Have you ever been really thirsty? So thirsty that, even though you don't have access to any bottled or filtered water, you just have to go to the kitchen, plug your nose, and chug a big 'ol glass tap water? For some of us this is more common than for others, but in Phoenix, you know you're thirsty when you're willing to drink from the tap!
For those of you who are familiar with issues of water, both foreign and domestic, the paragraph above mat seem like a set up... and it is, except that, even with all I know, it truly is how I feel. Even though a lack of clean drinking water is the leading cause of illness world wide (www.globalwater.org), I still take for granted that the remarkably safe water that comes out of my tap will always be there. And even though UNICEF sites fecal contamination of drinking water as a leading cause of the 4,000 daily deaths from diarrhea amongst children under the age of five, I still turn my nose up at it.
While I've read that both Dasani and Aquafina are really just that same tap water, packaged and sold to me at exorbitant prices, compromising th environment, both through the manufacture of plastic for the bottles and through the transportation cross country of a commodity that flows freely into my house, I still pick up a bottle anytime someone offers me one. And even though I know that reverse osmosis wastes almost as much water as it produces at the end of the process, I still fill up bottles outside my local drug store.
In April, OnFire will join the United Methodist Church in Fort Worth Texas for General Conference. We are planning coordinated witnesses around immigration (check back regularly to hear more about or "I was a stranger" campaign) and water as a basic human right, know as our "I was thirsty" campaign. We will be selling water bottles on the cheap, encouraging all of the delegates to reduce their consumption of disposable plastic by refilling regularly at our water filling station. We will also use this opportunity to highlight the concern for free and public access to clean drinking water around the world.
We hope that you will all be able to join us, but for those of you who cannot, we encourage you to get involved where you are. If you'd like more information on how you can run an "I was thirsty" campaign in your local area, email us at UMOnFire@gmail.com. If you have ideas about effective ways to witness around water issues, send 'em our way. If you have stories of how you are sharing the witness of God's love and call to compassion around water issues, please post them here for others to read. Together, we can create God's kin-dom, where justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream (Amos 5:24). Amen!