The African exception
Water is more precious than gold
The Gospel of St. John in Chapter 4, 5-42 tells us that Jesus, wearied by the road, had sat by the spring, there was the well of Jacob.
A lady from Samaria comes to draw water and Jesus says, "Give me something to drink."
This simple request of Jesus to the Samaritan may not have the same meaning for most of us who are accustomed to having running water in our homes. Simply open the faucet to get as much water as you want. This simple gesture that we are making mechanically is not the case for much of the world's population.
It is not so for a large number of people, for example in Africa in big cities as in villages. The reception of the stranger begins by offering him fresh water, even before the obligatory greetings in any meeting.
The roles are reversed and it is now up to the Samaritan woman to ask in her turn: "Lord, give me this water, that I may not be thirsty any more, and that I have no more to come here to draw."
For every woman in Africa and for children to draw water, this request has all its meaning and relevance. This clearly expresses the fatigue of the Samaritan woman, who certainly had to travel a few kilometers under the crushing sun at noon to draw a few liters of water. This story is their story, it is repeated every day for many people in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
Around the well, life and joy.
History tells us that Saint John takes place around the well of Jacob
Today, as 20 years ago when I first came to Africa, the most urgent need is water. The demand of the Samaritan woman is still strongly felt, "give me to drink"
Life around the village well is a symbol of life and joy especially for women and children. Long distances, fatigue, the burning sun, all this is over. Women sing while drinking water, children enjoy themselves by drinking heavily and can now devote more time to school work and games with their friends.
Opening my faucet again will not be the same again, I will think of all those women and children who travel long distances to seek a little water. I will also think of the people around the well of the village whose joy is great since they know that water is more precious than gold.
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