Water – Mercy and Mystery

…while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. (Genesis)

All pictures from Grassi Lakes
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I’m tamed by tap-water. Water in pipes loses it’s meaning. Until it stops flowing, or is contaminated. Then something of it’s primary-ness returns to memory.

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Where there is water there is life. (The Martian probe’s first assignment was to find water.)

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Water sustains and destroys. It is creative and chaotic. It is mercy and mystery.

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We wonder at the workings and intricacies of water. (The structure of water, its peculiar properties, is still a major question in chemistry and physics.)

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Water is holy. With it and through it we are birthed, nourished, anointed, baptized, and cleansed.


Water as symbol is restless. Symbol readily translates a reality.

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Some believe water carries ancient memories and present messages. I don’t know.

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I do know how walking on an ocean beach with the surf at my side makes me feel. I know how standing by a river or a half frozen pond or sitting by a brook makes me feel. But I wouldn’t know how to describe that feeling except as a kind of deep hopeful melancholy.


But these words also fail.


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  1. Water is holy? Sounds like a clear case of nature worship to me. After all, it’s not water, but God who is in control. It brings to mind the raging debate over Global Warming. On this, I take my lead from Pastor John Collier, from that lighthouse of environmental wisdom, Waco’s Parkview Baptist Church. He says: “God is in absolute control of the situation, and whether it’s hair spray that they say is going to knock out the ozone or whether it’s all the emissions, he knew all of these things would come to pass.”

    So water, schmater – if it’s brown and poisonous, God was in on it and he commands us not to worry. So fageddaboutit – let your mind dwell on matters eternal – saving souls. And who cares if televangelists continue to use an abundance of hair products in their efforts to reach the lost, the world’s going to hell in a handbasket anyways. “Ever since the fall of man, Earth has been deteriorating,” notes Collier, and it will continue to do so no matter what efforts are launched.” So Steve, ask yourself: are you being wooed off the narrow path when you tap into water’s overt, tree-hugging agenda?

  2. to not love what God loves is no testimony of our faithfulness.
    learning to tend to the garden we have been given is to insult the giver.

    an escapist
    world hating religion is an unfortunate hallmark of much of conservative Christianity

    but I think things may be changing
    at least we can hope

  3. “…lighthouse of environmental wisdom.” Love that.

    “…wooed off the narrow path…tap into water’s tree-hugging agenda.”

    I have been weighed and found severly lacking. But the poetic irony makes for a lovely landing.

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