The Connection Between Water and Religion
Water is vital to life. Anywhere in the world, water is a basic thing and preserving it is crucial to life. When we say water is life, it is because not the plants or we can live without water. The same way water is important in life, it's an intrinsic part of religion. Different religions have a different connection with water. Like we will see below, water is seen as a medium linking or changing entirely different aspects of humanity into one coherent unit. Water plays a leading role in the rituals and practices of different religions.
Let's take a look at the connection between water and different religions.
In Christianity, water is linked to the ritual of baptism. It is used when a follower professes their faith by bathing in water, symbolizing rebirth and purity. One is born again after getting baptized with 'holy water' (rebirth). "Holy water" blessed by clergy is also used to bless churches, individuals, and homes. The water is seen as a way of removing uncleanness, whether moral or ritual.
Water in Hinduism is sacred. Any place with flowing water is seen as a sacred place. Hindus believe so much in spiritual and physical wellbeing through purity. In Hinduism, water is believed to hold cleansing and purifying powers. For this reason, water is used in so many rituals for cleansing purposes.
The holy book of the Quran has water mentioned several times. In the book, water symbolizes wisdom. Islam recognizes that water is an important part of life, one that we are also made up of, breathe, live and consume. In Islam, knowing this is being consciously aware of the self. It also represents purity. Water is used for body hygiene and spiritual purifications as well through daily ablutions.
In Judaism, Mikveh, also spelt Mikvah, or Miqwe, refers to water collection. The significance of water in this tradition comes in a pool of water where one bathes to restore their ritual purity. The Jewish code of law is called the Mishna, which elaborates the requirements for the quantity of water required for ritual cleansing and the ritually proper water. Men undergo a ritual bath in Mikvah every Friday and before all major festivals. Women use the Mikvah after childbirth, before their wedding and after menstruation.
In Animism, water is perceived as an entity. It is the religious entity connecting people and creating relationships. They also believe in the presence of water spirits. The water may also have supernatural powers of its own that can be protective, healing, or harmful. It is a belief in Animism that places, objects, and creatures possess a spiritual essence. According to them, everything is animated and alive, including water.
In Buddhism, water is a symbol of life. It is the purest form of food given free to everyone. They believe that water is a particular element in which nature carries everything all together. Buddhists use water to symbolize clarity, calmness, and purity. It is used as a reminder to keep the mind clean and attain a state of purity.
The significance of water in different religions can't be overstated. It isn't easy to find a religion that doesn't have a strong connection with water as it is life. In most religions, water is a sign of purity and is used in physical or spiritual purification. There are different types of religious waters in various religions, from holy, neutral, sacred, and even evil. Water uniquely manifests itself in every belief, and the connection between religions and water is also unique.