We are one week into the New Year—so how is everyone doing on those resolutions to exercise and lose weight? About as good as me.
When we exercise we need to be certain we have water—water bottle at the gym or on our bike, a hydration pack for a run, maybe a filtration system for a hike. Exercise aside, we should all be reaching for a glass each morning because our bodies have just gone hours without any water, as well as several more glasses throughout the day.
Water is crucial for life. We know this, and fortunately we don’t have to worry much about it. Even if we forget water, we are never very far from any. But this isn’t the case for the entire world. So imagine if you had to worry about where your next drink of water was coming from—or even if it was coming. That is a real worry for millions of people—but hopefully, not for long.
Austrian designer, Kristof Retezár may have invented something that would solve this worry for countless people—a self-filling water bottle that literally draws water out of thin air.
As we know, there is water in the air all around us we call humidity. It’s what makes hot days feel even hotter, and the lack of which makes people in Arizona say, “Sure, it’s a 105, but it’s a dry heat, so it’s not so bad.” Retezár’s bottle, called the “Fontus”, is a remarkable feat of engineering. Using a small solar powered fan and cooling unit, a group of hydrophobic—or water-repellant— surfaces that look like toothbrush bristles are refrigerated. When warm humid air flows into the Fontus, and hits these cool toothbrush bristles, condensation forms. It’s the same concept that happens when a cold can of pop sweats on a hot humid day. The “sweat” is the condensation of the humidity in the air being cooled into water droplets.
Retezár explained his product to LiveScience.com saying, “Because the bristles in the ‘Fontus’ cooling unit are hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water they created, so you get a drop flow. The condensation is collected in a water bottle, and ‘Voila!’ You have clean water to drink without ever going to a tap or the store or finding a natural water source.”
Good water production times for the Fontus are hot humid days with a temperature between 86 and 104 degrees and humidity between 80 and 90 percent. Retezár claims that in “really good” conditions, the Fontus is able to produce about a pint water every hour.
Retezár continues, stating, “The idea was to solve a global problem: water issues in areas of the world where there is very little groundwater but very high humidity. My intent was to invent a device that would be able to filter the humidity in the air and turn it into drinkable water.”
If Retezár can do this, he will change the lives of people across the globe who live in remote, dry areas where clean, safe water is not readily available.
Water is the most valuable resource on the planet. All living things— animals, plants and humans— need water to survive. In just the same way, as people of faith striving to follow God and be faithful to God’s call for our lives, we need spiritual, living water that nourishes our souls. And that living water is of course found in Christ Jesus.
Literal water and spiritual water are exactly the same—both give life. And both are readily available, when we work creatively to find them and provide them.
Images of water abound throughout Scripture because our ancestors in the faith understood the value of water for both our physical and spiritual lives—they understood that life was in water.
The Bible begins in Genesis with waters covering the face of the earth, and ends in Revelation with the vision of a river that flows from the throne of God. In the Exodus story, we read of Moses floating down a river as a baby, and later leading the children of Israel through the divided waters of the Red Sea and tapping a rock in the desert from which water flowed. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Joshua led the people across the waters of Jordan and into the Promised Land. Jesus and his disciples, several of whom were fishermen, also spent a good bit of their time around water. Jesus walked on water, calmed a storm while they were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee and talked about living water with a Samaritan woman who had come to a well in the middle of the day to get water for her house. When Jesus healed a man born blind by putting mud on his eyes, he told the man to wash in a pool to complete the miracle. And at the very outset of his ministry, Jesus went out to the waters of the Jordan River to meet his relative John for baptism.
Water is everywhere—in the bible, in our bodies, in our lives. And it is always a catalyst for new life.
Use of water for religious purposes was not new to the Jewish people. Throughout the gospels, Jesus and the religious leaders had disputes over ritual cleanliness. Jesus and his disciples didn’t always seem to follow the rules about how to wash their hands before they ate. They didn’t necessarily observe religious customs regarding the storage of food. Nor did they avoid people who had been deemed “unclean” by law, culture, or religion.
One of the rituals to regain spiritual cleanliness was to be immersed in water through the use of a mikvah—a pool of water where one could walk down into, and be fully immersed within. The faithful enter the waters of a mikvah, aware of their separation from the holiness of God due to the sin in their lives, and emerge renewed, refreshed and spiritually clean.
The water serves as a reminder of how God is always ready to forgive when we repent of our sins. Faithful Jews still use the mikvah today to prepare for worship, a high holy day, or their wedding.
In this tradition, but in a new way and with a new message, John immersed people in the Jordan River for the forgiveness of their sins. The Greek word for “immerse” is baptizo, from which we get our word “baptism.”
John was calling the people to repentance, asking them to prepare for the kingdom of God that was coming in the person of Jesus. It is no wonder, then, that he is surprised when Jesus presents himself for baptism. And only after trying to convince Jesus that their roles should be reversed, John relents and immerses Jesus in the waters of the Jordan. And when Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit of God fell upon Jesus and God said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” This marks the beginning of Jesus’ new ministry—his life now is set and focused on what God has sent him to do.
There in that water a new way of life was revealed to the world—a way of life of hope and healing, compassion and mercy, grace and love. And it began with water.
Today the church continues to use the waters of baptism as a sign of death to our old lives and resurrection into new lives in Christ. We celebrate the grace of God as we are born anew and receive forgiveness. In baptism, we remember that we are the children of God, loved by God and pleasing to God. But just as Jesus’s baptism wasn’t only for or about him, neither are our baptisms.
When we are baptized, yes, we receive forgiveness and are cleansed of our sins. Yes, we too hear the words, “This is my Son, This is my daughter, whom I love; with him, with her, I am well pleased.” But like Jesus who went forth from those living waters to be a blessing of life, we too are to go forth and do likewise.
We are to live into our baptism by serving Christ through our service to others. We are to go forth from the waters, and share them in word, deed, and actions. Be it a helping hand to someone in need. Be it a listening ear to someone who is hurting. Be it an offer to do a task so a friend’s load is lightened. Be it by joining the Membership Team, Outreach Team, Christian Education Team, Choirs, help with Junior Church, or join the Prayer Team, a Women’s Guild, or a Sunday School class.
Be it serving at a soup kitchen, going on a mission trip, or handing a prayer purse to someone who could use it.
Because of our baptisms we are called to exercise our faith, and when we do, the waters of our baptism flow from our pores to encourage and bless others, most especially the least, the last and the lost. Just as we have received life in the water of baptism, we are called to share that life.
Water is all around us, and we are blessed because of it. From our faucets, to bottles, to the rivers that flow through our county. We are blessed that living water is all around us—in worship, prayer, song, the Holy Spirt—all blessing us with life that is abundant—even on the driest of days. There is life in water—both physical water and spiritual water.
And as Jesus has modeled, we are called to enter the life giving water of baptism, have our lives changed, and then go forth ready and willing to share the impact that is life in water.
So when we exercise, or wake in the morning, or ask for a refill at a restaurant, may we drink up knowing we are blessed with the life in water. When we exercise our faith, through prayer, worship, fellowship and outreach, may we drink up knowing we are blessed with the life in water.
And may we permit the waters of our baptism to flow from us to those we love and serve, fully aware that we have been blessed to be a blessing, to share the love of Jesus with all whom we meet. For when we do, we, and those we serve, will be renewed and refreshed by the life in water. Amen.