Due to a chemical leak from Freedom Industries (a coal processing plant) into the Elk River last Thursday, West Virginians were banned from using water, except to flush their toilets for 4 days. Water is one of those everyday things that most of us have taken for granted and yet water is one of the most precious life-giving elements in human lives and for the whole earth. So I decided to be more mindful of water this morning and here is what I found:
- The first thing I did as soon as I got up was to go to the bathroom and splash water on my face to wake up.
- Then I used the toilet and flushed it with water. Afterward, I washed my hands with water.
- Then I went to the kitchen and boiled some water to make tea.
- I made oatmeal for breakfast using water and milk.
- I took my blood pressure medicine and vitamins with water.
- After breakfast, I went to the bathroom again; flushed the toilet a second time with water. I washed my hands again with water.
- I wetted my face with water before I shaved. I rinsed my razor 6 times with water.
- I wetted my toothbrush with water before I brushed my teeth and then I rinsed the toothbrush and my mouth with more water.
- I then took a 3-minute shower with water.
- After I dressed, I watered my potted garden on my baloney.
- I washed the dishes with water.
- One more stop in the bathroom before I left for work – a 3rd flush of the toilet with water. I then washed my hands with water.
In one hour, I used water 17 times! Most mornings, I don’t event think about my water use. How I have taken for granted the things that West Virginians did not have for 4 days.
A sustainable community is mindful of how water is used in order to conserve and recycle this precious source of life. A sustainable community takes care of the water sources - surface water that travels or gathers on the ground, like rivers, streams, and lakes and groundwater, which is water that is pumped out from the ground.
Water is also a very significant symbol for Christians; here is a prayer of “Thanksgiving over the Water” from the Baptism service in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church:
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life. We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Reflection Questions for 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany (Year A)
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Eric H. F. Law
For competent leadership in a diverse changing world