Healing Waters | May 22, 2022 by Rev. Dr. Kathryn Benton
Updated: May 29, 2022
Guard your water. Love your water, because it’s in your body…
I know the water can hear me.
The water in my body can talk to the water out there…
While reading the words above from Agnes Baker Pilgrim, I was drawn to the idea of water…the powerful cleansing aspect of it…as well as the destructive aspect of it. I was reminded of the waters of upstate New York, specifically Buffalo, New York, my hometown. There may not be enough healing water to cleanse us of the horror of yet further evidence of hate in our hearts. But Grandma Agnes tells us that communication with water holds some promise for our earth and the people upon it. So, I want to believe her…as part of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. She writes in her book entitled Grandma says: Wake Up World!, of a ritual she performed in Switzerland at the bequest of Dr. Barbara Smit. She was met by hundreds of participants who were asked to collect bowls of water from the Rhine River. She instructed them to thank the water for each of their lives. She asked each of them, over their own bowl, to verbalize a blessing…a promise that they would learn to be grateful for the water in their blood, their tears…the water that keeps them alive each day. After they said their blessing…their prayers, they emptied their bowls back into the river. Grandma Agnes told them that the Creator says that water can hear and that this water will clear up as it takes in the intention of the prayers of the people who participated in the ritual. A few years later, Grandma Agnes met again with Dr. Barbara Smit who reported that the water in the Rhine had cleared up and that there were now fish swimming in its waters. Of course, we can say that it is the prayers that changed the condition of the water or maybe it was the behavior of the people there after they were made aware of the importance of water and the influence they might have on its well-being. Either way, I think Grandma Agnes was onto something. She knew of the deep healing for the Earth and all of us available in the depths of the river and the depths of our soul.
Another person who believed in the power of prayer, thoughts and feelings on the well-being of water was Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher. The following is a brief description of some of his work.
There are people who call this “pseudo-science”. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean that there are not some profound truths in what Emoto did. He focused on the fact that our bodies and indeed the earth are made up of around 70% water. It is the most abundant and arguably the most important substance in our world. As Grandma Agnes says, Emoto also believed that water has a memory…it listens and is affected not only by its physical surroundings, but also the spiritual surroundings. Of our environmental crisis, Emoto said,
And we…hear the groaning from our tortured planet. We are at a point when we much realize that if we want to continue to call this planet our home, we need to change – not the planet, but ourselves.
And I think Grandma Agnes would agree and would remind us of our dependence on our Mother…the source of life and the goal of our longing. We need to hear the common sense embodied by the Thirteen Grandmothers. They did not just read books and write articles. Instead they traveled to meet each other from Nepal to Oregon, from Mexico to Tibet, from South Dakota to Gabon.
The Grandmothers believe that life is sacred and at the seed of everything is relations. They say, “That anyone is really separate from anyone else or anything that is happening in the world is an illusion.” We know of the connections especially in the natural world, in the forest, the streams. But we must remember that we are part of this! We are 70% water and so is the earth. And we know that there is no truly efficient way of controlling water. It flows into itself, over and over again. Grandma Bernadette explains that out reality is not just what can be seen, but that it, “dives deep into the Sacred Universe into the unity and dynamism of the seen and unseen.”
The grandmothers point out that the human race and all of nature are one great family but that this family is experiencing a separation and isolation like never before. It is a “spiritual separation” but I would say that it is also a physical separation.
I was talking with a client the other day and she related how her doctor set up a routine physical examination but that instead of seeing each other face to face, she had to meet her doctor on Zoom. Client stated that the appointment took only a couple of minutes and the doctor was not able to address her concerns since they could not really connect.
This is happening in almost every aspect of human life. We want to blame it on the pandemic, but this is something that has much deeper roots. We have become alienated, not only from the earth and its processes, but from each other as well. We no longer look into each other’s eyes the way we did, we no longer take the time to “feel each other out” by checking on body language, tone of voice, and gentle touch. And touch has power. I recently visited my mother. She is 92 years old and lives with my brother. She rarely sees other people and is often lonely. She especially craves touch…a hug, a backrub, and simple proximity with other people. I found that it is not uncommon for our elders to feel isolated and alone, even when they live with another person. It is something that most of us would say is not something we have to be reminded of, but it seems that we do. I found the following video on YouTube. It is a training video from the Global Coalition on Aging.
There is also an article with the same title in the most recent issue of National Geographic that includes the familiar photo of the of the 1950s experiment where the baby monkeys were given the choice of the soft mother without milk and the bare wire mother with milk. They found that most of the babies preferred the soft mother. This was during a time when mothers were cautioned not to “coddle their children” because they would become spoiled, when in reality the loving touch of the parent can be even more important than proper nutrition.
It is no accident, I think, that this article is appearing at this time in our journey together…a time of deep suspicion and distrust…a time of division and hate. Touch and attention to each other is what is needed more than ever. And this is what I experience at Fellowship Church. We are able to touch each other through our worship, both in-person and in zoom meetings. The Search for Common Ground continues to this day among us. We are on the scent of each other and of a solution to our very profound issues as a species. Instead of approaching these issues separately, we were meant to join together in a Beloved Community, acknowledging the all-pervading presence of the Holy in everything we do. It is this presence that reminds us of our relatedness…our common elements and needs. We must recognize our need to continue to touch each other deeply on our journey so that we can heal the earth and heal all life upon earth. We must join together for the purpose of peace and justice…of healing and love. May we strengthen ourselves for the journey and may we be reminded of the healing power of water to touch all parts of us….our heads and our hearts. Let us speak to the water through our everyday decisions to honor it, to thank it, and to preserve it. May its power heal us.