In Russia, most of the tap water is undrinkable.
In Russia, some folks drank the tap water anyway. Why did they do it? Well, they looked at the calendar and assumed that everything would be different. Yes, I know that sounds odd. It was January 19th, which is when they celebrate Epiphany…when Jesus, who is God become man, was ‘made known’ to the world.
For some reason, these people believe(d) that any water obtained on Epiphany would be “holy” water. For some reason, these people – 117 of them – required medical treatment for acute intestinal pain.
Holy water is traditionally used, by those in the Orthodox tradition, for baptism or for the blessing of people, places, or objects. It may also be used at times in exorcisms. While they claim that the idea of using holy water comes from the Apostle Matthew, there’s no Biblical support for this idea. It can be traced back to around 500 years after Christ, and then only to a story of a man who cast out a demon using water he had blessed. There seem to be many traditions about holy water, but none with strong evidence for how the practice got started.
With all due respect to my Orthodox and Catholic friends, holy water is bunk. The idea is that a holy man can bless the water and give it some kind of spiritual power, which can then be used to make better the lives of those who use it. We see absolutely nothing like that in Scripture, of course…and for good reason: God doesn’t work that way.
Sure, God can and might at any time use water in any way He chooses…but that’s not the same as a priest (or any any regular dude, as the tradition goes) saying a prayer and changing the properties of the water. That’s superstition, pure and simple.