Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletDecember 15, 2017

Earth Concerns News

Water of Life by Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CSJ


Last month we celebrated Earth Day (April 22). That week, in addition to hearing Marion Honors in "Stories of Home," I had the privilege of presenting a program at the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center, entitled, "Water of Life." As I was preparing for the program, which made the connection between the waters of our faith with water as natural resource, I recalled a few of the reasons I am so "stuck" on water.

While I ministered with Habitat for Humanity International, I traveled to many places where potable water was extremely scarce. In India, I drank hot Coca Cola and Orange Crush and was told to avoid even the ice cubes in restaurants. In Uganda, I watched as women would dip their buckets in mud puddles after a rain because the nearest well was four or five hours away. In El Salvador, I did not heed the water warning and was ill for five days. My experience does inform my passion around the issue of water!
 
We journeyed with the Scriptures and then reflected on a contemporary water issue. We heard part of the Creation Story from Genesis 1:1-2, 6-7, 9-10, 20-22 and considered, "What is being created in me during this Easter Season?" From Psalm 42 we wondered, "For what do I thirst?" and "What is the deepest desire of my heart?" In Isaiah 55:1-11 we pondered, "Where do I receive water, either physically or spiritually?" With Jonah 1-2, we reflected on "What ways have I run away from God?" and "Have I allowed myself to be caught?"
 
We heard the story of the Samaritan woman from John 4:1-42 and considered "How am I able to listen, so that Jesus can inform my heart?" We listened to the call of the first disciples from Matthew 4:18-22 and pondered, "To what am I being called right now?" and we read the story of Jesus calming the storm in Luke 8:22-25 and wondered, "What in my life do I need Jesus to calm right now?"
 
Following some personal time with the questions we looked at how much water on average is used by people around the world--159 gallons. However, half of the world's population lives on 25 gallons per day. We also asked, "When you brush your teeth, do you leave the water running?" Standard bathroom faucets use about 2.5 gallons of water per minute, so turning off the water will save about 1825 gallons of water per year (www.eartheasy.com). "Who regulates bottled water?" Essentially, no one regulates bottled water, but municipalities, where your tap water comes from, are regulated, and the results are communicated annually to all residents. In addition, billions of plastic bottles end up in the landfill each year -- not recycled. The good news here is that the NYS Legislature just expanded the bottle bill to include these bottles and other non-carbonated bottles for deposit. We have made great strides in this area. Hooray! 
 
Our faith informs our world, and our world informs our faith. In our reading and discussing Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God, we see that fact unfolding. Drink deeply, dear ones, and allow the abundance of God to well up!