Not too long ago, we lost our water for an afternoon. We were getting ready to have a crowd over for supper, and we had been preparing things all afternoon. We had used a bunch of bowls and knives etc to prepare, and the time had come to get those dishes out of the way to make the kitchen look presentable and get the finishing touches done on dinner. But the water was gone. We couldn’t run the dishwasher. We couldn’t wash anything by hand. There were a few vegetables we needed to clean, but couldn’t. It was a big pain.
On another occasion, I was about to get in the shower and noticed the water wouldn’t come on. I was also trying to do a load of laundry. I found out that the city had turned off our water supply because they were working on some pipes. I was frustrated because I couldn’t get ready for the day, and was behind on my house work.
It’s amazing how much we miss water when it is gone, but how much we take it for granted when it is running. I give my kids a drink of whenever they need one. Bathe them. Wash their hands many times throughout the day. Fill up the kettle numerous times a day. Put in laundry. Run the dishwasher. Get a drink for myself. Take a shower. I do all of these things without even the slightest thought to how precious water is. Until it is gone. Then I feel irritated.
And then I think of the 750 million people around the world without clean water and I am ashamed at my first world problems…
When there is no clean water, mothers are forced to give their children dirty water to drink, in hopes that it will help and not hurt.
Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under five in the world. Around 1.5 million deaths a year, nearly one in five, are caused by diarrhea, which kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.
3.4 million people die every year of water related illness (that’s like the entire population of Los Angeles, CA).
65% of people living in rural india do not have access to a toilet, and as a result they have no choice but to defecate out in the open which only worsens the water problem.
Globally, women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.This is equivalent to building 28 Empire State Buildings each day. Often the water they get is contaminated with waterbourne illnesses, and can even cause death to their families, but they have no other option.
We hear these things all the time. General numbers. Statistics. It’s hard for us to realize that these numbers and facts represent real people just like you and me who really are suffering right now. Real mothers whose children are looking to them for something to drink, and they have nothing to offer them. Real mothers who hold their crying sick children and have no way to help them. These people have no choice but to suffer, or watch their children suffer, often die, simply because they do not have a simple thing that we take for granted every single day.
If you are like me, these facts can be paralyzing. The need in the world is so overwhelming and it is easier to turn a blind eye…because really, what can we do for all of these people?
We can do more than we think.
March 22 is World Water Day. A day to raise awareness about this global issue. Organizations like Gospel for Asia, have solutions to this problem, but they need our help. GFA digs wells, installs water filters, and builds outdoor toilets in order to combat the water problem. We are some of the most materially blessed people in the world. We may not be able to go physically dig the wells, or install filters, but we can GIVE so that others can. Every little bit helps.
Gospel for Asia helps all people – no matter who they are or what they believe. However, some people are choosing to follow after Jesus as a result of the kindness they receive through these programs. So, not only are you offering them physical water, you are offering them the one who gives Living Water. Jesus says to the woman at the well: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13,14). And that is the greatest gift of all!
We may not know on this side of Heaven the impact we can have on others, but THIS is what I believe the Bible is saying when it talks about storing up treasures in Heaven. Investing in human beings for the sake of Jesus is something that will last into eternity.
Click here to find out more about how you can help.
Click here to read a story about how digging a Jesus Well affected this family, and their village.