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The Gift of Water

Water.  It sustains life as we know it.  People of faith trust in its power to purify and baptize.  We believe it is a gift from our Creator, God, YHVH, Allah. 

In Midrash Rabbah we are taught, “Three things are of equal importance: earth, humans, and rain…each word [in Hebrew] has three letters to teach us that without earth, there is no rain, and without rain, the earth cannot endure, and without either, humanity cannot exist.”  B’reshit (Genesis) Rabbah 13:3

From the Psalms we hear sung, “You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst.   By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.  From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.  You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth.”  Psalm 104:10-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

In the Qur’an, we are told, “He created the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm lest it should shake with you; and He scattered through it beasts of all kinds. We send down rain from the sky and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature in pairs.”  Qur’an 31:10  (Yusuf Ali translation)

Water is essential to life.  We depend on it for drinking, food production, and jobs.  Water continuously flows from place to place as it changes form through the water cycle.  This cycle is part of the earth’s climate system, and changes in climate affect the cycle.  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Earth Observatory is studying these effects.  Already they are seeing the potential for more frequent and intense precipitation events, precipitation shifts from snowfall to rainfall, and an increased incidence and severity of drought.    

Most Texans use precipitation to meet all their water needs.  Rain and snow melt is collected in rivers and man-made lakes, like Lake Lewisville or Lake Livingston, or underground in aquifers that are replenished (i.e., recharged) by precipitation, like the Edwards Aquifer.  Water companies draw water from these sources, treat the water, and sell it to us.  The water cycle provides the precipitation for the water sources, but we have no control over how much precipitation falls or when it falls.  The water supply is limited and dependent on the water cycle.  For this reason, it’s important for us to conserve water.  As people of faith, we use the term stewardship.   When applied to water, stewardship means managing our water use to ensure there is enough water for all people and to sustain all of God's creation.  Faithfully conserving water is a way for us to thank God for the gift of water and to be a good steward of the gift. 

Resources for Water Conservation

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension 

Texas Living Water 

Texas Water Development Board

Save Water Texas