Holy WaterHoly Water from Israel
Christians use Holy Water for several reasons such as to repent from sin, for protection from evil, as a reminder of Baptism and to bless people, holy objects and places. Holy water is sanctified by a priest and is stored in holy water fonts which are usually at the entrance of a church or in small vessels called stoups, for people to sprinkle themselves upon entering a holy place. Holy water comes from water in the Holy Land that is flowing water, sea water or river water, such as holy water from the Jordan River, Sea of Galilee holy water or holy water from Jerusalem, Bethlehem or Nazareth and is stored in beautiful holy water bottles for people to keep for personal uses. Holy water is only disposed of through a special basin that leads into the ground.
Psalm 50 talks about using holy water to rid one of sins: "Have mercy on me, O G-d, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. Cleanse me with hyssop that I may be purified; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Asperges me (sprinkle me) is based on Psalm 50 and is recited during the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of the Holy Water which makes up the Penitential Rite.
Holy water from Israel, such as Jordan river holy water is also used as a protection against all evil. In the prayer of the Sacramentary, it states: "Lord, G-d Almighty, creator of all life, of body and soul, we ask you to bless this water; as we use it in faith forgive our sins and save us from all illness and the power of evil. Lord, in your mercy give us living water, always springing up as a fountain of salvation; free us, body and soul, from every danger and admit us to your presence in purity of heart."
Holy water is most associated with Baptism by which holy water is poured over the head or one is immersed completely in water, such as a baby. Baptism sets one free from Original sin and incorporates one into the church and one is given the title of son or daughter of G-d. The sign of the Cross is made with the holy water upon entering a church is a renewal of the Baptism and the promises and responsibilities that come along with it.
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