We are a thirsty people. I was reminded of it this week when we gathered around a beautiful labyrinth painted to resemble a beach and the water that lapped against it and on it. We gathered, a thirsty people, to pray for those around the world who live with a scarcity of water. Or water that stands stagnant and poison. Or water that is laced with chemicals too dangerous for children or other living things. Or water that must be carried for long distances in fragile and fractured vessels by women whose work is already heavy and thankless.
I was reminded of the thirst we humans share when I prayed this prayer written by Edward Hoyt, CRS:
And was we gaze upon this land that so thirsts for your water
Let it remind us of all the thirsts of the world:
The thirst for justice
The thirst for peace
The thirst for opportunity
The thirst for reconciliation
The thirst for hope.
So many thirsty longings. We know that our bodies can live quite a long time without food. Though hungry, our bodies will continue to feed off itself as muscle and fat wastes away. But we perish without water…that element that makes up the largest part of who we are. Our thirst is what can be our undoing.
I am thinking now of the children of Flint, Michigan and all the other places where literal water has been harmful to the growth and future of those who call it home. I am thinking about all the children who are thirsty for nurturing words, kind touch, affirming actions. I am thinking of the wise ones, old with years, who ache for companionship, who suffer the dehydration of loneliness. I am thinking about all those who are thirsty for another chance to prove their worth, to show what they can do, to offer their gifts. I am thinking of all those who thirst to be seen, to be heard, to be known.
We are a thirsty people. Our thirsts run deep and our connections are often frayed. But I believe we harbor within a cup of compassion that is held out to us by the One who breathed us all into being, the One who longs to quench thirst and bring life.
And when your blessings rain from the sky
As assuredly they will
And we kneel again at the pools and fountains
Teach us to cup our hands
Turn first, and share with one another.
May it be so. May it be so.