Peace be with you!
Can you imagine having to walk a mile every morning to get water before breakfast? Most of us go about our day without taking much notice of a basic like water – well, until it is not there. We turn the faucet on, and water always comes out. However, despite water creating seventy percent of the earth, eight hundred million people around the world do not have access to clean water.
In Africa, a young girl gets up early to walk endless miles to a water pump where she fills her bucket. Then she walks back home to shower, cook, and clean. A few years ago, the young girls and women in Blantyre, Malawi would get water from a watering hole which carried disease and dirt before Charity: Water built six new wells and fixed ten others in the region.
Water means more than we can say or even understand. A human being can go three weeks without food, but only three days without water.
The simple element of water has a powerful meaning for God. In baptism, water is used to bless and mark a child or an adult with the cross. God claims us as his children when we are baptized.
In the gospel reading, John the Baptist is baptizing people in the Jordan River when Jesus comes to him to be baptized (Matthew 3:13). John is starstuck by Jesus and his request to be baptized because he knows who Jesus is. John says Jesus should baptize him, but Jesus explains he needs to be baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:14-15). Through baptism, Jesus shows submission to God the Father whom he will obey to the death and beyond. Jesus’ baptism serves as his consecration for his mission and ministry. Once he is baptized, Jesus goes into the wilderness and is tempted by the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11), and then he starts his public ministry.
Through his baptism, Jesus shows solidarity with sinners. Jesus comes into the world to save sinners, which includes all of us, sinners who are broken and cannot save themselves. We could never have a relationship with God, if Jesus did not conquer death on our behalf. Jesus stands with us in the darkness and shines his light to show us the way.
When Jesus comes out of the water after being immersed, a dove comes down as the Holy Spirit and a voice says, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17 NRSV). The Father singles out and names Jesus as his son. By God the Father naming him as his son, he calls Jesus to do his work in the world. In your baptism, too, God calls you by name and calls you to do ministry in your community, even as a child.
Just as the waters of baptism bring us new life and hope, Charity: Water gives individuals around the world hope by providing communities with clean water. This allows people to cook and clean with clean water. Children get to stay in school instead of missing school due to illness from the unclean water. The water systems Charity: Water builds in communities give local people jobs. Farmers can use the water systems to water their crops. Charity: Water trains local individuals to be mechanics to maintain and fix the water systems, supplying them with a steady income.
Charity: Water gives communities hope for the future. When we help communities to obtain clean water, we are giving individuals the opportunity to lead healthier lives and the ability to connect with the Lord. Water washes away the physical dirt and disease like baptism washes away our sins. Our baptisms give us hope through the forgiveness, love, and grace of Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for identifying Jesus Christ as your son. Help us to savor the simple element of water for everything we use and need it for. Lead us to tell the good news Jesus gives to us everyday. May you use our resources to bless others with clean water. Protect us from disease and illness and lead us to everlasting life. Thank you for adopting us as your children. Amen.
Photo Credit: Amber Sue Photography, www.ambersuephotography.com
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- List everything you use water for.
- How do you access water?
- Will you make a donation to Charity: Water?
- How do you remember your baptism? If you were an infant, does your family have a tradition to celebrate your baptism?