Magazine article The Christian Century

In Search of the Thirsty

Magazine article The Christian Century

In Search of the Thirsty

Article excerpt

For more than a decade, members of the interfaith humanitarian group No More Deaths have been placing food, clothing, and jugs of water in the Sonoran Desert to aid migrants who have crossed into Arizona from Mexico. Their goal is simple: to prevent migrants from dying in the desert. Between 1999 and 2018, more than 3,000 migrants perished while trying to make the dangerous crossing

During the summer of 2017, as temperatures reached triple digits, Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick drove into the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, part of the vast desert wilderness along the border, and left behind jugs of water and canned food for migrants. The four women, all volunteers with No More Deaths, were followed by a U.S. Border Patrol officer, arrested, and charged with entering the wildlife refuge without a permit and with "abandonment of property." According to court records, the women said their actions were motivated by their religious convictions and their belief that everyone should have access to means of survival.

In the Bible, giving water to all those who thirst is a sign of God's compassion. "Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters," declares the prophet Isaiah, describing the invitation of God. In the Gospel of Matthew, giving water to the thirsty is one of Jesus' commands to his disciples, and it is an explicit way of serving Jesus himself. The volunteers for No More Deaths were not only following Jesus' directive. …

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