W is for Water


New musings inspired by the alphabet... 

One of the things we, in water-rich Canada, may fail to appreciate is that water has always been scarce in many parts of the world. 

The lands mentioned in the Bible, which contains many of our earliest stories, 
were surrounded by deserts so arable land was very important. 
The presence of water often determined where people settled.

Think of modern times, and how valuable waterfront property has always been.

We have a favourite quote in the Maritimes, from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” 

Our connection to water is deep, primal, and eternal. 

70 to 75% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. 
Roughly 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water, 
and about 85% of the adult brain is made up of water. 

Next to air, water is essential to life and survival.
According to World Vision, an estimated 785 million people around the world don’t have access to basic drinking water.

Water is essential. 
Water is a blessing. 
And when there isn’t enough water, it becomes cherished. 

Yet, around the world, hundreds of millions of people don’t share this blessing. 

What would Jesus ask us to do about this? 

We are expected to champion the rights of people everywhere to have access to affordable, safe, and convenient drinking water. 
We are expected to share our abundance to end the suffering of those get sick from contaminated water – of the women and children who walk long distances to carry water back to their homes. 

Clean water is essential for surviving, but also for living. 
Access to clean water allows people to be healthier, to get an education, which leads to a better future for them and their families.
When everyone is strong and healthy, we are able to do more for ourselves,
And for others. 
Since we are called  
to take care of each other and help our neighbours, 
to fight for justice and fairness, 
to end oppression and persecution. 

And not having access to safe drinking water is oppression. Worrying about water, boiling water for activities as simple and basic as drinking and brushing teeth, consume time and energy that could be used for other things – the things those of us with safe drinking water – who never give it a second thought – have been doing for generations. 

According to the Council of Canadians, there are drinking water advisories in dozens of First Nations communities across Canada. The lack of clean, safe drinking water in First Nations is one of the greatest violations of the UN-recognized human rights to water and sanitation.

73 % of First Nations’ water systems are at high or medium risk of contamination.

First Nations do not only need water filtration systems, but skilled workers to run them, and skilled, qualified people to work on other permanent solutions to what has been a too-long-term problem. And it needs to have Indigenous peoples solving it. 

In Indigenous cultures, women are the traditional “water carriers” and imagine the knowledge that has been (or could have been) passed down through generations of observations and interactions with water in the natural world. 

Clean water is clear and cleansing. It is pure and it is safe. 
It is life-giving and life-sustaining. 
And it is present in every living creature – plant and animal – on earth. 

We cannot take water for granted. 

~ SJ


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