Biblical text: James 3:10-11
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. It should not be like this, my brothers! A spring cannot pour both fresh and brackish water from the same opening, can it?” (ISV)
Water balance is the first condition of life sustainability on Earth; God created it since the very first day of life existence (Genesis 1:2). If this source of life is disturbed qualitatively (polluted) or quantitatively (too much resulting as flood or too little as drought), it could threaten all the web of life on earth. Once, God used the power of water to punish human beings, but he promised not to destroy again all life by the waters of a flood (Genesis 9:11). Nevertheless, the pollution of water is still capable of exterminating the fragile human survivability. Water has the virtue of nurturing and cleansing but it also has the capability of defiling and killing if it is not pure. If we fail to care for the creation and continue to pollute water, water may become source of curse for all creation.
In the 1990s, following a scholarship to deepen the science of water (hydrology) in Belgium, I was lucky to be a member of the scientific team which monitored the water quality of the river Scheldt and the Meuse, the two biggest rivers in Belgium. “As in any other industrial country, water pollution has been one of the great—if not the greatest—and longstanding environmental challenges facing Belgium and many European countries.” 
For this third reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2022, I invite you to think about the care for creation and the pollution of water in Europe as, this year, the water campaign is focusing on Europe. Securing the sustainable use of water in Europe remains a key challenge. Following the EEA 2018 water assessment, less than the half (~40%) of surface waters are in good ecological status, and only 38% are in good chemical status. “About 88.2 % of Europe's freshwater use comes from rivers and groundwater, while the rest comes from reservoirs (10.3%) and lakes (1.5 %), which makes these sources extremely vulnerable to threats posed by over-exploitation, pollution, and climate change” . European groundwaters and rivers are significantly affected by diffuse pollution from agriculture and domestic use.
Europeans are used to drinking water from plastic bottles only. They are disconnected with their natural waters’ ecological status and few of them realize that some 60% of Europe's rivers, lakes, and estuaries are failing to meet even the minimum ecological standards because of their indifference of irresponsibility toward the environment.
As Christians, we are blessed by the water of life given freely by the faith in Jesus Christ, therefore we should become ourselves springs of water of life to all creation (John 4:13-14). Our lifestyle should keep the Creation integrity and avoid pollution of the physical and spiritual water system. The words of God revealed our “ecological sins,” which is to act as springs of polluted water to the creation by following the worldly lifestyle (James 3: 10-11). Through unlimited greed, people keep using thousands of chemical products which end up in rivers and undergoing water reserves. All creation is interconnected. Polluting water locally is degrading water system globally.
We must repent and accept our inability to care for creation without the cleansing power of Jesus Christ’s blood. During this season of lent, may the Holy Spirit lead our daily life so that we become permanently springs of clean water of life, physically and spiritually, which sustain the creation of God. Christians are called to care and listen to the voices of creation by avoiding water pollution and climate change.
Questions for discussion
- Water is life and polluting water is like killing life. As a church, how can we ensure that all Christians should have the same feeling regarding to the sacredness of water?
- How does water pollution affect your country or church community?
- What can the “disciples of Christ” do to avoid or reduce water pollution?
- Discuss with your church leaders about water pollution issues and what you can do together to help.
- Whenever you can, amplify the cries of the polluted rivers, degraded oceans and contaminated underground water. Join actively the Season of Creation movement; the theme for this year is “Listen to voices of Creation.”
- Keep your neighboring water ecosystem clean by simple actions such as (a) Not pouring fat drippings or household chemicals down the drain. (b) Using minimal detergent or opting for an earth-friendly brand products. (c) Minimizing the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides for your farming or gardening.
* Dr Louk Andrianos is a World Council of Churches consultant on Care for Creation, Sustainability and Climate Justice. Born in Madagascar, he is based in Crete and collaborates with the Orthodox Academy of Crete and the Season of Creation, among other environmental institutions.