Water Works: Religious Uses


Water Works is a current exhibition at the Philomath Museum that features object related to how we use water.  One topic the exhibition doesn’t cover is using water in the religious ceremonies of many groups. The museum’s collection includes several related objects.

According to Christian belief, Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan. Consequently, people who travel to the area sometimes want to return with some of this holy water.

Holy Water Bottle, 1907

Although the specific practices vary by denomination, baptism represents acceptance of the Christian faith. The scene on this religious medal shows a baptism by immersion in a river. Such medals are often gifts given as a reminder of the event.

Other denominations sprinkle water using an aspergillum dipped into a font filled with the holy water. These are from Bolivia in the 19th century.

More Stories

From the Museums

Join and Give

Your support makes a difference to the museums, educational programs, and exhibitions.