by Joel Preston Smith
The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars
—from Psalm 29, King James Version
In the Chapel of the Living Waters this sun-blistered summer in the little village of Magdalena, New Mexico, the anxious parishioners set a five-gallon jug of bottled water up by the altar, prostrated themselves and prayed each to his own image of the creator, Please, Lord, send us a little rain.
Matt Middleton, a Web designer and videographer who helped organize the ceremony, said: “I’m sure there were a few skeptics, and a few rubberneckers, but it was nice. It was like we were saying, ‘Your will be done,’ and at the same time, ‘We could really use a little help.’”
An Episcopalian priest dipped a cedar branch in the ceremonial jug and, with the cool, clear water, baptized the bowed heads of 70 or so believers of different faiths present for the nondenominational service.