Water is Life

photo by Greg Smith

photo by Greg Smith

I grew up taking water for granted.  Wherever my little feet took me, water flowed freely whenever I turned on a faucet.

It was always there when I was thirsty.   It was a given for bathing and toileting.  It filled pools and lakes and oceans providing endless options for summer fun.

Water was everywhere. Water was always there.

Water is More and Less

Of course, water was, is and always will be far more and far less than my childhood memories.

It is more as it signals the arrival of life when a soon to be mother’s water breaks and, in many Christian traditions is the symbol of rebirth or new life through baptism.  The adult human body is water dependent, and is itself more than half water.

It is less than I remember as well.  Far too many people lack access to clean water and many more cannot imagine a world in which it flows freely anywhere one travels just by turning on a faucet.

Water is Life

Water plays an important role in many of the world’s great religions.  It is often viewed as having spiritual powers, and frequently used in cleansing or purifying rituals.

In recent months I was reminded once again of the importance of water for human life as I supported the Water Protectors at Standing Rock who sought to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Sara Thomsen wrote a simple, beautiful, and powerful song – Water is Life (Mni Wiconi) – “in tribute to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all the tribes, nations, native and non-native people coming together to protect the land and water threatened by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

So What?

This moving song calls native people, Christian people, and all people with ears to hear and be reminded that “we are one.”  It goes even further than suggesting the unity of all people by pointing to the unity of all of creation.  And, for those of us who make meaning of it through our tradition as followers of the Way of Jesus it invites us to take water seriously and to join with those of other faiths and those led by values that are not driven by faith to ensure the precious resource we call water is cared for and cared about for this generation and generations to come.

I encourage you to take 4 minutes to listen to the song before you answer the questions that follow.

  • What is your initial response to the song “Water is Life”?
  • How have your views on water changed over your lifetime?
  • In one sentence (or less) describe your current perspective. How does your religion inform your current perspective?

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