro on Fresh Water Scarcity by Christiana Z. Pappard or view full version here: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/fresh-water...

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