Every year, our family spends a few days at Niagara Falls. The gaudy lights, obnoxious noises, and tourist hoards are anathema, but the wide-eyed expressions on my children’s faces are sufficient motivation for me to swallow my distaste, and viewing the majesty of the Falls makes up for all of it.

Niagara Falls

Photograph of Niagara Falls, 2003

No matter how many times I visit, I am always made breathless by the sheer volume of water plummeting over the falls. It’s unfathomable that Lake Erie hasn’t drained completely.  I am blessed to live in a continent with a substantial bounty of fresh, potable water available for drinking, cooking, bathing, cooling off, washing our cars, sprinklering the grass, watering the vegetable and flowers gardens, washing away the things we don’t want. What isn’t visible above ground is hidden below. I turn on my bathroom faucet and water just pours out like magic. Who gives a second thought to running through the sprinkler or going to the water park to cool off in the hot days of summer?  Who questions filling a backyard pool?  Not one of us gives it a second thought until… the plumbing breaks down, or our water source becomes contaminated, or the municipality issues a water advisory saying we can’t use water the way we are used to using (and maybe abusing) it. Then, for a moment, we stop taking it for granted, but gripe about the inconvenience of its absence.

This blog is not about me climbing up to a pulpit and preaching. I would have no right to do that in any case because I, too, take water for granted. But, today, I am thankful for water, for the abundance of it, the easy availability of it, the deliciousness of it.  Water truly sustains life.

There is a dusty village in Africa where villagers go to the community well to draw buckets of water for basic survival, then carry them home, burdened by the weight.  That well is only available because a missionary group raised money to have it built. This little girl — I’ll name her Arjana — gives water to the few animals her family owns because the chicken needs it to lay the eggs the girl’s family will trade for cabbage or beans or some fabric to make clothes. And, maybe, if there is some water left over, the girl and her family will get a taste.  This village isn’t just one village, but a multitude of villages scattered throughout the world.

The Bible describes the agricultural abundance of Israel by saying that it is a land flowing with milk and honey.  The phrase has come to be associated with paradise, and I am always left with an image of milk and honey filling river beds up to the banks and flowing without end. I am satisfied (and gratified) to live in a land flowing with… water. That is paradise enough for me.