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Rector writes I am sitting in the Rectory garden contemplating upon what this letter ought to say. The weather is amazingly wonderful for June and it’s thirsty work, this contemplation business. I retreat to the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water. It strikes me with crystal-clear clarity just how taken for granted is this simple act, both the expectation that there will always be water, and its consumption. Of course, there is nothing “simple” about it as this straight-forward act glosses over the sophisticated system of water delivery commenced by the foresight of the Victorians and their awe-inspiring Loch Katrine project developed over the past century or so. Nonetheless, whatever the behind-the-scenes engineering might be, we go through the motions in an automatic fashion. Alas, this is not so for so many citizens of our world. Clean, clear running water is an impossibility for large parts of Africa, India and east Asia. Of all people, the Scots should be the most aware and the most thankful that mother nature and our prevailing weather system have produced our well-watered land and where our “water of life” is plentiful and wholesome. In a sense, we are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the wandering tribes described in the Bible whose whole existence was predicated on the ability to find and consume water. The Old Testament is one long narrative of a tribe seeking out food and water and God producing the miracles to keep them going. It should come as no surprise that there are so many references to the word “water” in the scriptures. My trusty bible concordance records well over 500 references to the word “water” and that’s not mentioning all the derivatives of the word itself! As for the New Testament, think of the number of instances where water is used to signal important theological interactions between Jesus and the people. Indeed, only last week we read the Gospel story of the calming of the tempestuous waters. Water becomes the symbol par excellence for the sacrament of baptism: both that of Jesus himself and every baptism thereafter. Water acts both as the substance to be consumed and a symbol for God’s life-giving spirit flowing into us. Accordingly, it seems to me that encouraging the development of clean water schemes throughout the globe is a particularly noble cause for the Christian to support given that link we have with water and spirituality. Alas, herein lies a problem. We have all become aware over the past 6 months of the stories of the scandalous treatment of defenceless and vulnerable people by members of the leading aid agencies. What are we to do? Do we continue to support them, or do we register our understandable disapproval by cancelling our standing orders or whatever? If we withdraw our support for an agency that, say, promotes water schemes, then who is the biggest loser – the agency or the person drinking contaminated water? On balance I think one ought to continue supporting whatever agency that specialises in water schemes. What do you think? Should aid agencies be supported or should we register a protest by withdrawing support?  Let’s have an exchange of views through the pages of the magazine. Well, whatever your refreshment might be as you stretch yourself out on that foreign beach or your back garden, I hope your summer holiday will be an excellent experience! The Rector
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