Ecumenical Water Network

The EWN is a network of churches and Christian organizations promoting people's access to water around the world

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Week 5

The fifth Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Fulata Mbano-Moyo, a Malawian Reformed systematic theologian and WCC's programme executive for women in church and society. Reflecting on the story of the Samaritan woman, she highlights that water is life: important for renewal; needed by everyone, regardless of race, sex, age, ability or any other quality; a gift of God that should not be privatized and confined to the powerful so as to deprive the less powerful; and that like the Samaritan woman, each one of us should make sure that we work towards making physical and spiritual water accessible to all.
Week 5

A woman carrying water in the Doro refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. © ACT/Paul Jeffrey

The fifth  Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Fulata Mbano-Moyo, a Malawian Reformed systematic theologian and  WCC's programme executive for women in church and society.   Reflecting on the story of the Samaritan woman, she highlights that water is life: important for renewal; needed by everyone, regardless of race, sex, age, ability or any other quality; a gift of God that should not be privatized and confined to the powerful so as to deprive the less powerful; and that like the Samaritan woman, each one of us should make sure that we work towards making physical and spiritual water accessible to all.

No one owns water, it is God's gift

Water is where the meeting in this story takes place. It has great attraction as a place of life and renewal in this dry land. The well where the water can be found is said to be Jacob's - perhaps a reference to the Old Testament patriarch, perhaps a reference to the owner of the plot who has commanded "powerless" slaves and servants to dig the well. We meet a tired and thirsty Jesus attracted to the well for renewal of his life. He has sent his disciples to the city with money to buy food. He has no means of accessing the well's water but he knows he does not need money and that someone will be there to freely share the water with him.

The Samaritan woman comes as part of her usual routine: carrying out a typical gender role, drawing water to sustain her family. While she is part of the marginalized non-Jewish people (Samaritan) she is at the centre of contradiction: being discriminated against while also being the access point to drinking water.

To continue reading, please download the  reflection (pdf, 456 KB)

Together  we can make a difference

  • While considerable progress has been made in extending access to water in recent years, the latest data show that 768 million people around the world still do not have access to safe water. Women bear the brunt of the burden where water has to be collected from far away water sources and when their children get sick or die from diseases caused by dirty water.
  • Help ease this burden by making a "just gift": give a friend or relative a jerry can, a well, or why not a toilet - given in their name to somebody who needs it for a better life.
  • Find out whether there are organizations in your own country that offer just gifts. Some participants of the Ecumenical Water Network like Church World Service (USA) and Christian World Service (New Zealand) offer the possibility of giving such a gift instead of an ordinary present, and you can find others by searching the internet for "Water and sanitation as a gift".

 

Please note: Opinions expressed in Biblical reflections or background resources do not necessarily reflect EWN and WCC policy.