“Water is so ordinary it’s boring.”
I said that the other day.
I was tired of hearing the refrain from “Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie,” and in my tiredness, I was not thinking like a Theology major. My roommate (who, it so happens, is not a Theology major), brought me back to earth by asking: “What about Baptism?”
“Water is so ordinary it’s boring.”
Does that phrase “three days” ring any bells?
Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days. (Mt. 12:40)
Christ Himself was in the belly of the earth for three days. (ibid)
We die on the third day without water; He rose on the third day.
There is no resurrection without a death; He only rose after blood and water had gushed forth from His Side (Jn. 19:34-35), after He had given everything, as Fulton Sheen writes in Life of Christ:
The Divine miser had hoarded up a few precious drops of His Blood to pour forth after He gave up his spirit, to show that His love was stronger than death.
He is our Living Water: “he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.” (Jn. 4:13-14)
That plain, ordinary water….was what He turned into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. And then He turned that wine into His Blood at the Last Supper. As Sheen says again: “[T]he world would not tolerate His Divinity…if He turned water into wine, some day wine would be changed into blood” (Life of Christ, 376).
Water is essential to our salvation…it is the “matter” of Baptism—the Sacrament without which we cannot obtain eternal salvation.
All that (I haven’t even touched on the Old Testament symbolism of water), and I dare to say that water is “ordinary,” “boring”?
Water is not ordinary for the simple fact that God made it. Indeed, none of the little, “ordinary” events in this life should be seen as ordinary or boring because they’re all signs and manifestations and reminders of something future and greater—something that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
Venerable Fulton Sheen explains this in his autobiography: “Materialists, humanists and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. … To an atheist gold is gold, water is water and money is money.”
This, however, is not the view that those of us who have faith should have:
He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly: “swung as a trinket about one’s wrist.” … To a believer everything in this world is a telltale of something else. Mountains are not to be taken seriously. They are manifestations of the power of God; sunsets are revelations of His beauty; even rain can be a sign of His gentle mercy. (Treasure in Clay, 297-8)
The next time it rains–even if, like me, you hate rain more than a cat does–remember that it is through that water that your soul was washed in His Blood. It is also through that water that your bodily life continues. And it is through that water that you can see reminders of His Blessings.
I will leave you with this anecdote from Sheen:
I remember once meeting a doorman at the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney. I said to him as I came out of the hotel door: “Oh, it’s raining.” He put out his hand and said: “You call that rain, Father. That’s holy water from Heaven and it’s blessing yourself you ought to be doing with it,” as he signed himself with the sign of the Cross.
God Love Y’All!