By Fr Michel Jalakh
The gap between demand and supply of water in the Middle East--and the urgent need to reduce the gap needs to be discussed seriously. We need to address the challenges and the available opportunities to ensure sustainability of water in the region. Today, on the eve of Lent, and upon the attention of the international organizations and non-governmental and humanitarian organizations upon the subject of water, due to its importance for the continuity of life and by coincidence with the World Water Day, several questions are asked in terms of the Middle East as a whole or the Holy Land in particular. Water is a basic necessity of daily life, and cannot be dispensed with because of its importance for humans, animals and plants. Towns and villages were established only where there was a resource of water. In this context, Apostle Peter says, "By God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water." (2 Peter 3:5).
Since ancient times, life in the Holy Land was dependent on rain and spring water in mountainous areas, and river water elsewhere. Since that time, the Canaanites invented--then the Israelites afterwards--ways to protect water resources from enemy attack. They dug tunnels to reach groundwater wells or ponds, and a number of these have been discovered in a few Palestinian cities.
Before going into the current and vital reality of water, there is a spiritual and biblical feature that highlights its importance in the life of the community. The Bible came to mention "water" several times, as it prescribed the necessities of life to man (Genesis 21: 14-19), and this is illustrated strongly from what happened to David when he endangered the mighty warriors themselves and they brought him water from the well of Bethlehem (1 Chronicles 11: 17- 19).