There were two water fountains at the park near where I grew up in Montgomery, AL.

One was cold, clean, and refreshing. The sign above it said “White.”

The other fountain looked as though it had never been cleaned, and it dispersed warm water on sweltering summer days. The sign above it said “Colored.”

One day, when no one was looking, I drank from the Colored Water Fountain to see what it was like. I quickly spat out the water that was almost hot.

And even though I was a little boy, I knew deep within my soul, “Everyone deserves a cold drink of water.”

I was born in Selma, raised in Montgomery, and attended high school in Birmingham, 1955-1973. This was in the heart of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S.

During those tumultous years, I learned a song as a child in Sunday School in the South:

“Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Today, unfortunately the signs of color, discrimination, or injustice have been exchanged for new signs that declare that it is ok to act unjustly to persons who are gay, or to women who want to be clergy, or persons living with HIV/AIDS, or to persons living in countries like Sudan.

Giving a cold, refreshing drink of water to a thirsty soul is the right thing to do. There are dry, parched lips all around us.

I still believe everyone deserves a cold drink of water.