Toasting Water?

I take my good, clean tap water for granted. You probably do too. We don’t usually think of access to clean water as a right. For many in the human family water is not a right, or even safe or clean. Clean Water Week has led me to new mindfulness about water.

In a restaurant this week I noticed a card on the table inviting me to donate one dollar to the UNICEF Tap Project. It promised that my dollar would provide on child with access to safe, clean water for 40 days. Not much water; not much to give.

My practice of being mindful as I cook has undergone a shift during this Clean Water Week. Mindfulness about water has increased. I think of the 1.5 million children who will die this year because of water borne illnesses such as diarrhea. None of the children in our extended family are at risk of dying of diarrhea.

As I reach across the sink to turn the tap on, I’m mindful of the children. The water that I freely use to wash my hands, rinse vegetables and cook with is an unimagined right to at least 425 million children today. I think of the distances so many of them walk every day to fetch water. What does that mean for them? The journey to water trumps an education for them.

In my kitchen I mindfully remember the sacred nature of water to many. I picture the Ganges revered by Hindu’s as a goddess, a mother; a bottle of its water revered as a blessing. I think of the clean-up of that river underway and mindfully remember the workers restoring its cleanliness and safety. I think of the Jordan River so associated with the streams of living water that Christ promised.  Surely the right to clean, safe water is a sacred task?

Turning on my kitchen faucet, the flowing, living water fills me with mindful compassion and thanks for the scientists and others at companies like Halo Source. They spend their days creating technology to bring low-cost water purification systems to market around the globe. I imagine a village having safe point-of-use water available because of their efforts. I wonder how the right to water will transform the lives of kids and their communities.

As I mindfully think of the guests who will enjoy the meal I’m preparing I am filled with mindfulness about people at organizations like UNICEF and PATH who are passionate about access to safe clean water for all. As I rinse out the dirty pots I have been cooking with, I wonder how the flow of water will enliven the human spirit of those for whom it is still a dream?

Thinking about my dinner table and music for the evening I imagine people gathering for a meal in northern Ghana. I wonder what they’ve made of the Ghanaian song, “Clean Water” released this week?

What will those around my table say about Clean Water Week? Mindfully I imagine their compassion, their response. Will a toast to water be acceptable? Or should I pass out the invitation cards from that restaurant as an invitation to mindfulness, compassion and action about safe clean water? We would expect nothing less at our table. Should anyone else?

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