Genesis, the Biblical story of creation, refers to the existence of water before the creation of light;
" In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
This recognition of the importance of water appears symbolically in many religions and in our cultural life. In the Christian ceremony of Baptism the Christian sees himself reborn in faith. The Hindu and Muslim believe in the cleansing power of water. Macbeth tells us that "A little water cleans us of this deed" ( Macbeth Act 2 scene 2) in an echo of the biblical hand washing of Pilate.
These perceptions of water as an elemental substance that is fundamental to the world and our life comes from our deep natural connection with water. Our general hairlessness, compared to our Ape cousins, has been suggested to be a consequence of selection, during a period when we found our food in and around water. Perhaps our need for salt is a product of such a time.
This is mere speculation. What we do know is that, for animals like us, the need for water to drink is even more critical than the need for light, or even food.
Little wonder then that early man would have a special relationship with water as he developed his myths and ceremonies to placate the forces of the world. The symbolic significance given to water is founded in a deep recognition of this vital role and woven into the stories that early man must have told himself about the world and its wonders.
Stand with me, for a while, long ago on the shores of a great sea near where we have our home. We early humans have consciousness but without our current understanding of the mechanisms that drive the world. What wonder in those waters do we see? Do we recognise the beauty? Can we give those thoughts words? We would no doubt recognise the bounty and the power of the water. We might seek to placate it or look to it for favours like we would from some powerful leader.
Whatever the symbolism of water it has a real-world power; the power to give, or take, life.
When water overwhelms us with floods we die. When rains fail to come our harvests wither and we starve.
These are not just tales from ancient men. For many of our fellow humans around the world today the struggle with, or for, water is a major day-to-day concern. Clean drinking water is something we take for granted but , for many, simply obtaining enough water to survive, from one day to the next, is an all consuming task.
As a blogger living in Scotland, writing about the crisis of water around the world is a strange experience. The one thing that Scotland has an abundance of is water, and most Scots would happily trade some of their ever present rainfall for a little more sunshine. Scotland is wet. We long for the sun. Yet, without our rain, Scotland, and the rest of the UK, would not be such a green, generally pleasant and productive land.
It is easy when you live a life with plenty to forget that many live a life with little. On this Blog Action Day 2010 don't shut these people out. Think of those who live their lives without access to healthy water for drinking or who struggle to find water to grow food. Think how lucky you are. Think what you might do to ease their plight.
Posted for Blog Action day 2010