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World Water Day: Churches reflect on the significance of water

World Water Day: Churches reflect on the significance of water

The villagers of Madhya Pradesh State engaged in “Jal Satyagrah” (water protest inspired by Gandhi's nonviolent struggle) by submerging themselves in the rising waters of the Dam. © Pallav Thudgar.

19 March 2015

Ahead of World Water Day on 22 March, a number of Christian organizations are reflecting on the significance of water – a scarce resource threatened and denied to millions around the world.

Their reflections are inspired by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Lenten campaign, Seven Weeks for Water. The campaign, coordinated by the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), invites dialogue on water issues while focusing on the theme “Towards Water Justice: A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”. Each week, the website of the campaign publishes theological reflections on water.

“A correct biblical and theological stance towards water is required because it is the foundation of our home, the earth. And that home is not just a human habitat; it is a home that we share with all other creatures,” states Rev. Kuzipa Nalwamba from the United Church of Zambia, one of the contributors of Seven Weeks for Water campaign materials.

“For our good and the good of other creatures of the earth, we are called upon to care for its resources, especially water which is the life in all living things,” adds Nalwamba.

In another reflection authored by Advocate Rajendra Sail, a founding member of the Raipur Churches Development and Relief Committee, says, “From the people’s point of view, water is a birth-right.”

“It cannot be given or taken away by anyone, as it comes with being born, and is part of one’s being. Thus, it becomes one’s duty and responsibility to protect it, preserve it, share it, use it as per the basic-minimal needs, and to say NO to private control,” states Sail.

Among other contributors to Seven Weeks for Water are Dr Rommel Linatoc, Prof. Elias Wolff, Veronica Flachier, Prof. Chung Hyun Kyung and Prof. Susan L. Smith.

“This World Water Day, we are reminded of the efforts and projects carried out by our churches to ensure that our local communities have access to clean water,” said Olusesan Olukoya, executive director of the Centre for Rural Development and Community Transformation in association with the Preach Water Foundation, an NGO arm of the Presbyterian Church in Nigeria.

“Theological resources from the Seven Weeks for Water have encouraged us to continue our small initiatives that lie within our capacity to provide water to deprived communities,” added Olukoya.

Reflections on water issues

“This year’s Seven Weeks for Water reflections critique commodification and privatization of water and water bodies. Inspired by these materials, we wish to observe World Water Day in our church and different parishes affirming water as a gift from God,” said Angelious Michael of the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church in India.

“We will denounce commodification of water and will strive for water justice,” he added.

“We strongly believe that water is a gift from the God of life,” said Adebayo Anthony Kehinde from The Church of The Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Nigeria.

“The Seven Weeks for Water have proved to be a practical expression of global ecumenical accompaniment with churches in their struggle for water justice,” he said. “Our church has shared these resources with the ecumenical family here in Nigeria,” Kehinde added.

Kasta Dip, director of the India Peace Centre of the National Council of Churches in India, shared that the Seven Weeks for Water campaign was being connected to the significance of water as described in religious scriptures. These reflections, he said, emphasize how water has no substitute and how it is a religious obligation and social responsibility to save water and use it conscientiously.

Dinesh Suna, the EWN coordinator, said, “The Seven Weeks for Water is an effective instrument to generate interest among the WCC member churches towards World Water Day, which invariably falls during the Lenten period according to most Christian traditions.”

“This year’s theme for World Water Day, ‘water and sustainable development’, reinforces the importance of water as an integral part of the sustainable development process, affecting food, health, energy, education, gender and many more issues,” he said.

“This World Water Day also gives a boost to retain the specific goal (6) related to water and sanitation in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, due to be launched in September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly,” Suna added.

Official website of the World Water Day

Seven Weeks for Water 2015

More information on the Ecumenical Water Network