Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Everyday Grace: The blessing of water

by Mary Cronk Farrell

(From the July 3, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

The first day of summer vacation the temperature climbed to the high 80s. City pools opened to a rush of youngsters polished with sunscreen and pumped with excitement. You could hear the splashing a block away. On a hot day, is there anything better than cool water?

Water is a blessing, one that we often take for granted, whether it’s a shower in the morning, a way to keep our lawn green, or a place to water-ski on vacation. Not every kid in America has access to a swimming pool, but in most homes you can turn on a faucet and water comes out. Cool, clear water that’s fit to drink.

Many children in the world are not so lucky. If we divide the world’s 5.3 billion people into three groups in terms of what they drink, the poorest group of 1.75 billion have no option but to drink water that is often contaminated with human, animal and chemical wastes. The middle group of about 2 billion people have clean water to drink, and it is their primary beverage.

An important part of living a Christian life is recognizing and appreciating the gifts we’ve been given. Water is a precious gift necessary to sustain the life of our bodies. In baptism it is the symbol of our new life in the Body of Christ. Water is an aid to cleanliness. It’s used to produce electricity to power machinery and bring light in the darkness and heat in the cold. On rivers and oceans people and goods are transported great distances. Water offers uncountable ways of recreation and celebration.

This summer, why not make a special effort to acknowledge and be grateful for the many blessings of water? Look for ways to celebrate and give thanks, or follow some of these suggestions:

• When washing or bathing your child make the sign of the cross on her forehead and remind her that with water she was baptized into the Christian family.
• While your children play in the sprinkler or battle with Supersoakers ask them to pause for a moment, hold hands and briefly thank God for the gift of water and the fun it provides.
• On car trips identify lakes, rivers or streams you pass. Make an unplanned stop and have the whole family hop out and wiggle their toes in the water for just five minutes.
• Check the library for a book of science experiments. Find some using water that are age appropriate for your children. Spend an afternoon of hands-on learning.
• For one day be conscious of each time you use water, and be grateful.
• Plan a quiet prayer time next to a fountain, bubbling stream, duck pond or fishbowl. Look, listen, and give thanks.
• Ask your family to help come up with ways to conserve and respect water. If the kids volunteer to cut back on taking baths, accept the suggestion in good fun and help keep the discussion enjoyable. Focus on the idea of how we take care of a special gift given to us by someone we love. Children can turn off the water while brushing their teeth. Teenagers can read labels on products used in the home to determine if any contain chemicals that contribute to water pollution. Parents might install water saving showerheads or consider landscaping part or the entire yard with native plants and grasses which do not require watering.

In the beginning, according to Genesis, there was water. With our stewardship this gift will continue to sustain life, offer joy and lend power for generations to come. Alleluia!

© 2003, Mary Cronk Farrell

(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and children’s writer, one of five authors contributing stories to the new book Daughters of the Desert, from Skylight Paths Publishing.)

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