Did you know there is approximately 326 million trillion gallons of water on Earth? 97% comes from the ocean, 2% is frozen in the polar ice caps, and less than 1% of water is found in fresh lakes, rivers, and springs underground. Although most of this water is salted from the ocean, there is still plenty of water to satisfy the thirst of 7 billion people on Earth.
Isn’t it sad that there are still people who struggle with getting access to clean water? I heard a story about a missionary who visited an underdeveloped country in Africa. Every day, kids from different indigenous tribes would travel about 10 miles to find clean water to drink.
During the missionary’s stay, he met a young boy who was in charge of bringing fresh water back to his family. The boy told the missionary, “Once you get to the water source, that is the beginning of the battle. There are at least 100 thirsty people hovering around the well and filling up their buckets too. Most of them are bigger, stronger, and older than me.” The missionary asked how long it takes to get water. The boy said, “It depends on the day. If I make it earlier than normal, I can fill my buckets up before getting kicked or thrown out of the way by the rest of the crowd. If I get there late, it may take the whole day.”
This story informs us that the problem is not the total supply of water on the Earth. In providing the Earth with water, God gave us an abundant amount of resources. In many cases, local water shortages are due to the lack of economic development of the nation as a whole to be able to transport, purify, deliver, and pay for clean water. There is also political hindrance and war. For example, it’s tough to get into East African countries like Sudan and Somalia because of all the violence.
Fortunately, there are more developing countries with access to clean water. Drinking water has increased from 30% in 1970 to 80% in 2000. There is definite progress, but its still not enough for countries along the eastern border of Africa. The statistics have remained relatively the same for the last 40 years. This needs to change!
In John 4:14, Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for water. He tells her: “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
As Christians, we are called to love both God and our neighbor. The best way to love our neighbor is first to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They need to know that salvation is a free gift from God. It is free water, and everyone has access to it. More importantly, this water is permanent. It doesn’t leave you thirsty for more. Instead, it satisfies the soul and gives eternal life to all who believe. If we confess our wrongdoing (lying, stealing, jealously, anger, lust, etc) God is faithful and just to forgive us and renew our relationship.
Because of this good news, we should be motivated to love our neighbor. How can we love them? For some of us, it’s going to Africa, helping them drill for more wells, using our agricultural gifts to assist with irrigation, and making sure to provide all of them with freshwater. By doing this, we can show God’s love in a practical way.
If you are not able to travel, then I suggest praying that God would send people to help or donate to a legitimate non-profit organization that helps countries get access to clean water. As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.” So then, go and do something!