Water as part of our origin story, as element of chaos, danger, and destruction, and places of crossing and transition

Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love. It humbles my heart, for you are everywhere. — Hakim Sinai, Sufi poet

They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming. ― Hermann Hesse

All water is holy water. ― Rajiv Joseph

No water, no life. No blue, no green. – Sylvia Earle 

… again and again a new land edge emerges a new people emerges where race and class and death and life and water and tears and loss and life and death destruction and life and tears compassion and loss and a fire stolen bus rumbles toward you all directions wherever you are alive still
— Juan Felipe Herrera

  “The Water said to the dirty one, “Come here.” The dirty one said, “I am too ashamed.” The water replied, “How will your shame be washed away without me?”
— attributed to Rumi

SONGS about WATER:

Water Resources:


Water Themes in Scripture:


Mythology of Water:

Water —  Ralph Waldo Emerson
The water understands Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.


The Water Diviner— Dannie Abse  
Late, I have come to a parched land
doubting my gift, if gift I have,
the inspiration of water spilt,
swallowed in the sand.  
To hear once more water trickle,
to stand in a stretch of silence
the divining pen twisting in the hand:
sign of depths alluvial.  
Water owns no permanent shape,
sags, is most itself descending;
now, under the shadow of the idol,
dry mouth and dry landscape.  
No rain falls with a refreshing sound
to settle tubular in a well, elliptical in a bowl.
No grape lusciously moulds it round.  
Clouds have no constant resemblance to anything,
blown by a hot wind, flying mirages;
the blue background, light constructions of chance.  
To hold back chaos
I transformed amorphous mass—and fire and cloud—
so that the agèd gods
might dance and golden structures form.  
I should have built, plain brick on brick, a water tower.
The sun flies on arid wastes, barren hells
too warm and me with a hazel stick!  
Rivulets vanished in the dust long ago,
great compositions vaporized,
salt on the tongue so thick that drinking, still I thirst.  
Repeated desert, recurring drought,
sometimes hearing water trickle, sometimes not,
I, by doubting first, believe; believing, doubt.  

WATER REFLECTIONS

Water is the driving force of all nature. — Leonardo da Vinci

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. — Lao Tzu 

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. — Jacques Yves Cousteau

In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans. — Kahlil Gibran

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. – Heraclitus

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. — Isak Dinesen

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. — W. H. Auden 

A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us. – Lucy Larcom

Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. – Luna Leopold

Water is the mother of the vine, the nurse and fountain of fecundity, the adorner and refresher of the world. – Charles Mackay

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels it becomes the path itself! ― Mehmet Murat ildan

I believe that water is the closest thing to a god we have here on Earth. We are in awe of its power and majestic beauty. We are drawn to it as if it’s a magical, healing force. We gestate in water, are made of water, and need to drink water to live. We are living in water.― Alex Z. Moores

Water sustains all.– Thales of Miletus

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together. —Barry Lopez

Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong. – Lau Tzu

Water Water Water Wind Water
Juan Felipe Herrera

for New Orleans and the people of the Gulf Coast

water water water wind water
across the land shape of a torn heart
new orleans waves come louisiana the waves come
alabama wind calls alabama
and the roofs blow across red clouds
inside the divine spiral there is a voice
inside the voice there is light water wind fire smoke
the bodies float and rise  
kind flames bow down and
move across the skies
never seen blackish red bluish bruised
water rises houses fall
the child the elders the mothers underwater
who will live who will rise
the windows fill with the howling
where is the transfusion
where is the lamp
who who in the wet night jagged in the oil  
waves come the lakes loosen their sultry shape
it is the shape of a lost hand a wing
broken casinos in biloxi
become carnations across the sands
and the woman in the wheelchair
descends her last breath
a rose in the razor rain uptown on mansion hill
even the million dollar house bows
in the negative shade
someone is afloat
a family dissolves the nation disappears
neighborhoods fade across lost streets
the police dressed in newspapers flutter
toward nothingness moons who goes there  
under our floors filtered wooden stars
towels and glass gasoline coffins
the skin of trees and jalopy tires
fish bebop dead from the zoo
the dogs half drag
ward number nine
miss Symphony Spikes and mrs. Hardy Johnson
the new plankton new algae
of the nameless stroll in the dark
ask the next question about kindness
then there is a bus a taxi a hearse a helicopter a rescue team
a tiny tribe of nine year olds
separating the waters the oils and ashes
hear the song of splinters and blood
tree sap machine oil and old jazz trumpeters z’s and x’s
raffia skirts and jujube hats and
a father man holds the hand of his lover
saying take care of the children
let me go now let me stumble
stumble nowhere
drink this earth liquor
going in petals  
stadiums and looters celebrities cameras cases more water cases
again and again a new land edge emerges
a new people emerges where race and class
and death and life and water and tears and loss and life
and death destruction and life and tears
compassion and loss and a fire stolen bus rumbles
toward you all directions
wherever you are alive still

Meditations on lighting lamps: faith as seen and unseen, expected and surprising. Themes from Hebrews & Luke.

You are the community now. Be a lamp for yourselves. Be your own refuge. Seek for no other. All things must pass. Strive on diligently. Don’t give up. ― attributed to Buddha

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Sufi tell of disciples who, when the death of their master was clearly imminent, became totally bereft. “If you leave us, Master,” they pleaded, “how will we know what to do?” And the master replied, “I am nothing but a finger pointing at the moon. Perhaps when I am gone you will see the moon.” — As retold by Joan Chittister

Blessing of Light
—Jan Richardson

Let us bless the light
and the One who gives
the light to us.

Let us open ourselves
to the illumination
it offers.

Let us blaze
with its
generous fire.

Gospel Song: This Little Light of Mine (refrain)This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.

Questions posed by author Jan Richardson:

  • What do I hide, and why?
  • What parts of my created self have I sent underground?
  • Is there anything I’ve left too long in the dark?
  • Do I harbor any passivity that I need to … turn into persistence?

Lighting Lamps

Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy–all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside. ― Cassandra Clare

The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean. — Ovid

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul. ― Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993 

America is known as a country that welcomes people to its shores. All kinds of people. The image of the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus’ famous poem. She lifts her lamp and welcomes people to the golden shore, where they will not experience prejudice because of the color of their skin, the religious faith that they follow. — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

[T]he ground directly beneath the lantern is always the darkest. ― Yom Sang-seop

Being the light of the world is about being a broken, exploding, scarred star and shining a light of hope and inspiration to everyone around you. ― Ricky Maye

Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low. — Henry Ward Beecher


Gifts & How to Use Them

The old and honorable idea of ‘vocation’ is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted. — Wendell Berry

The atmosphere, the earth, the water and the water cycle – those things are good gifts. The ecosystems, the ecosphere, those are good gifts. We have to regard them as gifts because we couldn’t make them. We have to regard them as good gifts because we couldn’t live without them. — Wendell Berry

Treasure is stored in the ruined places. Do not break the hearts of the poor and heartbroken people. — Rumi

When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game. — Toni Morrison

On Faith

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. ― Rumi

As Brené Brown puts it, “I went to church thinking it would be like an epidural, that it would take the pain away . . . But church isn’t like an epidural; it’s like a midwife . . . I thought faith would say, ‘I’ll take away the pain and discomfort, but what it ended up saying was, ‘I’ll sit with you in it.'”― Rachel Held Evans

Because you are alive, everything is possible. ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it. — Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. — Corrie ten Boom

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some things have to be believed to be seen. — Madeleine L’Engle

The opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s indifference. — Elie Wiesel

Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. — Kahlil Gibran

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perhaps faith is so hard to define that it’s better to use examples, to share stories, than to write a lot of theoretical things about it (not that that has deterred many theologians). It’s the experience of real people in a real relationship with God that can help us to grasp the meaning of faith, more than a precise or scholarly theological definition. — Kathryn Matthews

The problem of the nature of faith plagues us all our lives. … How do we explain to ourselves the journey of getting from there to here, from unquestioning adherence to institutional answers, to the point of asking faithful questions? It took years before I realized that maybe it is belief itself, if it is real, that carries us there. Maybe if we really believe about God what we say we believe, there comes a time when we have to go beyond the parochialisms of law. Maybe, if we are to be really spiritual people, we can’t afford the mind-binding of denominationalism. In order to find the God of life in all life, maybe we have to be willing to open ourselves to the part of it that lies outside the circles of our tiny little worlds. — Joan Chittister

Reflections on giving plus meditations on Veterans Day

Excerpt from Second Inaugural Address
… public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation … Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully … With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. — Abraham Lincoln

Continue reading “Reflections on giving plus meditations on Veterans Day”

Reflections on mindfulness, walking on water, rescuing others or being rescued —themes from Matthew 14

There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. ― Desmond Tutu

AloneMaya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Continue reading “Reflections on mindfulness, walking on water, rescuing others or being rescued —themes from Matthew 14”

Scroll to top