Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Respect the Waters.

Dear Friends ,
How seldom we think about water, much less bless it.
Humanity can’t live without it, nor can animals or plants. Water is needed before food. The Yezidi driven to escape to the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq gave eloquent testimony to that fact. Think of the drought in Southern California. And don’t forget ”My water broke!”
In 1998, he mayor of Bethlehem told a group of travelers of whom I was part that if there were to be World War III, it would be fought over water. Precious  water.
Recently, the citizens of Toledo, Ohio, couldn’t rely on their ordinary source of water from Lake Erie. It had been contaminated with algae blooms.
At the same time, water can destroy property. Consider Hurricane Sandy.
Every now and again, brilliant engineers try to reroute rivers. Silly  people. Eventually, rivers go back to where they were and need to be.
For years, the great Columbia River was smoothed of its rapids to the detriment of fish and animals that depended on them.. Reversal is happening. In parts of the Netherlands, the sea is being allowed to reclaim land that had been taken from it though people’s need and desire.
At a personal level, I can tell you that when I swim in Canandaigua Lake, instinctively I see it as my being held up in the waves of life by God. God is the lake.
On the second day of creation, God made the waters. After that, there are some 870 references to water in the Scriptures – positive references, such as “I will pour our water on the thirsty” (Is.44.3), and “the river of God is full of water” (Ps.65.9) and negative references, such as to the waters that devastated the land at the time of Noah (Gen.7.6 ff.) and  when as a guest at table, Jesus told his host “You gave me no water to wash my feet.” (Mark 9.41)

Today in our minds and daily usage, let us respect the waters. Respect water.
Let us bless the humility of water,                      Water: vehicle and idiom
Always willing to take the shape                         Of all the inner voyaging
Of whatever otherness holds it…                         That keeps us alive.
Water : voice of grief,
Cry of love,                                                           Blessed be water,
In the flowering tear.                                           Our first mother.

                                                                                                            excerpt from To Bless the Space Between Us, by John O’Donohue