Living Waters for the World - Water of Life newsletter
    page 12 of 12      
      Water and the Word    
               Together from the first    
    Human life begins, is sustained, enriched,
and sometimes ends with water. Modern science
teaches us these things. But before science,
there was our story, and it tells us the
same thing, in relational fashion.

formless and empty,
darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was
hovering over the waters (1:2).
    In the beginning God's spirit/wind/breath
hovered over the watery-deep chaos of uncreation.
Order, separating elements and giving
them space and cycles, is the first step. Like all
power, water's power must be contained in order
for life to begin.

streams came up from the earth
and watered the whole surface of the ground (2:6).
The waters flooded the earth
for a hundred and fifty days (7:24).

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant
between God and all living creatures (9:16).
    Water, the first gardener, nourished Eden
before the human creature's form was Godbreathed.
Lest we forget water's overwhelming power,
  Noah's ark of obedience reminds us that the gift of life, left unchecked, can metastasize into death. God's rainbow covenant is our constant reminder of water's oxymoronic role in our lives.

Let a little water be brought,
and then you may all wash your feet
and rest under this tree (18:4).
Early the next morning
Abraham took some food and a skin of water
and gave them to Hagar (21:14).
Then God opened her eyes
and she saw a well of water (21:19).
    Abraham's first gift to his trinitarian visitors
at Mamre was water and foot washing, superlative
hospitality. Water is also the parting gift
that Abraham offers Hagar. When Abraham's
water is insufficient and Hagar acquiesces to
death, God resurrects her (and Ishmael) with
the miracle of a wilderness well.
    Many ecologists and economists predict that
World War III will be fought, not over oil, but
over water. I'm not sure if we can prevent this
prediction's eruption altogether, but I believe
that we can convince partner congregations
and communities all over the world to refuse
its legitimacy, opting and acting instead, for
the reality that "Jesus Christ is living water for
our bodies and souls."

Todd Jenkins, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Tenn., is a CWU 101 instructor and moderator
of LWW's Guatemala Network coordinating team.