Monday, 10 March 2008

St John of the Cross from Darkness to Light on Seven Weeks for Water

The two images reflect on Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John's gospel. One comes from China, the other is carved from olive wood in the Middle East.

My colleague Guillermo Kerber, originally from Uruguay, chose them for the meditation he has written which you can read on Seven Weeks for Water.

For those of us for whom access to clean water is easy it's sometimes difficult to understand quite how critical the right to water has become.

As a specialist in human rights Guillermo rightly points to the wide ranging personal and political dimensions of the water crisis and its potential to generate violence and conflict.

As a theologian he ends his reflection by pointing us to water as a symbol of God's never-ending love and encouraging us to read St John of the Cross.
Water also reminds us of the spiritual life and the basics of our faith. The 16th century Spanish mystic John of the Cross, for example, refers to water in many of his poems. Water, springs and wells are symbols in his poems of God who can be reached only by faith. Despite doubts, difficulties, conflicts, crises, darkness or night, water can be a reminder of the presence of a loving and caring God amongst us. One of St John of the Cross's poems begins: "For I know well the spring that flows and runs, although it is night".

My friend Colin Thompson is also a specialist on St John of the Cross and I recommend his book St John of the Cross: Songs in the Night (You can read a review here). Something with which to assuage some spiritual aridity during Lent and to chase away the darkness.

Please keep supporting water campaigns near where you are and further away. Go to the Ecumenical Water Network site for ideas about what to do