Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Living Water & World Water Day

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First Paddle of 2020, On Still Waters

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 

The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

We're fortunate that so many of our regular outdoor forays are close to water. That's usually where we head, whether within conservation areas or provincial parks or other spots where we can put in a canoe or kayaks for a paddle. Anyone who reads this blog knows that this is our propensity, and that we love salt water as well. Hardly a year passes without some time at the edge of an ocean. Water is pleasing to the senses and absolutely indispensable for life. This watery planet is a miracle of our solar system, and I don't use that term "miracle" lightly. . 

Sunday was March 22nd and the annual World Water Day. It's mildly unfortunate that it didn't coincide with the previous Sunday's lectionary passage from John's gospel about the Samaritan woman and Jesus as Living Water. Just the same, as Christians we can acknowledge how central water is to our faith as both as a physical necessity and as a powerful symbol of rejuvenation and spiritual sustenance. 

We are all becoming aware that water is vital for disease prevention to address the modern-day plague which is coronavirus. Gloves are helpful, and so is hand sanitizer, but water and soap are the best way to kill the virus. I'm concerned for Indigenous people in Canada who live in communities where clean and abundant water isn't available, a travesty in our wealthy nation.Water is a sensory blessing and water is justice. 

I do hope we continue to have the opportunities to spend time by and on water during the difficult days ahead. I consider it a gift from God in every sense and my soul is nourished "beside still waters" (the psalm for Sunday past) and in the myriad freshets and torrents which mark Spring in this country. 

I don't recall ever using the hymn below for baptism even though the alternate tune, Stuggart, is used for another popular baptism hymn. Ah well...

1 Crashing waters at creation,
ordered by the Spirit's breath,
first to witness day's beginning
from the brightness of night's death.

2 Parting water stood and trembled
as the captives passed on through,
washing off the chains of bondage -
channel to a life made new.

3 Cleansing water once at Jordan
closed around the one foretold,
opened to reveal the glory
ever new and ever old.

4 Living water, never ending,
quench the thirst and flood the soul.
Wellspring, Source of life eternal,

drench our dryness, make us whole.

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