A few hot, dry days ago, on the edge of
All sides of the
“Israeli per capita water consumption is more than five times higher than that of West Bank Palestinians (350 litres per person per day in
A similar picture emerges in a report by BT’selem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories:
The discrimination in utilization of the resources shared by
There is a huge gap between Israeli and Palestinian consumption. The average Israeli consumes for domestic and urban use approximately 104 cubic meters a year, or 280 liters per person per day. In other words, per capita use in
The World Health Organization and the United States Agency for International Development recommend 100 liters of water per person per day as the minimum quantity for basic consumption. This amount includes, in addition to domestic use, consumption in hospitals, schools, businesses, and other public institutions. Palestinian daily consumption is 40 percent less than the recommended quantity.
One front in the Water Wars might come as a surprise:
“For residents of the
I learned more about this curious state of affairs when I spent Friday with Nasser Abufarha, the Chair of the Palestine Fair Trade Association and the Director of Canaan Fair Trade based in Jenin. An anthropologist-entrepreneur-scholar-humanitarian (Google him some time),
I’m hardly qualified to opine on the politics of regional hydrology. But I can say that the water infrastructure in
This brings me back to Jacob’s Well. According to ancient tradition, this is the very well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman and, at high noon, scandalously asked her for a drink (Jn 4:6). It’s a compelling story about ethnic tension, patriarchy and gender, sexual infidelity, competing religious claims, prophecy and fulfillment and more. Rereading the story lately I was struck by something else: Jesus’ promise to quench the woman’s thirst:
"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water'."
"Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life'." (Jn 4:10, 13-14)
Not even a Biblical well can keep physical thirst from returning. But Jesus’ dramatic claim here, interpreted literally by the dusty Samaritan, is that his loyal followers will find a deeper thirst quenched once and for all. For those of us who enjoy a cold beer on a hot day, the thought of never getting thirsty may have little appeal. But for folks over here who must daily draw water by hand and schlep it home on the back of a donkey, this is good news indeed.
Is there something in the water of Jesus’ Gospel for these sons of Abraham—here in
ADDITIONAL NOTE: A helpful piece on the subject of water by Ron Taylor just appeared today in CounterCurrents. It's called "Water Wars in the West Bank."