The primary objective of my thesis, The Spirituality of Water, is to explore the ways in which human beings have approached both the meaning and the nature of water using a spiritual perspective. This is shown by the unique and distinctive ways in which different cultures have continued to use water throughout their rituals and prayers as well as the increased understanding of the same within the field of metaphysics. This thesis claims that water can be a spiritual medium of communication in the concept of life’s sacred value based on the doctrines, practices, and beliefs adopted by different faiths within the society. Furthermore, water can be used to communicate the spiritual dimensions of healing, protection, and purification, in addition to the profoundness of redemption and suffering across human life.
What is it about water that calls out to us? Water–the formless potential out of which creation emerged–is the most receptive of the four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water). Throughout the ages, water has grown to symbolize many things to many cultures. Water is that from which all life springs, and in the same moment, it is the grave of all things. Water bathes us at birth and again at death. It is the elixir of life. Without water’s many anomalies, life would not be possible. It is essential for all creatures–the very lifeblood of Earth.
The field of science has assisted the human race in understanding the functions and properties of water as it prevails and dominates the nature around them. Ethics assist human beings in the development of decisions on how to effectively and substantially protect, distribute, and preserve the water resources that are located within the earth. In regards to the aspect of spirituality, water assists people in the identification of their core convictions regarding both its meaning and value. If people genuinely embrace the idea that water is associated with an intrinsic value, this would be portrayed through how human beings act based on the spirituality of respect that is geared towards the water resources of the earth. Conversely, when people often behave in ways that result in the overuse and degradation of water resources, they are bound to demonstrate an inner spirit founded on disrespect for the element of water despite claiming to understand its value.
By being attentive to how people act, water puts them on a closer level with their predominantly operating spirituality, resulting in an increased measure of awareness in the community regarding their inner spirit that helps them in the identification and enforcing of actions towards their convictions. In addition to helping people identify with their inner convictions, being aware of the human spirit also creates a substantial avenue for individuals to have a much deeper appreciation towards the array of meanings and understandings that other cultures have established an association with the natural world and on an extensive level. Such a resource is considered valuable as it assists people to embark on their individual reflection on their place in the natural world while exploring its meaning at the same time. Using an approach of remarkable and perhaps incomprehensible regularity across an array of cultures, water has predominantly been used as a medium of communication when it comes to the concept of life’s sacred value. Water has also been used to communicate the spiritual dimensions of healing, protection, and purification, in addition to the profoundness of redemption and suffering across human life.
The primary objective in this case is to explore the ways in which human beings have approached both the meaning and the nature of water using a spiritual perspective. This is shown by the unique and distinctive ways in which various religions have continued to use water throughout their rituals and prayers. The moral dilemma that we have is that although we are water–we drink it, we bathe in it, and we surround ourselves with it–unfortunately, we don’t consciously appreciate the spirituality of water.
Water in Ritual and Symbol
Human beings have been in awe of the element of water since time immemorial. Water’s characteristic movements, power, colors, and forms, continues to intrigue people across the globe. It draws the attention of human beings, fascinating and even spellbinding them. It is common for people to be mesmerized by waves that are swept by the wind or to languish by a bubbling brook. Simply by observing these, one may enter into a place of calm that evokes healing. The features of water that arouse human awe are primarily structured around the scientific aspects of the element, such as solvency, fluidity, and the hydrological cycle. Such characteristics also determine the reason why people have regarded the element of water as a sacred symbol.
Water is cleansing–spiritually as well as physically. Many religions will go through a water ritual–either a baptism to symbolize a cleansing of their spirit, or a ritual bath as a first step in preparing themselves for worship.
The Symbol of Life
Water was deeply respected and revered in the past, where it was seen as the fundamental fluid to all stages of life i.e. conception, birth, growth, and sustenance, and to the healing of disease. Today, water is a powerful element that is often underappreciated, taken for granted, and underestimated. For those of us living in the Western world we have only to turn on a tap and we have clean water at our beck and call. Yet, a mother living in Nairobi that needs water for her child knows just how precious a cup of water is. A family who is still putting their lives back together after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana may never look at a rain cloud the same way again. Immigrants fleeing from Haiti often face the rages of the ocean in tiny boats not meant for travel on the open waters.
Evolutionists believe that our lives began in the seas. Creationists believe that we are born of Adam and Eve, whom God created on Earth. Whichever belief to which one subscribes, it cannot be argued that water was with us from the moment of conception. Water united the sperm and egg from which we were formed. Water protected us in the aqueous medium within our mother’s womb. Water was the gushing flood that released us into a world surrounded by water.
We are water. Water comprises approximately 75% of our body–the same percentage as water is to the surface of the earth; 95% of our brain, 90% of our lungs, and 83% of our blood are water. Our blood even contains roughly the same percentage of salt as the ocean, where the first life forms evolved. They eventually brought onto the land a self-contained store of the sea water to which we are still connected chemically and biologically. (Al Gore 99-100)
The fluid and refreshing quality of water have often been attributed to the element’s power of life in itself. For numerous years, most indigenous communities have understood water in this sense. There is even some beautifully crafted music that is sacred among the people of the North American tribes that are geared towards celebrating water in its life-giving power. From the Christian faith, it is clearly stated in Genesis, the first book of the Holy Bible, “…And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (New King James Version, Genesis 1:2). Subsequently, the Bible says, “Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures…’ ” (New King James Version, Genesis 1:20).
In the Islamic faith, water is also considered to be the origin of life. With regards to the readings from the Qur’an (25:54), it is through water that God would embark on the creation of human beings. It is also imperative to note that Islam teaches that the throne of God was upon the water at the time He was creating the earth, “And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days–and His Throne had been upon water–that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed”. “But if you say, ‘Indeed, you are resurrected after death,’ those who disbelieve will surely say, ‘This is not but obvious magic.’” (Qur’an, 11:7).
Symbol of Healing, Protection, and Purification
The Hindus perceive River Ganges as a place where the believers can attend with the objective of washing away their spiritual impurities in addition to being a symbol of life. The Ganges, which represents the embodiment of Ganga, the goddess, creates the opportunity for people to draw closer to God as the sacred life source. The Jewish tradition is also structured around gathering its flowers with the objective of allowing them to cleanse their bodies. The Jews immerse themselves in a mikvah bath–a water ritual used to achieve purity. Muslims use water to engage in wudu–the process of ablution–a washing or cleansing of oneself for religious observance. These examples are merely but a few of the numerous ones adopted and practiced across various faiths in the world. As with the case of fluidity, people have realized that solvency–the characteristic element of water–has a cleansing power that extends beyond the physical level of an individual to their spirit.
A Symbol of Moving to Redemption
The seasonal water cycle of rain that creates floods, drought, and constant rains have all been used by religious traditions in addition to the rainbow and the life-giving aspect of water as a symbol of the separation of humankind from God and the subsequent redemption by God. From the Christian texts and doctrines, it was during Noah’s time that God resorted to sending a flood that would destroy the land because “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (New King James Version, Genesis 6:1). After Noah was faithful to God, he was rewarded with a covenant with God and dry land. Since then, the rainbow–the symbol of hope in many cultures– has continued to remind the world and its believers of this covenant.
The ancient Hebrews embarked on their depiction of separation to redemption by using the water cycle. After the Israelites ceased their idolatry, God blessed them with a great rain, “Then Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.’ So
Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’ So he went up and looked, and said, ‘There is nothing.’ And seven times he said, ‘Go again.’ Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ So he said, ‘Go up, say to Ahab, ‘prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.” (New King James Version, 1 Kings 18: 41-45).
Muslims use water as a life symbol of the same journey of separation to redemption, where the believers will experience a paradise garden that is characterized by springs of cool and fresh drinking water and “a gushing fountain.” (Qur’an, 88:11-12).
Review of Literature
Water as used in Different Faiths
In various religions, water is considered a purifier. Among these religious faiths are Taoism, Christianity, Wicca, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and Hinduism (Green 204). In the religious doctrines of Christianity, the believers and followers are immersed in water in a central sacrament and ritual that is known as baptism. This practice is also adopted into other religions. In Sikhism, it is called Amrit Sanskar, in Islam, Ghusl, and in the Judaic religion, mikvah. In yet other religions, there is a ritual that is performed to the death using a bath of pure water, such as in Judaism and in Islam. In the Islamic world, the renowned daily prayers done five times can often be conducted after a believer has completely and substantially washed certain body parts that are given the term wudu–the Islamic purity ritual (Ghauri, 321).
Water in Hinduism
Within the Hindu community, water is held dearly, considering that it is perceived to have spiritually cleansing powers. This makes water sacred, especially when it is sourced from the rivers. In particular, some of the sacred rivers within the Hindu community are: Kaveri, Ganges, Godavari, and the Sindhu (Kent and Kassam 35). Other rivers that are of significant sacred importance within the Hindu community are the Narmada, the Sarasvati, and the Yamuna Rivers. Hindus share an array of beliefs, such as avoiding pollution while also striving to achieve purity. Water is an integral element that plays a vital role in promoting almost all the ceremonies and rites of the Hindu community. Since pilgrimage plays a crucial aspect for the Hindus, most of the religion’s holy places are located within the mountains, seashores, and on the banks of coasts and rivers. It is also imperative to note that the sites of convergence are especially sacred and carry a considerable measure of significance within the Hindu religion, such as areas between land and various rivers (Narayanan, 87).
In the sacred caste’s water distinctions, all sins fade away. The Hindus have a major pilgrimage and festival known as the Kumbh Mela, whereby all the followers and devotees visit four different places at intervals of three years. The places where the pilgrimage is held are Pragya, Hardwar, Ujjain, and Nasik (Singh, 251). Such places are believed to be the avenues where the drops of the immortality nectar, amrita, fell on earth following the unfolding of a significant conflict according to the Hindu doctrines and beliefs. The significance of water within the Hindu community can also witnessed from the fact that these individuals bury their dead near rivers. In some cases, there is an earth pot placed around the corpse with a small hole drilled on it and subsequently filled with water. In the Hindu community, the grieving son is obliged to go around the pyre–a heap of combustible material used in the burning of a corpse– while carrying the pot. The dripping pot water forms a line around the corpse. This ensures that the dead one’s soul does not return as a ghost (Russo and Smith 307). After the deceased has been cremated, the ashes are then collected on the third day. On the tenth day or after it, these ashes are then cast into the holy river (Russo and Smith 307).
During spring, the Ganges River’s water volume increases due to the melting snow of the Himalayas Mountains. The increased flow of water fosters the development of life around the vicinity as flowers and trees blossom and crops grow. Such a life cycle is perceived to be a metaphor across the Hindu community (Seaward, 103). In this regard, water itself is a representation of the substratum that is yet to manifest. It is the source from which all manifestations emanate. Water is also considered by the Hindus to be a giver of life, a purifier, as well as a destroyer of evil. It is crucial to note that both milk and water within the Hindu religion are regarded as the symbols of fertility, and their absence results in sterility and bareness which eventually facilitate death. Evidently, water is a significantly important element within the Hindu community as it is not only associated with being the source of all manifestations that give life and beauty but also those that result in the end of life (Ghauri, 322).
Water in Judaism
Ritual washing has its roots in the Hebrew Bible, and it is further explored and expounded upon through two sacred books, Talmud and Mishnah. These two texts have been codified using an array of Jewish traditions and codes. The customs of ritual washing in this religion are predominantly and adamantly upheld by the Orthodox Judaic community. The intention behind ablution–ritual washing–is in Judaism is the restoration or maintenance of a state of ritual purity. The Torah contains its origins. This is mainly enhanced in two forms. The first is the netilat yadayim–the taking up of the hands. This practice entails the use of a cup to wash one’s hands. The second form, the tevilah, is the immersion of the full body into a mikveh, which is not merely a pool of water; it must be composed of stationary, not flowing, waters and must contain a certain percentage of water derived from a natural source, such as a lake, an ocean, or rain. These ablutions–the act of washing oneself–can include washing both hands and feet or total immersion which must be done in living water such as “the sea, a river, a spring or in a mikveh”. In Temple times priests, converts to Judaism as part of the initiation rites, and women seven days after their menstrual cycle practised. Priests had to clean their hands and feet prior to engaging in services in the Temple. This ritual is also performed before and after meals and on other occasions (Biale, 316)).
The story of the Great Flood is told in Genesis chapters 6-8 of the Holy Bible. God destroyed humanity by sending a great flood, where Noah, his family and a pair of each animal were the only ones saved. After this event God promised he would never again destroy the earth again and sent the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. While a story of a Great Flood is also found in other cultures such as the Australian Aborigines and some Pacific Islanders, the Israelites’ story is different to these because it emphasizes the ethical demands of God. Noah survives the flood, which is a divine punishment due to his moral worthiness.” The Flood represented the washing away of the world’s sins so that we could start afresh. This is echoed in Christianity by Christ’s death and resurrection, which eradicates sin so that nothing will stand in the way of man and God (Sittser, 65).
The water of “the Red Sea” is significant in Jewish history because its parting by Moses was a miraculous event at the beginning of “the Exodus” which enabled the Israelites to escape from the Egyptian army that was after them. Moses was allowed by God to part the sea so in an effort to save the Israelites, where they could walk to the other side on dry land, while the Egyptians drowned as the sea came together again. This miracle was a reward for the faith of Moses and the Israelites, God’s chosen people. The parting and crossing of the Red Sea shows that God has power over nature, even the mighty oceans. Water here is powerful not only as an instrument of God for punishment of the Egyptians but also as a blessing for the Israelites(Biale 324).
Water in Christianity
The sacred book of the Christian community is the Holy Bible. Numerous biblical accounts surround water, including the Great Flood, Noah’s Ark, and the parting of the Red Sea, just to name a few. Moses and his people wandered in the desert for 40 years, but there are few religious stories about being lost for years at sea. The desert was symbolic of the plight of the Israelites. They endured suffering due to their disobedience and lack of belief in God’s word, which brought on the wrath of God. Conversely, water was symbolic of life–particularly, everlasting life in the presence of God–the reward for their belief and faithfulness (Hossain, 1439).
In the book of Genesis we find that “the Spirit of God” moved over the surface of the watery depths before creation began, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (New King James Version, Genesis 1:1-2). Jesus also references the spirituality of water in the Gospel of John, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (New King James Version, John 4:14)
Christianity’s initiation ritual recognizes baptizing or sprinkling water as a sign of cleansing the soul in Christ’s blood. In the Israelites’ symbolism, baptism has its origins, whereby they were led by Moses out of slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea and from the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan. Jesus commanded his disciples to go and baptize in the name of “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” after his resurrection, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (New King James Version, Matthew 28:19-20). Baptism can be recognized as a sign of liberation from “the oppression of sin” that separates us from God or as a person’s declaration of belief and faith in Christ and it serves as a welcome sign into the Church. Another important significance of water for Christianity is the living water that Jesus described
Himself as. John 4: 1-42 narrates of Jesus and a Samaritan woman to whom he offers living water so that she will never thirst again; in other words, eternal life through Him (Sittser, 71).
In Scripture, water is mentioned severally. Holy water is water which is blessed for use in certain rites. It is used at blessings, dedications, burials, and even exorcisms. Jesus began his ministry after being baptized by “John the Baptist” in the “River Jordan”. Afterward, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him…” (New King James Version, Luke 3:22). In the “Gospel of John”, Jesus tells the people, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.” (New King James Version, John 4:14). The water that Jesus gives the individual would become a spring of water inside of him that wells up to eternal life. Again in the Gospel of Saint John, Jesus tells the multitude, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (New King James Version, John 7:38). The book of Ezekiel states, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your idols”. (New King James Version, Ezekiel 36:25).
Through these Bible verses, among others, it is clear that water is symbolically used as a cleansing agent for the believers and followers of Christ. An evaluation of the Christian church portrays its well-established spirituality of water. From the brief reflection on the spirituality of water in the Christian faith, it is evident that there is an exhaustive preclude to the discussion between the Bible and water. When it comes to the Christian Church, water is considered to be living water. This is a concept that is structured around an array of implications. Between water and life, there is a considerably strong connection across the Christian faith; there is no life without water (Sittser 49). The highly developed human sense for water emphatically underlines this point, considering that the inherent need for water is absolute. Similarly, in the same way that human beings thirst for water, so does the environment also yearn for the same with the objective of healing its numerous maladies. The concept of living water is derived from a strong biblical basis. This is evident from the story of creation as depicted in the book of Genesis, where water is seen to be the facilitating factor that brings forth living creatures. Such an argument forms the central Christian idea regarding water being life-giving. In another case, the Psalmist sings of the trees that are planted by the living water and which are resting but also still waters. It is also crucial to note that despite the fact that “the waters of the Red Sea” or the Sea of the Reeds resulted in the demise of the Egyptians, such an act is significantly commemorated the drama of God extending His miraculous hand in pursuit of offering salvation for “the Hebrews” (Hossain, 1441).
The spirituality of water in the Christian faith is structured around two of the major stories from the two passages in the New Testament. The first passage comes from John 4:7-15, which narrates how Christ came across a woman at noon who was by the well and asked her for a drink. Jesus told her if only she had known the gift of the Lord, He would quench her thirst for eternity. Jesus also proceeds to state that every individual who drinks the well’s water ought to be thirsty again, but anyone who drinks off the living water ought never to thirst (Peprah et al., 7). The reason is that the water that Jesus gives is that which becomes like “a gushing spring of water” inside of the receivers, which proceeds up to eternal life (Schreiter 86). Upon receiving this living water, people’s lives are significantly transformed, and they are also in a position to influence the change in others’ lives as well. Living water can be equated to salvation which guarantees eternal life by accepting Jesus Christ as the personal savior of one’s life. This is the reason why living water is often featured in Christians’ prayers with the objective of ensuring that they do not become desiccated believers (Gavrilyuk and Coakley, 119).
The second passage in the New Testament emanates from the process of Jesus’s Baptism. During this period, John the Baptist exclaims, “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (New King James Version, Mark 1:8). Through this passage, people can see that the living water is at the core of baptism as a sacrament, and it is this water that cleanses people from their sins while, at the same time, it brings new life, as John the Baptist preached (Kwon 48). On this note, it can be said that it is through baptism–conducted using water–that the believers of Christ get an opportunity to die of their old life and rise into a new one which is dominated and steered by Christ through these living waters. In some cases, Christians make relevant preparations, both physical and spiritual, with the objective of attending pilgrimages, and renewing the spirit, while also employing the disciplines of study, prayer, and worship. These individuals take the journeys towards their local streams, ponds, or lakes and even often use the baptismal fonts that have been established in front of some churches (Insoll, 53).
Water in Islam
The Islamic faith also places importance on water in their cleansing and purifying ritual. Prior to approaching God in prayer, Muslims must ensure that they are ritually pure. In most mosques the ablutions are found outside the walls. However, some have a courtyard which contains a pool of clear water in the center, but Fountains that act as symbols of purity are also sometimes found inside mosques. The importance that water plays in Islamic rituals is evidenced in the Koran: “O you who believe, when you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hand to the elbows; rub your head and your feet to the ankles.” (5:7-8)
The Islamic religion defines water as a source of purification, sustenance, and life-giving. Such a perception of water plays a crucial role across the society, considering that Islam is one of the renowned religions globally, and it emanated from the Arabian deserts with the objective of conveying its divine revelation of the Qur’an, Islam’s last testament, in addition to completing the former prophets’ message. Water, according to the Islamic religion, is the origin of life and the avenue through which man was created by Allah (25:54). The Qur’an emphasizes the central aspect of water when it states, “People are made from water and every other living thing” (21:30). Moreover, the centrality of water is also evident in the texts: “The Throne of Allah was upon the waters” (11:7). This also shows that water existed as the primary element long before the earth and the heavens did.
The benevolence of Allah is depicted throughout the Qur’an, especially from the waters of the fountains, rivers, and the rain. The Qur’an states, “He sends saving rain down for them especially when they have lost hope while also spreading abroad His mercy.” (25:48). Muslims are reminded regularly it is solely through Allah they are able to get sweet water. The Qur’an states that one ought to consider the water consumed (56:68-70). From this verse, it is evident that believers are only but guardians of what Allah has decided to offer them, through his benevolence and mercy, and that they ought not to take the blessing for granted nor His law into their hands(56:68-70).
Ablutions and Facing Allah in Purity
In one of the Hadiths, the Prophet Muhammad tells his companions, “Cleanliness is only but half of faith.” Renowned and often recited words are a depiction of the integrality of cleanliness and purity within the Muslim faith while also portraying the role played by water through the religion of Islam (Naseri and Tamam 23). It is an obligation for each believer to ensure that they embark on purification through ablution before engaging in their prayer ritual, considering that when prayers are conducted in a state that is not pure, they are not valid. It is inevitable, therefore, for Muslims to ensure that they engage in the appropriate ablutions before each of their five daily prayers in addition to an intensified ritual, especially during the special occasions. Furthermore, the Hadiths explain how these ablutions should be conducted by expounding on how different body parts ought to be washed, including the head, feet, and even the nostrils. The other information included in the water that has to be used to facilitate the ablutions which are the pure mutlaq; this means that the intended water ought not to have been mixed with anything else. This results in consideration of water running from taps, streams, rivers, seas, oceans, and even lakes to be pure hence their suitability to be used for ablutions (Ahmed, 6).
Water is a mysterious substance that acts as a gift considering that it not only holds but it supports life. This is an ideology that is promoted by some of the major religions across the globe, including Christianity and Islam. To these and other religions of the world, water is considered a source of life in addition to playing an array of roles that result in the purification of an individual or their baptism, a symbolic representation of a person’s transformation in identity (Kearney and Rizo-Patron 74). On the surface, water is perceived to be a source of food, an avenue for recreation, a means of transportation, and also an element of cleansing, initiation, and purification in various cultures. Nevertheless, with a deeper analysis into this precious element known as water, one can see its sacred nature primarily because it holds life. This directly applies to the field of metaphysics especially based on the aspects of identity, necessity, causality, and possibility, being, and change, among others. For instance, when one puts a seed into the soil, and they do not water it, the seed will not germinate, and it will die; this is a vivid depiction of how the spirit of water fosters the production of life (Gavrilyuk and Coakley, 104).
Based on the perspective of spirituality, the world is perceived to be an irregular ball that has been immersed in water, especially through various spiritual networks. The anatomy of almost all living beings consists of water which fosters their functionality. The atmospheric places also have a considerable measure of water in their composition, either in gaseous or vapor form. This means that water is the reconnecting element between society’s materialistic life and the inherent spiritual world. For human beings to be the co-creators of the world, they are obliged to adhere to the fundamental phenomena of nature in which water acts as the primary element to consider and study extensively. Through all the living organisms, there is a spirit of life that travels and deposits active materials. These materials offer life in addition to the potential and the sacredness that a living organism holds. It can be deduced that water facilitates the aspect of interdependence in its natural phenomenon. Such an argument is backed by the evidence that a water body connects continents through conventional systems. Water connects plants with animals and mountains with valleys through the increased sharing of both the products and the byproducts between each entity (Insoll, 36).
The sacred nature of water is backed by an array of sources, especially religious teaching and doctrines. Water is not only a natural resource but also one that is associated with unique value and a measure of consciousness. Such traits enable the element to determine the imbalances across the life-sustaining systems and either correct them or create an avenue that requires human intervention. Through water, human beings are spiritually and physically connected to both the living and the non-living beings that have existed on earth since eternity past. It is through spirituality that the revelation that all material beings are associated with some specific form of life in the spiritual sense that works in them. Considering that spirits are living entities, they are bound to transfer from one material to the other, and in the process, they leave and correct different levels of energy that are transported away by water with the objective of healing our planet and the cosmos. For this reason, among others, we ought to avoid encroaching on water grounds (Kent and Kassam 12).
The current developmental policies that have been embraced across the globe depict water as a commodity that ought to be subjected to commercial activities with the objective of benefiting a few individuals within the society. Such an approach ought to be changed. Since nature provides it freely, water ought to be a right for every individual. This calls for the involvement of governments to invest in external resources with the objective of ensuring that water is evenly distributed across societies. Perhaps even more importantly, natives ought to be actively involved in the management of the water bodies that are within their vicinity for the future sustainability of their respective communities (Shaw and Francis, 80).
Based on the contemporary world of metaphysics, the element of water has fostered growth across the society as it attracts the formation of towns and cities around waterways including lakes and coasts. In the traditional African society, people identified with the water bodies as their primary source of spirituality. For instance, during the colonial era in East Africa, specifically Lake Victoria, the water body was then referred to by the locals as Nalubaale, which translates to the home of spirituality (Sittser 96). The water bodies were protected and owned by the local communities, and people worshiped them freely. As a result, the activities related to water were conducted based on the cultural beliefs and customs of the local people. After western civilization entered the African region, the attitudes of the natives were transformed in addition to their absolute rights to water bodies. In turn, there was new governance that changed the relationship between the natives and water as it became a commodity that would be subjected to taxes. The introduction of commercial fishing resulted in the establishment of corporations that were aimed at processing and supplying the fish in exchange for some form of compensation. Western religious teachings eradicated and demonized the predominant cultural practices, which changed the indigenous attitude as well as moral responsibility toward a water body being a sacred entity. These religious teachings associated the indigenous cultural practices with primitivism and Satan. This created an avenue for the paradigm shift of the predominant religion, language, and lifestyle.
The Role Played by Christianity in Promoting Professional Metaphysics
Christians form a significant portion of the global population, and their beliefs and doctrines, especially regarding the spirituality of water, have been associated with a profound impact on the field of metaphysics. Specifically, the field of metaphysics is targeted when it comes to the concepts of the nature of reality, space and time, necessity, causality, and identity, among other fields. Christians used special resources for worship, study, and holy conversation. Such practices, among others, create a substantial platform for embarking on an earth-based spirituality of water in a considerably practical way. With spirituality comes action. Christians have embarked on participation in environmental activities by taking care of water sources and using water effectively, sustainably, and reliably for the sake of future generations.
Current events such as tsunamis, tornadoes, and other natural calamities result in the demise of countless individuals and the destruction of insurmountable property. It is therefore imperative to prioritize the spiritual aspect of living waters for protection against such situations.
The Role Played by Islam in Promoting Professional Metaphysics
The Islamic contribution to the field of professional metaphysics is structured around the aspects of knowing, being, and identity. There are two processes of purification according to the Islamic doctrine that aims to cleanse the body and the soul of an individual who identifies with the faith. These two forms of purification are categorized into the minor, wudu, and the major, which is the Ghusl. By performing the minor form of purification, an individual manages to get their sins washed away as with each water droplet, the devil flees. The description of this process explores the autonomy of the human body in such a way that one would perceive the sin to be a tangible thing. As such, sin is described as an insidious devil that clings onto the life and body of the believer, and it is only through water that it can be chased away. After a believer has thoroughly washed their face, they eradicate any sin that they may have contemplated with their eyes according to the hadiths, then the believer proceeds to wash their hands, and all the sins they wrought are effaced, and when they wash their feet the same happens to the sins that they had walked on (Ghauri 13). Eventually, the use of water enables a Muslim to come out as a fully cleansed individual. When it comes to the major purification, the Ghusl–he cleansing of the body–applies extensively while targeting impurities. Such a cleansing approach occurs before one adopts Islam, during childbirth, after death, and when a lady is menstruating, in addition to during the crucial celebrations such as the Hajj.
Summary and Conclusions
Water is an interesting part of spiritual beliefs and practices. It is an essential element to human, animal, and plant life and is to be respected. Water has been referred to as “nature’s universal solvent”. It is needed by all life forms and ecologies, and by every major sustaining activity and industry of mankind. It can be soft and nurturing or hard and destructive. Its mood flows just like its waves. It is essential to our lives and to our souls. Our essence is water, yet we fail to appreciate the efficacy and sacredness of water.
Over the years, access to water for consumption has increased across almost every part of the globe, although there is a significant portion of human beings that lack access to safe water.
While water has been a crucial aspect of ritual and religious symbolism, most individuals across the globe’s religions do not necessarily respect water as an element that is finite in the form of a natural resource. On this note, most of the individuals who associate with a certain religion–as well as those who claim to be non-religious–ought to be subjected to an inner spiritual conversion with the objective of ensuring that people appreciate water as a source of life more. This calls for having a change of heart and casting a grateful look upon the creation. At this point, people ought to allow their hearts to share the same wounds like those of nature by embarking on the reality, thereby creating grounds for making a personal and a strong commitment towards investing their time, resources, and efforts into healing nature.
Among the approaches that can be used is the Christian one, especially since these believers use special resources for worship, study, as well as a holy conversation. As a result, this creates their basis for integrating the living water of the Gospel in addition to that of the spirit, and it depicts the common life in the society, which is that of dry barrenness that is subsequently followed by floods. Such practices, among others, create a substantial platform for embarking on an earth-based spirituality of water in a considerably practical way. With spirituality, there comes action, and Christians have embarked on participation in environmental activities by taking care of water sources and using water effectively, sustainably, and reliably for the sake of future generations. The other approach is that which is promoted by the Hindu religious doctrines, whereby water is a significantly important element within the Hindu community as it is not only associated with being the source of all manifestations that give life and beauty but also those that result in death. This life cycle is perceived to be a metaphor across the Hindu community.
There exists an agency that aims to separate human intentions from the basis of what life ought to be. It is important for society to institutionalize spirituality as a unique and different entity from both governance and religion. With the adoption of such a spiritual system, people would be in a position to listen attentively to the voice of water. Such an approach would combat the currently upheld but ineffective strategy of listening to water solely because of the significant costs incurred to life and infrastructure as nature violently strikes the society through storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Through faith institutions, human beings are held accountable for managing and maintaining nature that was created by a divine being.
Nevertheless, with each passing day, human beings continue to interact with the demonized spiritual elements of the earth, including water. Such are the water-like spirits of life and ones with which people ought to be focusing on reconciling. In this regard, people are required to awaken their silent energies by embarking on the unity of the global community with the objective of living in harmony with nature and its associated spirits of life. By adopting such a strategy, the contemporary world would be in a position to reconnect with the value of water as well as nature as a whole. This would not only benefit humanity but also foster increased well-being across an interconnected global community.
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