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Wading through Scripture: Religious Resources on Water

Resource Type: 
Worship Resources
File Contents: 

Water appears in our religious traditions in story, ritual, teaching and practice. From creation stories to baptism, religious offerings and holidays, our traditions recognize our dependence on the life-giving gift of water.

Christianity

Creation Justice Ministries Earth Day resource: "Water, Holy Water"

Bring the discussion of water conservation to your church community. This resource will help you shape a worship service around water and water conservation.

From the resource: “Water is the cradle of life, expression of God's grace. ‘Just as water is the essence of all life, water is also the primary element in the life of a Christian, where the sacrament of Baptism marks the sacred source of the spiritual life,’ noted the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, also known as the Green Patriarch, in his letter on water. Yet almost one billion people today do not have access to clean drinking water. Our water resources are being depleted and degraded as a consequence of our agricultural and industrial use of water, deforestation and climate change, overconsumption, waste, pollution. And while the challenges are great, the opportunities to conserve and preserve this precious gift of water are even greater.”

Click here for the "Water, Holy Water" resource.

Judaism

“My Oh Mayim: Water In Jewish Thought,” a resource from the Jewish National Fund to accompany World Water Monitoring Day

This resource begins with an exploration of the science underlying how water works in our global system, as well as human-caused problems of over-consumption and pollution. It then moves into an exploration of Jewish values related to water, including water in prayer, holidays, stories, stewardship teachings, and conservation practices.

Click here to view and download this resource.

Islam

Alliance for Religions and Conservation resource: “Islam and Water: The Hajjar Story and Guide” by Dr. Husna Ahmad OBE

“Water is just such a crucial part of our existence and yet we take it for granted. With the impact of climate change on the earth, we are seeing such extremes of weather throughout the world with increased floods and famine, tsunamis and tornadoes. This booklet is designed to highlight the importance of water conservation and explore the integral role water plays in Islam. The booklet relates the story of Hajjar (r.a) to emphasize the important role that Muslim women play in Islam and how we should not ignore our duty to protect the planet for our children and future generations.”

This resource includes information about Muslim teachings and practices related to water, as well as practical suggestions for water conservation.

Click here to view and download this resource.

 

Buddhism

A symbol for life, water is often found at the heart of the teachings and practice of Buddhism. The Water Festival in Buddhist tradition is a new year celebration symbolic of cleansing oneself to start afresh. Many teachings of Buddhism reveal its reverence for water, which is evident in the following prayer:

Turning on the Water

Water comes from high mountain sources.

Water runs deep in the Earth.

Miraculously, water comes to us and sustains all life.

My gratitude is filled to the brim.

Click here for this and other Buddhist prayers on water.

 

Hinduism and Jainism

"Hinduism, Jainism, and Ecology" by Dr. Christopher Key Chapple

"10 Hindu Environmental Teachings" by Dr. Pankaj Jain

Water is among the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth in Hinduism, which together form the foundation of the Hindu understanding of the “interconnected web of life.” The Hindu tradition is rich in stories, practices, and rituals that involve water, including the sacred River Ganges.

Some environmental perspectives from the Hindu tradition:

Click here for the article by Dr. Christopher Key Chapple.

Click here for the article by Dr. Pankaj Jain.

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Above photo used courtesy of Richard Hurd, via Flickr Creative Commons.