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REPORT: IEA-Reut/Sadaqa session on water on 20.12.04

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    Water in Islam, Judaism and Christianity - Study Session of the Jerusalem Interfaith Encounter Reut-Sadaqa-Un-conditional Friendship Twelve people met at
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2005
      Twelve people met at Karmela's home on December 20th

      Water in Islam, Judaism and Christianity

      - Study Session of the Jerusalem Interfaith Encounter

      Reut-Sadaqa-Un-conditional Friendship



      Twelve people met at Karmela's home on December 20th.  We welcomed Lilach to the group, who is studying Jewish-Christian relationships at Cambridge , UK (on a scholarship she received through IEA).  We also celebrated Samira's birthday and her getting an MA in mathematics.


      After introductions, the Moslem perspective on water was presented by Rafiqa Othman. 

      Water is mentioned 32 times in the Koran and is the basis of life as all things are created from water.  If there were no rain in its time, people would cry to Allah in their prayers to bring rain. Water symbolizes cleanliness as before prayer one must wash his/her hands and then recite a verse from the Koran.  A story was told about Hagar and Ishmael, when they were in what is now Mecca , after they no longer had any water left to drink.  They were somewhere between Safa and Marwa in Mecca .  Ishmael played with the sand and miraculously a spring appeared on that spot.  That spring is called zam zam and the water has healing properties, even nowadays.  People who make the pilgrimage to Mecca fill up cans with this special water to take back to their homes. A Hadith emphasizes that we should economize water for it is very precious. The Koran teaches that paradise is filled with rivers.


      Yehuda mentioned that in Jerusalem 's Gihon springs – there are some who believe that it is connected way underground to the Zum Zum spring in Saudi Arabia , thereby also having healing properties as a result.


      Esther related that in ancient times weddings took place around the well.  Jews ritually wash their hands and bodies in fresh water to bring them from a state of impurity to a state of purity.


      Hadassah sang a popular Israeli folksong about water with all of us.


      Leah mentioned that the Hebrew word for heaven "Shamayim" contains the Hebrew word for water "mayim" as well as the word for fire "Esh".  This means that two elements usually not compatible can co-exist peacefully in heaven (we too, of course, wish that co-existence can rain down from the heavens onto earth).


      Karmela presented the Christian perspective. She was very impressed by the many references that scripture in both testaments have for water. St. John the Baptist baptized people in the Jordan River even before Jesus began his mission. Baptism, the main sacrament in Christianity, is administered by the use of water to wash away the Original Sin.  We finished the session with the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.


      We settled down afterwards to share delicious home-made apple pie, courtesy of Nathanel and bourekas from Samira and chocolate cake offered by Karmela.


      Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 31st at 5:30 pm .


      This report was preparing by Leah Lublin, in coordination with Karmela Ferrugia and Rafiqa Othman, IEA-Reut Sadaqa coordinators.




      The Interfaith Encounter Association

      P.O.Box  3814 , Jerusalem 91037 , Israel

      Phone: +972-2-6510520

      Fax:     +972-2-6510557

      Website: www.interfaith-encounter.org



        Mr. Shlomo Alon, Chair

        Sr. Karmela Farrugia, Vice-Chair

        Sheikh Muhammad Kiwan, Vice-Chair

        Sheikh Ali Birani

        Rabbi Dov Maimon

        Deacon Eng. Jirias Mansour

        Sheikh Tawfiq Salama


      Dr. Yehuda Stolov, Director

      E-mail: yehuda@...



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