Baptism is a sacred tradition in the Christian faith. It signals what many Christians would call a “rebirth.” In some circles, this rite is performed by sprinkling a tiny amount of water on a baby’s head. In other circles, people of all ages are dunked in water before a crowd of witnesses as a testimony that they have been reborn – called to experience a new kind of life. No matter how the baptismal ceremony is conducted, it always involves one thing: water.
Water is essential to life. The average person cannot survive more than a few days without it. Water makes up 90 percent of the human body. More than two-thirds of the earth is covered by it. If baptism signals new life and water is life, it follows, then, that water is essential for baptism.
If water is essential for baptism, how did a small church in Godfrey, Illinois survive without water for 163 years? The same way anyone survives in an emergency situation where there is no water: by using bottled water.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Bottled water is not exactly in the business of preserving life. Bottled water companies make millions of dollars packaging and selling a naturally-occurring resource that is otherwise, basically free. Yes, water is essential to baptism and to life, but for every bottle of water that’s made, twice as much is used in the production process. Eighty percent of plastic bottles end up in landfills or oceans, polluting the environment. And contrary to popular belief, bottled water is no more pure than tap. Plastic bottles contain toxic chemicals that often leach into water.
It seems contradictory to perform a baptismal ceremony – a sign of new life – using a product that is anti-life in so many ways. What do you think?
Thankfully, the church recently acquired a water line. Attendance has improved since then. I must say, I’m not surprised.