The Role of Water in Religion

What is it about water that has captured our fascination from the time our earliest ancestors first dipped their hands is a flowing stream or felt drops of cooling rain on their skin? Our familiarity with water has made us dull to its amazing and mysterious nature. We bathe in it every day, drink it, cultivate our food with it, get food from it, and then cook that food in it. Water is transparent and yet we can observe our reflection in it or see the sparkle of the sun on its ripples. Despite its soft and yielding nature it can patiently ware pebbles smooth and shape rocky river-beds. When still it is silent but when it tumbles over cliffs or crashes onto sea shores its roar can be heard for miles. Responding to the environment around it, water can become clear solid ice, white powdery snow, opaque steam, grey thunder clouds, an azure ocean and even vapour invisible to the eye. Water washes away filth but then effortlessly returns to its pure state. Lifeless itself water gives life. It is not surprising therefore that humans have associated water not just with life but also with the origins of life.

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