I’ve been mindful of water since we first started hearing about coronavirus and the need to wash our hands constantly. I thought about Detroit and Flint without access to clear, safe, affordable water. I thought about communities around the world in drought or flooding, both causing hardship for fresh water availability. Knowing how essential hand-washing is for the chance to stay healthy, what about people who cannot regularly get to water sources and soap, because they don’t have homes?
Meanwhile, I realized my own consumption level of water increased that first week as I focused so much on soaping and counting that I left water running (rather than my automatic habit of turning it off). Being around the house all day, we also are using more dishes and cooking more so, more water. In anxiety and concern, I have used hot showers to soothe and calm. As I use paper products and cleaning supplies, I’m mindful of all the world’s resources that have gone into these things that I am using up at increased rates these days in order to follow directions to sanitize and do our part.
World Water Day (March 22) ended the first full week of work-from-home for our family. Even and maybe especially in this time, how can I remain mindful of the gift of water, stay active in advocating for the right for all to have water, and to continue to shape myself to be a better world citizen of this resource? How do I balance my use of water with prayers and action for all to have the water they need?
I smiled on Sunday to still get to see one of the children of the church pour water into the baptismal font at church through our virtual worship online. Baptism reminds us that we are God’s, and that we are bound to one another. Indeed in this time, we can have hope because God is with us, and we are all in this together.
This Lent, I have been reading along and appreciating the reflections offered by global siblings through the World Council of Churches’ “Seven Weeks for Water” series. This week, using the biblical story about Naaman, the reflection was written by Dinesh Suna, coordinator of Ecumenical Water Network, World Council of Churches. He is a Lutheran and comes from India. In the reflection, he explores the importance of “hand-washing” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic while this basic facility is not available to millions of people, particularly to children. He dedicates this reflection to World Water Day with the theme “Water and Climate Change.” I highly recommend reading this important reflection, and perusing ones from weeks before and those still to come.
For other resources, I invite you to check out Creation Justice Ministries, and their suggestions for how to pray, reflect and get involved in caring for the world’s water.
May you feel God’s presence surrounding you and blessing you each time you turn on your faucet and it runs over your (perhaps dry and cracked!) hands. May you be encouraged to advocate for water justice each time you give thanks because you have the water you need in this crisis. May you know that you are not alone, that we are all in this together, that as the world’s waters connect us all, so does God’s love.
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