“I want you to imagine for a moment that when you wake up tomorrow, all of the water-related fixtures and appliances have been removed from your home. The sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and showers are gone. Dishwasher, washing machine, garden hoses, sprinklers – all gone. […]
At first, you would be irritated by the minor inconvenience of having no showers, toilets, dishwasher, or washing machine – until it started to dawn on you that this is far more serious – a threat, actually, to your health, your family, even your survival. Finding a way to get water would begin to consume your life. Without food you can live sometimes for weeks, but without water?”
-The Hole in Our Gospel, p. 121
I have been living with a semi-constant awareness of how blessed I am. I say semi, because I often refill my water bottle, flush the toilet, and start the dishwasher with a sense of monotony rather than thankfulness. But I get these awareness “pings” throughout my day, like little pop-ups in my brain’s browser:
Remember your friend who can’t water her garden because they are experiencing a drought?
Remember being in places where the water service was spotty and inconsistent?
Remember that woman who has to take showers from her neighbors’ hose because she can’t afford to turn the water on in her own house?
All of these things happen here in the U.S. … But what about the people who don’t have ANY running water?
One of the stories in The Hole in Our Gospel that really brought the need for clean water home to me was from a village in Northern Ghana, where World Vision had drilled a well a few years back. When they went back to visit the village, the headmaster told them before the well he had only had 40 students – but now he had over 400. The only difference? The children didn’t have to hike back and forth collecting water all day long anymore! And on top of that, they weren’t being crippled by parasitic worms from the dirty water they were collecting. The worms caused people to live with chronic illness – including blindness. One well meant that children could go to school, women could start profitable businesses with their free time, and farms had better crop yields from improved irrigation. It literally transformed the entire village’s health and economy.
But there are still about 768 million people drinking deadly bacteria and parasites every day. In fact, a child dies every 23 seconds from waterborne diseases. (Hole in Our Gospel, p. 122)
One of the Bible verses that has stuck with me the most over the years comes from Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
I have been entrusted with a lot of water. My kids play in sprinklers. We take showers. Heck, even our flowers get clean water to drink.
So I have decided to listen to all the little pinging in my brain and to actually do something… because you know, they say faith without works is dead. And they might be right.
I researched a bunch of “water” non-profits, and found one that really stood out to me. They partner with agencies with long-standing relationships in communities around the world, like World Vision, find out what the most sustainable and culturally-sensitive water system would be, ensure that repair parts will be available long after they have left the area, and find donors to back all of their organizational costs so that donations towards clean water go 100% to clean water projects. And then they invite normal people like you and me to set up campaigns to help raise money towards clean water – and show you exactly where your money is going. So I set up a campaign!
Here’s the deal. My goal is to raise my own awareness level and raise some dollars at the same time. So one day this month, I am holding a Clean Water Awareness Day in my house! For 24 hours, I am going to keep a running tally for every time I turn the water on, flush the toilet, run the dishwasher, etc. At the end of the day, I’ll add up my tallies and donate that many dollars towards my clean water campaign, here. I’ll let you know how many tallies I end up with!
You can have a Clean Water Awareness Day at your house, too! I already have the campaign going. Together, we could change the entire health and economy of a village – and simultaneously change our outlook on our own lives. Maybe we could even water a crop of thankfulness and faith in our kids’ hearts. Please join me! It’s way more fun to do together. Just pick a day this month and put it in the comments below. Then get your pen and paper ready… we’ve got some water to raise!