This morning I was reflecting on the daily post at Steps of Justice Today it is on the plight of refugees and as I read it I could not help but remember my own work with refugees in the 1980s and 90s. Working in the refugee camps on the Thai Cambodian border turned my life upside down, and transformed my faith. How easily I forget the pain and suffering of forgotten people like this I thought. Particularly as I now live in comfort far from refugees and displaced people.
Then I came across the following quote in Ancient Christian Devotional: A Year of Weekly Readings. It is a reflection on Exodus 17: 1-7 by Caesarius of Arles (470 – 543) It profoundly impacted me as I thought about what stirs my heart today. Do I really thirst for justice or am I satisfied with water? and if I do really thirst after justice how is that lived out in my life?
For what did the people Thirst? What then does the scripture mention in what follows? “In their thirst for water the people grumbled against Moses.” Perhaps this word that he said may seem superfluous, that the people thirsted for water. For since he said “In their thirst” what need was there to add “for water”? Thus indeed the ancient translation has it. Why did he add this, except because they thirsted for water when they should have thirsted for justice? “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice.” and again “thirsty is my soul for the living God.” Many people are thirsty, both the just and sinners, the former thirst after justice, the latter after dissipation The just are thirsty for God; sinners for gold. For this reason the people thirsted after water when they should have thirsted after justice.