Religion and its connection with water
Water is critical to life. People worldwide drink it, build cities around it, and use it for cleansing. Experts contend that man cannot live without water. While the importance of water is recognized universally, each religion and culture possess its way of symbolizing that significance. In many beliefs and religions, water plays a vital function in practices and rituals. Almost all the major religions of the world mention water and its importance.
Christians view water as vital because it is linked to several rituals. Even though the ceremonies are distinct between the several denominations, they use water to welcome people into the religion via baptism. In ancient Christian societies, people referred to waters of rivers and streams as living, and it was the most preferred for Baptism rituals. There are also instances when water is used for purification in the Bible, which means it was used to remove uncleanness, such as those linked with the touching of corpses, childbirth, and menstruation. Further, religious leaders such as priests were asked to purify themselves with water before entering into a Temple or performing a sacrifice. Christians also use holy water to bless themselves (Oestigaard, 2017). For example, Roman Catholics have a stoup in which they dip their fingers as they enter the church to bless themselves. The water that Catholics use to bless themselves or for baptism is known as Holy water.
On the other hand, there is a connection between Jews and water. They have a mikve, a freshwater pool that they use for purification (Troster, 2017). Before ascending to the Temple, purification was critical, and it meant that after dipping into the mikve, a person became pure and could proceed to the Temple. Today, Jews use the pool for Shabbat preparation and family purification. Every month, Jewish women purify themselves after menstruation in these pools before reuniting with their husbands. Further, since ancient times, the dipping ritual symbolized regeneration
In Buddhism, water is a symbol of life. It symbolizes calmness, clarity, and purity (Buddhaghosa, 2020). The enlightenment path of a Buddhist encompasses purifying the spirit, body, and mind. They believe water is used to clean dirt. Some branches of Buddhism, such as Varrayana, give water to the altar in silver cups. Buddhists sometimes believe that water can also be home to subjugated demons where a master utilized religious constructs and water to expel evil spirits. Also, Buddhists believe that the hot springs that Gurus have blessed’ can cure mental, physical, and spiritual illnesses.
Muslims believe that understanding and life emanated from water, a divine gift symbolizing wisdom that quenches the soul. Islam also believes that water purifies. It enables people to take care of their physical bodies and carry out spiritual purification via ablutions. According to some great Islam teachers, performing ablutions assists Muslims to chase away vanity. It also symbolizes quickening and rebirth. Water in this religion is viewed as a gift belonging to everyone. The commodity is scarce, which means that it must be used diligently. The holy Quran states that Allah made everything from water, meaning that Islam believes that water is life. Further, every mosque has washrooms where people perform wazu, which encompasses washing hands and feet. This is purification before entering the mosque for prayers. Since Islam believes that this commodity is scarce, they recommend giving water during the holy month of Ramadhan. By giving out water, people become closer to Allah. Also, they believe one is forgiven their sins if they are charitable with water, even if it means giving the precious commodity to a dog.
Hinduism believes in attaining their spiritual and physical welfare by accomplishing purity. In this religion, water is sacred because it possesses cleansing and purifying capabilities. Buddhists believe that water is life
In conclusion, water has many roles in different religions. It is used to perform religious rituals. Each religion has its manner of symbolizing the value of water. People believe that certain water bodies or springs have the power to heal and overcome death. Each religion has several beliefs, but the link between water and purification seems universal in all religions. Other people like Muslims believe that water is the genesis of life and it should be shared with everybody and never wasted.
Buddhaghosa, B. (2020). The path of purification: Visuddhimagga. Pariyatti.
Oestigaard, T. (2017). Holy water: the works of water in defining and understanding holiness. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 4(3), e1205.
Troster, L. (2017). Jewish teachings on water. GreenFaith: Water Shield. Available at www. faithinwater. org/uploads/4/4/3/0/44307383/jewish_teachings_on_water-greenfaith. pdf (accessed June 2, 2017).
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