Written by Kaji Dousa
And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple -- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." - Matthew 10:42
Things were different, she noticed. "His bones hurt," her son told her.
Her children had never had these skin lesions, body convulsions. They were becoming forgetful.
"My heart breaks," she tells the reporter, "because, fact of the matter is, I handed them the glasses of water." Glasses of water infused with cleaning chemicals so powerful that they were burning holes into pipes across the city. Tiny hands around dangerous cups a loving mother unwittingly shared.
Jesus' "cup of cold water" is deceptively simple. It might sound like the least his disciples could do. It could sound like the simplest form of charity.
But Melisa Mays, her children, and the thousands of families affected by the Flint, Michigan water crisis, teach us something different.
In order to give a "cup of cold water" that is safe enough to drink, a whole series of justice concerns have to be met.
Jesus counts on us to tend to the justice issues so that the cup of cold water we hand our child will not make his bones hurt, will not give her convulsions, will not do anything but provide the refreshment God seeks for all of God's children.
O Living Water, Source of Life: Forgive us for the waters that burn. May we never find contamination acceptable. May those with the power to change hear our voices first and may those voices reflect only you. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City./div>