Day 2: The Elixir of Life

I read somewhere that at least half of all the poems that have appeared in The New Yorker contain some image related to water. It’s true of the most recent issue I’m looking at: two poems are published in it, one of which is entitled “An Essay on Clouds.”

For a while I found this peculiar. But the more I thought about the plethora of water images, the more sense it made. Much of the known universe exists without water. But life can’t. Not just human life but any form of life as we know it. There’s nothing more fundamental to life than water. And that’s why water has always been such a sacred religious symbol—of breath, of purity, of abundance.

We know this deep inside ourselves. We know that up to sixty percent of our bodies are water. We know that all that is naturally green around us is green because of water. We know that when we thirst, we thirst at the most basic level for water. We know that we and the earth will die without it.

But we forget all that because in the developed world it usually appears before us so effortlessly. We hardly sense how at risk it—and we—are. The very elixir of life at enormous risk of scarcity, toxicity. Time to reclaim the fundamentals. Time to wash ourselves of our indolence. Time to refresh our devotion. Time to cherish that without which little we love would be.

Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz is President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.


Today’s practice is to consider how water sustains your life. Engage in a Water Appreciation (from wizdUUm.net) or find some other way to cultivate mindfulness and gratitude for water.

Today’s resource for deepening this message is the Blue Buckets campaign from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, part of Climate Justice Sunday.


Commit2Respond's Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.


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