The life-bringing powers of water

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Water Photo credit: Glynis Goyns

Easter, for our Christian Earth Keepers, follows on the heels of World Water Day this year, which takes place on the 22nd March. As Easter is a time of resurrection and new life, World Water Day this year takes on special significance, as water is a primary source of life, and new life.

Water also forms part of some of the traditions of Easter, like the Easter Water in the Roman Catholic Church, which is water blessed in a special ceremony or with a prayer on Holy Saturday. This water is then used for sacramental use in the church or home. Another special tradition is the collecting of water before sunrise, from a spring, river or stream.

This was something I grew up with and we would wake before sunrise and walk in silence to one of the springs on our farm. Once the water had been collected, careful cupful after cupful, we would break the silence with some specially baked Easter bread, together with the fresh water and a verse from the Bible.

This tradition in some places attributes healing powers to the collected water, as it is connected with Christ’s resurrection in the early hours of the morning. This water can also be kept and bring healing throughout the year, for it is said that it does not lose its purity or freshness.

As much as water is connected with life, its loss or lack is felt very sorely. Too many places in southern Africa are experiencing drought at the moment; Zimbabwe declared a ‘state of disaster’ in February because of drought, Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa faces the same problem. Thus it is apt to make this source of life central in our thoughts, prayers and actions around the time of Easter beyond.

The Ecumenical Water Network has been encouraging Seven Weeks of Water for Lent with weekly reflections from different authors. Whilst the focus is on the Middle East where they are facing a water crisis, the lessons and thoughts we can draw from this apply to all water-parched regions of this world, which we can carry through Easter and beyond. You can find prayers and other resources on water on the Oikoumene website as well.

So as you and your community prepare to celebrate Easter, we call on you to keep this valuable element in the centre of your prayers and actions.

water Photo credit: Glynis Goyns

Some 'Earth Keeper' actions for World Water Day, Easter and beyond:

  • Find out whether there are any drought relief projects near you that you can donate to
  • Take note of the water restrictions in your area (click here for water restrictions in South Africa)
  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
  • Get involved with Green Monday and eat a plant based meal at least once a week. It takes 4 323 litres of water to produce 1kg of chicken – double of what is needed to produce 1kg of cereal.
  • Catch your shower water as you wait for it to warm up and use this for watering the garden
  • Mend any dripping taps at your place of worship or home
  • Find out where the water comes from used in your place of worship. Consider getting involved in cleaning that river!
  • Check your flush - Place a brick or a 2 litre bottle with water in your toilet cistern to reduce water flow.
  • If you need to add cold water when you fill the sink or bath, then your hot water thermostat is too high - try setting it at 55 degrees.
  • Only fill your kettle with as much water as you need.