Sojourners Magazine: November 2013
TURN ON THE tap and water comes out, right? But what happens when public water sources become privately owned, when this essential element is bought and sold on the market, rather than held in the public trust for public use?
Renowned water activist Maude Barlow and Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Watch bring to life the story of water privatization in America. As climate change leads to water shortages, and as local governments struggle with shrinking budgets, corporations are seizing the opportunity to privatize water by buying up control. While this has been common in poorer countries for years, it’s now happening in our own backyards.
But churches and community groups are organizing to keep water public and available. Some churches are even “adopting” their watersheds. The Bible is rich with images of water that symbolize new life and the fulfillment of God’s promises. Reta Halteman Finger’s Bible study traces water in the New Testament from Jesus’ baptism to Revelation’s vision of “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.”
There are times, of course, when God’s gifts flow beneath the surface. Mennonite pastor Ryan Ahlgrim tells the story of his own intellectual and spiritual struggles with belief—and the trust that’s necessary to fully live a life of hope.
The ongoing crisis in Syria reminds us that the irresponsible export of arms too often leads to wars, atrocities, and human rights abuses. Anglican Bishop Peter Price explains the status of the Arms Trade Treaty, overwhelmingly approved in April by the U.N. General Assembly. Why have only four countries ratified it?
Finally, as we close out the liturgical year, we offer our thanks to Martin L. Smith for his discerning lectionary reflections over the past year and a half, helping us all on the journey to more closely live the Word in our daily lives.