I’m no expert on scripture, and I never think about water. It’s just there. I know I don’t drink enough of it, and this column was not what I intended for Easter Sunday.

But something happened this week in Georgia, in America, that changed my mind and opened a door in my heart to a memorable moment in my youth, when a simple cup of water became magical.

Texas, 1951, 118 degrees. I was sitting on the grass on a side street outside San Antonio with 10 other young airmen.

We were resting from a 5-mile walk and run, while our drill sergeant went into a gas station bodega across the street to call his girlfriend.

Our canteens were full of water — suitable for boiling eggs and not drinking.

A young, barefooted Mexican girl in the doorway of the bodega was watching us. She vanished, and then reappeared with a large orange bucket, and crossed to us.

She moved along this dirty, dusty line of sweaty young boys, lifting a ladle from the bucket, and offered each of us a cup of water. It was ice water from the soda machine. I can taste it now.

“Jesus was tired and sat at a well while His disciples went into town to buy food. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus asked her for a drink. The Jews hated the Samaritans and she was shocked that he would ask her for a drink of water.” (John 4).

That’s the quote I found online to help me write this.

This week, in the state of Georgia,  Republicans — white Christians — cast a measure they call “The Election Integrity Act of 2021,” that gives a long list of repressive measures to be set in motion for further elections.

I won’t list all, just this one.

“It will be illegal, indeed, a criminal act, to give food and water to voters in line.”

Now say that to yourself, slowly.

“It will be illegal, indeed, a criminal act, to give food and water to voters in line.”

In Georgia, in America, in 2022, a human being can be arrested for handing another human being a drink of cold water.

“Can I have some water?” He asked.

“Jesus suddenly cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.'”

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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