Bridge over waterWorld Water Day, celebrated each year on March 22, is a vital reminder of the importance of having an abundant supply of clean, fresh, life-sustaining water. So many of us, however, take this gift for granted and treat it as an unlimited resource. Recent reports indicate that Canada wastes more water per person than almost any other country.[I] We pollute the water and sell it off to private companies who extract it, paying only a pittance for great profit while nearby people go thirsty.[ii] Clean water is necessary for life, and as such is being recognized in many places as a basic human right. Even so, there are currently an estimated 663 million people in the world who have no access to safe water, including many in Canada—particularly on Reserves. It is in light of these truths that we offer the following prayer:

Prayer

Holy God,
who moved over the waters at creation,
who led your people through the Red Sea to freedom,
who comforted your people by the waters of Babylon,
whose Spirit descended on your son at the moment of baptism,
we thank you for your love in all creation,
especially for water that sustains life, refreshes, and cleanses.

Creator God, help us, we pray, to be better stewards of your gift of water,
to be less careless in our use of water,
to treat water as a human right and not as a commodity to be bought and sold, and
to advocate for policies that make water more accessible to the whole human family,
Guide our leaders into responsible decisions about water and its uses and to take action to provide safe water to those suffering and dying from water that is polluted.

Grant us the grace, O God, to live lives of gratitude each day for your precious gift.
Give us the commitment and courage to stand up to protect your gift, and to support those who work to provide wells and water treatment facilities, so those who need it so desperately will also be blessed with a cup of cold water.
We pray this in the name of him who is the giver of the water of life, even Jesus, our Lord.
Amen

—Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Glen Davis, former General Assembly Moderator

[I] According to a report released by the Conference Board of Canada, only the United States uses more water per capita than Canada; CBC’s states, “The report found Canadians use 1,131 cubic metres per capita of water per year. The only country that uses more water is the United States, which consumes 1,632 cubic metres per capita.”See https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canadians-produce-more-garbage-than-anyone-else-1.1394020.
[ii] Nestlé is currently extracting water from Wellington country, ON, paying only $503.71 per million litres. Since their permit expired in 2016, they have continued pumping more than 1.5 billion litres. Meanwhile, a nearby Six Nations reserve is facing water shortages and many homes on the reserve have no available tap water. See https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/oct/04/ontario-six-nations-nestle-running-water.