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God's Acre Healing Springs, Blackville, SC.
God's Acre Healing Springs, Blackville, SC.

Water: Wonder Temples and Miracle Springs

We don't spend enough time thinking about fresh water, perhaps at our peril. The unappreciated kitchen tap ejaculate, after an era as an artisan bottled joke, is finally getting the attention it deserves. Sure, it's a precious natural resource, the new oil. But something almost biblical is afoot. 500-year record droughts refuse to relent, while elsewhere unprecedented flash floods rage. Aquifers collapse, lawn over-waterers are publicly shamed. Very Old Testament.

Pulgas Water Temple, Redwood City, CA.

So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that there are water-relevant roadside attractions. The east has its magical "healing" springs -- from the Fountain of Youth to the much-revered Blessed Garden Hose. In the west, water scarcity has created an odd legacy of municipal facilities disguised as water temples, along with newer, utility-run madrasas to help all of us think more clearly about water.

Water tourist attractions frequently offer an obvious amenity to the public: a fresh sample. Some places provide a spigot (at your own risk). Others tease with only a glimpse of water on its way to somewhere more important.

The Mayans built elaborate water temples, but their worship was apparently faulty -- repeated sustained droughts helped topple the whole civilization around 800 AD. Our worship may be just as doomed, but for now we can still fill all the bottles in our trunks... and believe.

Famous Red Water Artesian Well, Shubuta, MS.
Famous Red Water Artesian Well, Shubuta, MS.

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