The word watermark doesn’t tend to come up in casual conversation. Yet consciously or unconsciously, watermarks are a big part of daily life and faith. Here are a few examples. High-quality stationery has long been associated with watermarks. I can still remember my mom’s special bond-quality writing paper, with the curious watermark on every page. We all handle money regularly, but if you work in retail, banking, or any profession that deals with money frequently, then you’ll be more than familiar with the watermarks used in paper currency to help stop counterfeiting. The same is also true of those who work in airport security checking passports for the safety of all travelers. If you’re in any kind of construction work, home or building repair specialist, then watermarks have a whole different meaning, especially if you’re called in to deal with the aftermath of a flood or some other type of water damage. Then there’s digital watermarking used in audio or image data for copyright purposes. Other types of digital watermarks protect data integrity and computer security. Last, but not least, from a spiritual perspective, the word watermark reminds us of our baptism.Baptism is a unique spiritual watermark written on our hearts that doesn’t wash off, and can’t be faked. Our baptismal watermark confirms our identity in Christ, and marks us as Christ’s own forever. In many ways, it protects and transforms us in the power of the Holy Spirit. In my own faith tradition, baptism is one of the two great sacraments (Holy Eucharist being the other one). At baptism we die with Christ and are raised to new life in Him. The waters of baptism serve as an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual grace. The newly baptized receive forgiveness for sins, new life in the power of the Holy Spirit, and adoption into Christ’s body, the church. Within the body of Christ, there’s a broad spectrum of baptismal beliefs, including whether baptism is sacramental or symbolic; whether baptism is, or isn’t considered necessary for salvation; whether infants can be baptized; and even how the waters of baptism are used in immersion or affusion. Beyond the baptismal event, there’s an important common factor for all Christians. That is the expectation of transformation associated with this spiritual watermark. Living into our baptismal covenant involves living faithfully and growing in discipleship.The watermarks of our living faith become the outward and visible signs of how God transforms us in the ongoing process of making all things new. Tapping into the wellspring and source of all life is essential to keep the living water flowing. The key elements are worshipping in a loving and supportive community of faith, staying connected to God in prayer, as well as seeking a deeper understanding of God’s will and God’s ways by studying Scripture. As the living water flows in filling and cleansing us, revitalizing and refreshing us, it must also flow out, or become stagnant and useless. The water keeps flowing as we use our time and resources for good, making Christ visible in the world by our words and actions. It also helps to discern our spiritual gifts, listen to God’s will for our lives, and then follow through by connecting and committing to a meaningful ministry.As we share God’s love in practical ways, that gracious outpouring of living water leaves a kind of watermark on those we meet and serve. A few drops of water often invites a deep longing to quench the thirst of a parched soul. Ultimately Christ’s living water is the only water that can satisfy. Jesus cries out to the crowd, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water,’” (John 7:37-38). Seeing streams of living water flowing in our ministries, can stir up slow-moving waters or stagnant pools that have formed in the hearts of the weary, and all who need encouragement. When many small tributaries join together, they create a great river flowing into an ocean of loving service, and a sea of change. Our spiritual watermark empowers us to change the world for Christ!• The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot is priest-in-charge at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe. Reach her at email@example.com or at (480) 345-2686.