Did you know that today was World Toilet Day. It sounds to most of us as though someone is cracking a joke, but the lack of toilets is no joke for the 2.5 billion people in our world who lack adequate sanitation
The World Toilet Organisation themselves are encouraging website visitors to head over to EndWaterPoverty.org and help improve sanitation and water quality where it’s needed most. This leads to 1.8 million preventable deaths a year from diarrhea, dysentery, and other infections.
This means that diarrheal disease is even more of a contributor to child fatality rates in the developing world than the HIV/AIDS virus.
For areas of the world that do have a toilet system, the World Toilet Organisation campaigns for cleanliness of restrooms and water supply, parity of access for women, and the public availability of free toileting facilities.
For more information visit the World Toilet Day website
As I read this today I was reminded of one of the reflections that I wrote in my garden manual To Garden With God.
Water is the lifeblood of the garden and in fact of all creation. Without water, not only would our gardens die but we would too. Water is also the element of baptism. It symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection with Christ and offers the possibility of rebirth and the hope of a renewed creation. As Christians we commit ourselves through the water of baptism to resist evil and affirm our new life in Christ. Vigen Guoian in his beautiful book Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening, suggests that each time we water the garden, we should recognize that “we tend not only the garden that we call nature but also the garden that is ourselves, insofar as we are constituted of water and are born anew of it.”
I wonder what difference it would make if each time we went outside on a dry and thirsty day to water we were reminded of our baptism and of the resurrection of Christ who is the water of life. Perhaps it would make us more mindful of those in our world who are as thirsty as our plants. Or perhaps, more profoundly, each act of watering would become a sacred act that connected us to the wonder of Christ’s life and the power of the resurrection.