Sukkot and the fertility of the earth as background to the interpretation of John 7:37-39 in the context of the water and environmental crisis in South Africa.
This thesis provides a theological and exegetical reflection on the water and environmental crisis in South Africa. The central aim of this thesis is to create a basis for the formulation of an African contextual hermeneutic of the environment using the text of John’s Gospel as a resource. This study will formulate and utilize an African contextual hermeneutic of the environment to interpret John 7:37-39. This reading will focus on the three poles of a contextual reading of a text, namely my context as a South African reader concerned with water and the environment; a literary reading of the text against its own historical context, and a dialogical appropriation of the text in response to the questions of the South African environmental crisis. Out of this process, the study will identify points of agreement between the African understanding of nature and Christian approaches to nature in ways that can help in the formulation of an African Christian hermeneutic of the environment. The study conducts an overview of the water and environmental crisis both globally, and in South Africa. In this area we look at the contributing factors of the rate of environmental degradation and the possibility of clean water running out. Also we will look at the African approaches to fertility and rain making and how their ethics towards the environment can help in creating a Christian ethic of caring for the environment. This will be linked to a study of the feast of Tabernacles as a background to reading John 7:37-39. in light of my concerns for the fertility of the earth and the assurance of abundant rains.