Christmas Greetings

Minds Crossing, Concord, NH                                                                    Christmas 2016


“Say to the anxious, ‘Be strong! Fear not! Your God comes to save you…’ for water will spring up in the wilderness and torrents flow in the desert… it will be called the Way of Holiness… it will become a pilgrim’s way.” (Isaiah 35: 4)


There is a spring flowing in the wilderness of Palestine. For centuries it has provided water for the village of Taybeh, known in biblical times as Ephraim. Three years ago Nadim Khoury started a brewery that depends upon water from the spring.

Faye and I visited Taybeh last April during a two-week traveling seminar, Faith in the Face of Empire.  We learned that Taybeh receives its spring water only three days a week. It is metered and administered by the occupying Israeli military. Most of the water is diverted to a nearby recently constructed illegal Israeli settlement.

Hearing their story filled me with anxiety. A brewery requires a “torrent” of water to succeed, which their spring is restricted from supplying. However, these Christians, powerless under Israeli occupation, remain strong in their belief that the road to the Taybeh Brewery will “become a pilgrim’s way.” How confusing is that!

It was confusing to return home to Minds Crossing where many fear that the waters of civility are being rationed or shut off altogether by the election rhetoric and plans for the future administration. We thirst for peace with justice in a world of never ending war. We thirst for peace with justice in a time threatening to roll back gains for the rights of women, GLBTQ people, people of color, and immigrants. However, every time we turn on a water faucet for a drink of water, to take a shower, or to drip irrigate our tiny vegetable garden we remember Taybeh: their trust in the vision of Isaiah.

This Christmas time, we join with Nadim and the people of Taybeh to hope in the impossible: “water will spring up in the wilderness and torrents flow in the desert… it will be called the Way of Holiness… it will become a pilgrim’s way” (Isaiah 35: 4).

In our tumultuous world may we all discover the “pilgrim way.”

A blessed Christmas and a hope-filled New Year,

John and Faye Buttrick




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A refocused (retiree) United Church of Christ clergy person, essayist, and sandy soil gardener living at Minds Crossing in Concord, NH. Served with the World Council of Churches as an EAPPI volunteer, August - October 2010 and as a Global Ministries long-term volunteer to Kairos Palestine, 2013 - 2015. Member of the Peace with Justice Advocates, NH Conference of the United Church of Christ. Past chair of the national United Church of Christ Palestine / Israel Network (UCC PIN). Give powerpoint presentations concerning life in the occupied Palestinian territories (West Bank and East Jerusalem).

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