Apr 9, 2012

Water, please!

Water is one of the most important necessities of all things living. Without water we perish. We need water to survive, for animals, for plants, for industry, for times of drought, and for times of death. Water also plays a big role in many different faiths, and is particularly used for cleansing and cleansing rituals. In prayer, the Muslims use water to purify themselves and have ablution before prayer. It is important for the body and clothing to be clean at all times. Water is also important for the washing of the deceased before prayer. In Christianity, water is also used. After the resurrection of Jesus, he commanded his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). Water is used in Buddhist funerals where it is poured into a bowl which is placed before the monks and the deceased. As the water fills the bowls the monks recite “As the rains fill the rivers and overflow into the ocean, so likewise may what is given here reach the departed.” We can’t do without water.

Ritual washing

In Christianity it is believed that baptism is a symbol of liberation from the oppression of sin that separates man from God except for the Catholics who believe that baptism does not in itself cleanse one from sin, but rather a public declaration of belief in Christ and a sign of welcome into the church. The Catholics believe that a real change occurs at baptism and that it is at baptism that the stain of original sin is actually removed from the person.

Maintaining a state of purity

In Judaism there is ritual washing to maintain a state of purity and ablutions include the washing of the hands, the feet or total immersion in ‘living water’ such as a river or the sea. During those early times ablutions were practiced by priests and converts to Judaism as part of the initiation rights, and by women on the seventh day after they have had their menstrual period. Very much like the Muslims, one had to wash ones hands and feet before taking part in temple services. Washing of the hands is performed before and after meals and on many other occasions. The washing of the hands, face, mouth, hands and feet are also what Muslims do before they perform prayer.

Red Sea significant in Jewish history

The parting of the Red Sea, a miraculous event at the beginning of the Exodus is significant in Jewish history. The Egyptian army was chasing them and God parted the Red Sea to enable the Israelites to escape. The miracle was a reward for the faith of Moses and the Israelites, and this led to the term God’s Chosen People. The crossing of the Red Sea showed God’s power and that God had power over everyone, including the sea. Water here has a powerful meaning as it meant punishment for the perceived enemy and blessings for the Israelites. The above is only a drop of information in the uses of water and the importance of water in our lives.


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