by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
G!d called the dry land Earth and called the gathering of waters Seas. And G!d saw that this was good. --Genesis 1:10
It takes only a few days to die of thirst. The Native American water protectors mantra, "Water Is Life", is very real. Our adult bodies are about 60% water. We literally cannot live without water.
But the saying, "Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink," from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is equally true. Salt water and once-fresh water filled with toxic pollutants do our bodies no good.
We are not alone in our need for water. Life in, on, and above the Earth cannot survive without water. Space exploration of planets and moons seeks out the presence of water as a measure of the possibility of life. With drought, plants shrivel and die and animals migrate or die as well. A lack of enough clean water is a death knell for living beings of all kinds. About 2 billion people around the world suffer from safe water scarcity.
The reverse, too much water, can also kill. Hundreds of people die from flooding every year. Hurricanes, extended downpours, and rising sea level are all threats to life as we know it.
The blooming of the desert is a known spectacular response to rain in arid parts of the world. A small amount of rainfall works magic, springing long-waiting plants to life, always at the ready to begin the cycle of flowering and seed production when moist conditions arise. In other places, flooding of river plains enriches the soil, making these areas especially fertile grounds.
Photo by Mary North Allen
Nature has evolved to bring the beauty of new growth after too little or too much rain. How do we, too, bring the beauty of new growth, new ideas, new connections, and new courage into our drought-stricken or inundated lives? This is our daily task, our life work, in this climate changing world in which we live.
Photo by Mary North Allen
Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, in 2005. She is the author of A Tree of Life: A Story in Word, Image, and Text and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.