World Water Day
John 4:14 – but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Over 1 billion people lack access to clean, safe affordable drinking water.
– By 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population is predicted to lack access to water.
– The World Bank has predicted that the wars of tomorrow will be fought over water.
– The problem is exacerbated by global warming which is spreading droughts.
Today is World Water day and we share a reflection from the Ecumenical Water Network of the WCC, by Rommel Linatoc, executive secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. In the Philippine context, the mainline Protestant churches, the Roman Catholics, independents, evangelicals and the Pentecostals were worshiping together during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In order to contextualize the celebration, the pressing issues of the people were incorporated into the liturgy. One of the major concerns was “Water and Justice”. In the liturgical service, the water was symbolized as a source of life and a basic right. It is an essential element for the fullness of life
(John 10:10). In the litany of prayers, the issue of water was depicted in the local and global context. Today, there are still many countries that are fighting over territories, and the bodies of water are being divided over and over again. Ironically, in this age of post-colonialism, the call for peace is still an agenda of many of those countries. The idealism of peace and justice has lost its meaning due to the negative impact of structural adjustment programmes which are responsible for turning water into a commodity rather than a basic necessity to survive. Our biblical discourses will not make any sense if we are not able to discern the relationship of the water issue to other social issues.
In some practical aspects of church celebrations, the faithful communities are content to encapsulate the concerns of water into the form of a litany of prayers, when it comes to solemnizing a baptism or in celebrating the holy “blessings of water” during a theophany in some Christian traditions, while the rest of the liturgy focuses on the romanticized concepts of spirituality. The members of the church are experiencing this celebration of water in the liturgy in our Sunday services. This is like attending a worship service for one hour & thirty minutes and forgetting the realities of the world. Meanwhile, the other 166.5 hours of our lives per week is devoted to being a part of what the highly commoditized and commercialized world wants.
Being followers of Christ, let us embrace the biblical affirmations and journey with God’s Word and engage ourselves in the holistic and transformative act. Let us reflect upon ways in which the holistic approach of understanding the Bible can lead worshippers to discern more deeply the church’s missions and acts of compassion. Let us explore possibilities of how the liturgical celebrations can be a continuing pilgrimage in understanding the context of water issues with a just-peace perspective!
Epilogue: Water never stops, and it is always in search of a space to occupy the available spaces or create new spaces to fill! Likewise, let the water advocates among believers try to combine the biblical affirmations with our social actions. When we worship God, let us give thanks to God for the abundant blessings God has given to us in the form of this beautiful creation of nature, particularly water. Let us bring in the elements of nature like the water in our worship resources to reiterate its spiritual significance and draw
Read more: Seven weeks for water