A reflection from Simon:
It has been hot this week. Last evening I poured myself a large glass of cold, pure water from the fridge and gulped it down to slake my thirst. You can drink many things in this weather – iced tea, lemonade, even a tall chilled beer (not the children please) but nothing quite compares to pure, cold water.
In the sweltering heat of Haiti they truly appreciate clean water, probably because it is so hard to get. They have a proverb that in Creole runs “D’lo se la vi”. It means “water is life”.
In England there is a classic comedy sketch that often gets repeated on TV. A guy goes into a hardware store to buy various things and there follows a series of misunderstandings with the clerk helping him. First of all, the guy wants to replace the hafts on his garden forks so he asks “Fork handles?” and the clerk gives him four candles.
Possibly it was on a day as hot as the ones we have been having that Jesus sat down by a well and asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. The very act of asking that question was breaking all sorts of taboos and it starts a remarkable conversation. At one level the exchange becomes comic as the woman misunderstands what Jesus is saying, just like the two in the hardware store. But at another level something profound is happening. Jesus starts by asking for a drink of water and ends up offering living water that will satisfy our thirst for ever.
The water that I will give will become … a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.
That is a metaphor that would resonate with my Haitian friends.
(To read the story of the Samaritan Woman in full go to the Gospel of John, Chapter 4).