7 Weeks for Water 2008 week 5

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price. 
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
   and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55.1, 10-11.

Added Value?

In the kitchen is a half drunk plastic bottle of water - left over from my last train journey. A large internationally-recognized label brands the bottle and adds value (at least for the shareholders in the company) to the humble yet life-essential contents. Sometimes I admit I\'m too lazy or stressed to organize myself to fill a bottle with tap water when I travel, yet I\'m one of the lucky 15% of the world\'s population who have access to clean drinking water from the tap.

Some parts of the world have become obsessed with branded bottled water as a lifestyle accessory. In other parts of the world the added value that women and children give to water by carrying it over long distances is quite simply life for their families and communities. 

The prophet Isaiah makes an almost outrageous invitation and promise, not branded luxuries for a few but a gracious and bountiful free sharing of the earth\'s rich resources. The word accomplishes God\'s purposes of justice in the same way that water causes the earth to spring forth and bear fruit.
Through Lent we meditate how God\'s word speaks to us, trusting that it shall not return empty. We pray that God\'s word in us may give real added value to the world in such a way that the promise that all who thirst may at last have equal access to life-giving water.

Are we willing to hear the word, be part of the promise and join the campaign for water justice, get organized and give up luxury branded water?

Together we can make a difference

Take the \"Think Outside the Bottle Pledge\" and fill jugs with clean tap water if you live in an area where the tap water is of drinking quality.

Don\'t buy branded bottled water for meetings - use jugs with Ecumenical Water Network labels on them.

Further information:

Think Outside the Bottle

Bottled Water Facts by Kairos Canada

Water: Life before Profit (2006) United Church of Canada Social Policy Positions

Inside the Bottle provides resources and news on the bottled water industry. The site has started to map the bottle water locations of the industry\'s Big 4 corporate players. Citizens are invited to contribute to this map by investigating and reporting how the industry operates within your community.