Britain’s worst violence since World War II continues to shock the world. Despite yesterday’s gains, the stock market continues its volatility. The “creeping disaster” of drought continues to get worse. And now we hear that Lady Liberty is closing.
Actually, it’s only the interior of the Statue of Liberty which will be shut down on October 29 for a year of renovations. Contractors will spend $27.25 million to update stairwells, add new fire suppression systems and elevators, and rehabilitate restrooms. When Janet and I visited the Statue last fall, we observed firsthand the need for such renovations. The good news is that you can still visit the island and the famous Lady while her interior is being updated.
Visiting “Liberty Enlightening the World” is one of the most remarkable experiences America offers. She stands 305 feet, 1 inch tall. Her skin is made of copper—62,000 pounds of it, the thickness of two pennies put together. It was originally brown, but turned green over the years due to exposure to air and water.
She was the tallest manmade structure in the United States when she was built. After she was erected in Paris, she was then disassembled into 350 pieces, put in 214 crates, and shipped to America. We were responsible for building her pedestal; her foundation was the world’s largest solid mass of concrete at the time.
Broken chains at Liberty’s right foot suggest that she is about to step over them, leaving behind enslavement for freedom. There is no copyright on the image of the well known icon, so we see her likeness every day on posters, billboards, and media. For soldiers sailing to war through New York Harbor, she is among their last sights upon leaving home and one of their first upon returning.
The interior renovation of our country’s most famous symbol of freedom is a metaphor for our times. If our interior is not strong, our exterior will soon decay and crumble. Are the problems of our day symptoms of an underlying source? Does healthy democracy require morality, lest we vote only for our personal self-interest to the neglect of the national good? Does altruistic morality require God’s help, lest we depend on flawed human wisdom and strength to sustain our integrity?
Jesus warned a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” Then he made this promise to her and to us: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Have you been to his spring today?