Grace and Peace to you,
While visiting my brother in Knysna over New Year I had the opportunity to stay at a small home that was almost completely “off the grid”. The micro home was built in part using a shipping container together with discarded building materials that had been recycled. The entire roof structure was linked to a number of different JoJo tanks providing the only water on the property – which by the way tasted comprehensively delicious. There was a compost toilet – with a beautiful tranquil forest view. Gas was used to cook and heat water. I was so moved and inspired by how Dion, the owner, lives his life. What a gentle and respectful witness. I left there saying: “I want to live more like that”.
What moved me most was the fact that we had a limited amount of water. Knowing this made it taste and feel so sacred. To collect the water in a bucket from the JoJo tank to do the washing up, etc. was a conscious and deliberate act of using the water, instead of mindlessly opening a tap as would normally be the case. I also realised how little water I actually can get by on and thereby realised how much water I waste on a daily basis – by simply using more than I actually need to use.
Living in the way Dion lives assures that we live close to the consequences of our living. With a compost toilet one realises that we produce waste and that it actually needs to be managed and “go somewhere”. To use precious water to flush it “away” can end up mindlessly detaching us from this aspect of our living. To live with real water limits works wonders in shaping a respectful and even reverent relationship with the water we use.
So this LENT (which begins on 10th February) I invite you to fast.
To fast is to live with limits. The first fast was given as Divine instruction for daily living in the Garden of Eden: “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” To live without limits is to die. To fast is to live. To fast is to bring life.
This LENT, in the year of one of South Africa’s worst droughts, let us fast – live with limits – in relation to water. Perhaps our water fast will help us to hear Jesus’ crucifying cry: “I thirst” more acutely. This is the cry of an ever-increasing number of people.
According to Institute – Water for Africa, the UN say that a human being needs 50 liters of water per day in order to prepare meals and to have enough for personal hygiene. 50 liters of water per day are necessary in order to avoid diseases and to retain efficiency.
However, many humans in Africa must get along with 20 liters water per day. Depending on the power output of ones shower – 20 liters is the quantity of water that we use when having a shower for 2-3 minutes. The practice this fast faithfully we are first going to have to calculate how much water we actually use on a daily basis and when. This will move our relationship with water from mindlessness state to a conscious state.
This LENT let’s limit ourselves to a maximum of 50 liters of water per day – remembering that there are many in our land who do not have the privilege of voluntarily reducing their water usage to less than 50 liters – in fact many are forced to live on much less.
Covenant Prayer Preparation
I am no longer my own but yours, O God.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blesse?d God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Please reflect on the words of this great prayer in preparation for our Covenant Service on January 31.