11 December 2019
WATER, WIND and FIRE
Just thinking.... Water, air are both symbols of the holy spirit. Jesus uses wind/air /spirit to emphasise the freedom of God to act in God's world. “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit “ [John 3:8] . Water is used is the same way in the conversation about Jesus being the living water with the Samaritan woman in John 4 “ The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life”.
[Living water was the water that bubbles up from the ground or flows from a spring not the stored water or stagnant pool.]
Water flows and brings life, it also can drown us. The wind can bring fresh air or be a great storm that destroys. There is an ambiguity in both. Fire is also used as a symbol of God's freedom - fire is the energy that is used to warm us and cook our food, but also can easily rage out of our control.
At present there are discussions in our country about water and energy. Neither can be ultimately owned, but it is the control and use of these vital essentials that are in dispute in many places. The Biblical lands knew a lot about water and the need to share this precious resource. Treaties, covenants, were made and have always been made, about who could use certain wells and water rights were granted to those who dug the well.
Genesis 21: 22 ..has the story of Abimelech, leader of the Philistines dealing with the new immigrant Abraham, and asks Abraham “....now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but as I have dealt loyally with you, you will deal with me and with the land where you have resided as an alien.” So then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized, and Abraham and Abimelech, a made a covenant and Abraham gave a gift “.. in order that you may be a witness for me that I dug this well.....and that place was called Beer-sheba; because there both of them swore an oath.”
Today, where various nations control international rivers, there are tragic consequences when water is withheld, causing droughts and famine or floodgates are opened [often without warning] causing death and displacement downstream. If India goes ahead with its river linking project on the Brahmaputra [which originates as the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Chinese held Tibet], two thirds of Bangladesh may not have the recurring flooding which they have when India releases water down the rivers each year but will now risk being turned into desert. The interests of each party are often in conflict and treaties about the use of water in the river are essential for the life and well being of millions of people. In the middle east the Israeli control over the only water supply for some Palestinian territories has caused immense hardship when at times to flow has been withheld for political reasons.
We are fortunate to be in a country where rain is plentiful and clean water is available for growing crops and giving energy. We don't need a treaty with another country upstream. It is there for all to have life and anything, whether it be by pollution or if only one group of people are able to benefit from its use to the disadvantage of the good of the whole community, needs to be carefully monitored.
We all need water to live and at the end we do not control the rainfall and the springs, they are God's gifts for us. Maybe we sometimes need reminding to be thankful for what we have to share in this wet green land and care for the resources in our stewardship, creatively and well.
May the road rise to meet you, the wind be always at your back and the rain fall softly on your fields and God bless you with love to share.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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