Photo by Stas Haas on Unsplash.

Water: the trinitarian substance that contains multitudes

As a liquid it cleans, quenches thirst, and bears vessels between land masses

It also floods homes and communities, leaving behind physical and financial ruin

As a solid it preserves our food, locks toxic gases beneath permafrost, and cools us off in extreme heat

It also induces hypothermia, downs power lines, and creates treacherous road conditions

As a gas it provides warmth and energy

It also dehydrates our bodies and explodes under intense pressure

When so many are trapped in place by snow and ice

When the flow of water through pipes has stopped

When power and heat have become scarce resources

The delights and dangers of water in its many forms are made manifest

God who separated the waters into above and below, land and sea

God who nurtures each of us in a watery womb

Be with those who are suffering during winter storms

Be with those who are helping the cold, the unsheltered, the medically fragile

Be with all of us, whatever climate we inhabit

as we wrestle with our own multitudes within –

our best and worst impulses –

so that we might live the covenant we entered

when we were baptized by water as well as Spirit


Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a seven-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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