WaterWays -- My Travel Blog
By Sister Larraine Lauter

Even in the desert, it seems that all my ways become Water Ways. Perhaps that is why my Chirachua Apache friends recently told me over a plate of chile relleno that they had chosen “Water Crane” as my native name. Arizona said that he could picture me standing in water like a water crane, and I had to smile because that is indeed one of my favorite pastimes... and as I’m quite tall, I may indeed appear like a crane to anyone who happens to catch sight of me ankle deep in some cool stream, although my skinny legs are lost to my youth. In childhood, I was most happy while wading up creeks and along shorelines, and I’ve never outgrown that delight. And I was happy to share with Arizona and Anne that just a few weeks ago, I was gifted with sight of two cranes (or perhaps herons) gliding effortlessly above the winding creek along a secluded hiking trail... and so I am pleased with my new name. 
But the waterways of the high desert on the Colorado Plateau are not the marshy haunts of cranes. I have much to learn about the desert, but I don’t expect to find water birds there. Water in the desert, so hidden, scarce and precious...yet it emerges, over and over, as blessing.
Navajo friends tell me that climate change has brought water change, and they sense that the two evils want to wash away their ancient way of life... and yet they stand directly and purposefully in the flow of this harsh reality, a dry and relentless wind. I have no special claim to their story, but they allow me to stand and listen. 
In early April, just a few days away, I’ll have a brief week of pilgrimage in the high desert of the Navajo reservation...just a few days for listening, for weaving a few strands in the web of our growing mission among the Navajo peoples. I’ll be connecting with Juli, Angela and Charlene, Navajo women who have taken up the cause of Water With Blessings for their own people...because that’s how we work, entrusting the immediate work of training and distribution to insiders rather than coming in as heroic outsiders. I’ll be listening and learning from them, these remarkable women whom I’m just beginning to know, yet who have already taught me so much. I’ll be meeting with Roger, my “Navajo coach” who has so patiently helped us lay the groundwork for a cause that he deeply believes in. Roger, without ever spelling it out, always reminds me to listen more than speak. 

Whenever I’m wading up a clear Kentucky stream, I pause again and again to delight in the bubbling song of water. I often recall Norman Maclean’s beautiful conclusion to A River Runs Through It and other stories: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” 

Wading out into the flow of Navajo experience, hoping to simply be reverent, standing quietly on rocks from the basement of time... I am haunted by water.
Spring Fever is in Louisville, KY - due to limited staff please call the office before coming to the office during the week of April 4-8.
Fifth Sunday of Lent  
Gospel:  John 8: 1-11  

The Gospel of John is a study in contrasts–mercy vs judgment, genuine vs artificial, truth vs deceit.  The encounters between Jesus and the Pharisees are many and the script is often the same.  Jesus appears to be a threat to the Pharisees because he has many followers as a result of his teaching and healing.  Now Pharisees arm themselves with trick questions and traps to prove that Jesus does not respect law and Jewish tradition.    

In his encounter with the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery, he holds a mirror in front of them.  Their eagerness to trap Jesus and stone the woman stops short as he writes their sins in the sand.  Their desire to be the “righteous ones” falls short.  “Let those without sin cast the first stone” ends the discussion.  

Jesus identifies with the pain and suffering of the woman, not the self-righteousness and judgment of the Pharisees.  The mirror held up to Jesus is of the God of mercy and forgiveness.  Jesus holds up a mirror to all of humankind.  Are we people of judgment or people of compassion, of forgiveness or grudges, of power or inclusion?  In every Gospel, Jesus offers the opportunity of starting over, of building community, not walls, of not seeing people as enemies, but as fallible human beings.  He lifts up and enables the woman to start over, and offers each of us the same opportunity.  We can be the people who create community.

At Water With Blessings, we strive every day to be people of community, starting with how our Water Women are chosen. We have no criteria, other than any mother who is willing to be publicly identified as a Water Woman, to whom her neighbors can turn for help in filtering their water. She does not have to be a woman of good repute, a church goer, or well-liked. Surely among 144,000 Water Women, some have been women who needed a way to start over with their neighbors. That’s part of why we pray every day at Water With Blessings for our Water Women.


When someone asks me what I am doing, I answer, “I work for an organization that is saving lives.” As an advocate, how would you describe your involvement with Water With Blessings?”

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