Around the world, over millennia, rivers have provided wondrous gifts – nourishment, mobility, irrigation, natural beauty.
In acknowledgement of those gifts, some cultures consider the rivers of their realms to be sacred – beseeching them with prayers, partaking of their waters for joyous and somber rituals.
Today, even as these rivers remain an object of devotion, some face dire threats – severe pollution, diminution of their flow, hydroelectric projects. In Nepal, many devout Hindus no longer cleanse the bodies of their newly deceased loved ones with the waters of the Bagmati River – it’s befouled by sewage. In the Middle East, the Jordan River’s dwindling waters are a dull greenish brown as they approach the site revered as where Jesus was baptized.
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