A Japanese scientist named Dr. Masaru Emoto has written a remarkable book called The Hidden Messages in Water, which was published in English about ten years ago. For some twenty years, Dr. Emoto has experimented with water—in particular, photographing freezing water under carefully controlled conditions during the twenty to thirty seconds crystals form before turning into ice. He’s discovered that, just as no two snowflakes are exactly the same, so frozen water from various places and sources throughout the world produce a huge variety of patterns—and his book contains many color photographs of stunningly beautiful crystals. Not all water produces these results, however; chlorinated water will not produce crystals at all, and the crystals formed by polluted water are incomplete or even ugly in appearance. Moreover, playing different types of music while the ice is freezing will affect the results; classical music brings about beautiful, well-formed crystals, while heavy metal music produces fragmented and malformed-looking ones. Dr. Emoto believes this has something to do with the vibrations produced by sound; vibrations in harmony with creation bring about something beautiful, while those doing violence to creation have negative effects. As evidence of this, he notes that at the outset of the first Gulf War, when more bombs were dropped on Iraq in the opening day of the conflict than the total number used during the entire Viet Nam War, he measured “the vibration of tap water in Tokyo, and found an unusually sharp increase in the values of vibrations produced by mercury, lead, aluminum, and other substances harmful to the human body” (p. 88).
All of this information is eye-opening, but what’s truly amazing about Dr. Emoto’s research are the spiritual implications. In one experiment, 350 people prayed aloud around a lake in Japan so polluted with algae that it wasn’t possible to see below the surface; within a few weeks, that water—for the first time in memory—became perfectly clear. Prayer, he suggests, creates a spiritual energy that resonates with creation and unleashes healing power. Moreover, our own words and attitudes affect the type of crystals formed when ice freezes. Water exposed to positive words such as “Thank you” or “Let’s do this” produce beautiful hexagonal crystals, but malformed and unattractive crystals result from words like “Fool,” or the harsh command “Do this.” The best results, producing the most beautiful crystals, come from the combined words or attitudes of “Love” and “Gratitude”—for these attitudes, Dr. Emoto suggests, are the ones underlying the reality of creation itself, and the need to live in this spirit is the most important message water has for us. This makes perfect sense when you think about it, for the human body is comprised of 70% water—and science and medicine are increasingly recognizing that our outlook, attitudes, and spiritual values can have a definite impact on our physical health. It seems the more we learn about creation, the more we have to respond in awe to the Creator. Dr. Emoto, who has given talks and demonstrations throughout the world, is himself a Buddhist, but his findings are certainly in harmony with our Christian beliefs. Water is not alive in a physical sense, but it is vitally necessary for all human, plant, and animal life. Moreover, a loving and grateful attitude makes all the difference in a spiritual sense—and this is part of what Jesus means when He speaks of “living waters.” Jesus Christ is both the beginning and the culmination of all creation—and it’s only through our union with Him that we become truly alive.
As we see in the Book of Exodus (17:3-7), in the dry climate of the Middle East, water is something to be treasured. The people were desperate for water in their journey through the desert, but instead of asking for it in a trusting manner—an attitude in harmony with God’s creation—they grumbled, and were on the point of rebellion. God responded to their need in a miraculous way, thus giving an affirmative answer to their question “Is the Lord in our midst or not?” However, from then on the place was known as “Massah,” which means quarreling, and “Meribah,” which means testing. In the Gospel of John (4:5-42), Jesus called upon the sinful Samaritan woman to respond in a more trusting way than did the Israelites in the desert, moving the topic of the discussion from well-water to the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit which only He can provide. Our deepest spiritual thirst can only be quenched by being filled with the Holy Spirit, and St. Paul (Romans 5:1-2, 5-8) assures us that “the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” Moreover, as Jesus explained to the woman, it’s only through the Spirit that we’re able to offer God our Father and Creator the authentic worship He deserves.
God’s Holy Spirit, which we receive in baptism, allows us to live in harmony with ourselves and the rest of creation—living, we might say, in a spirit of love and gratitude. The waters of baptism make all this possible, and this sacrament is meant to have an ongoing effect on our lives—and I’d like to suggest three ways in particular in which this should be true. First of all, because we’ve been baptized, doing God’s will should be a priority in our lives. Jesus told the apostles, “My food is to do the will of the One Who sent Me,” and we too can find spiritual nourishment and satisfaction in obeying God’s commandments, praying for His guidance in all our decisions, and be open to going wherever His Spirit leads us. Following Jesus can be challenging, adventurous, and even difficult at times—but it’s never boring, and it never leads to emptiness or regret. Secondly, because we’ve been baptized, we’re called to speak the truth in a loving way. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He knew she had been married five times, and was now living in sin—but He did not condemn her; He invited her to repentance and new life. Sometimes we have to tell people things they may not want to hear, or go against the crowd, or refuse to take part in something morally wrong—but this doesn’t give us the right to judge others, or write them off as hopeless, or act as if we’re superior to them. Our correction must be gentle, our criticism must be loving, and our witness must be sincere. Thirdly, because we’ve been baptized, we must be willing to share our faith whenever we have the chance to do so. Jesus spoke to the apostles about fields ripe for harvest, and the Samaritan woman reported her encounter with Him to the townspeople, causing them to believe in Him, too. Spreading the Gospel through our words, example, and prayers should be a priority in our lives; in this way we invite others to experience that harmony and peace we’ve already found. If we’re not sure where to begin, we might simply pray, “Dear Lord, please help me recognize and use any opportunities You give me today to share Your love with someone who needs to receive it.” We don’t have to conduct experiments with water crystals to know that there’s a beauty and purpose to life; this is something we as Christians already believe and experience. Using God’s grace, let us be generous in living and sharing this truth, thereby making a difference in the world.