Take a random slice of American life and chances are good you’ll find someone with a water bottle – at the beach, the mall, the office, even in church. In fact, it’s unusual to go anywhere and not find water either for sale, at a fountain or a tap. We have our choice of countless different kinds and sizes, readily available wherever and whenever we want. Some of us even have such a discriminating palate that we only drink certain brands. We have that luxury. But many, many, do not.
Almost 1.2 billion people in the world live in areas where water is physically scarce (“water scarcity”. who.int. n.d. August 1, 2012). Statistics of this kind conjure up images of little huts deep in the bush of some far away land. Far removed from our comfortable, convenient lifestyles. But what if it wasn’t some far away scenario? What if it was your young daughter who had to miss school and walk three miles to fetch water from a dirty pond that you could only hope wouldn’t make the family sick? What if it was your baby showing signs of dehydration or symptoms of a water-borne illness? And what if there was nothing you could do to help them, not even pray, because no one had ever told you of a God who loved and cared for you?
It’s unthinkable that 2.2 million people in developing countries die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Or that in the past ten years, diarrhea has killed more children than all people lost to armed conflict since World War II (“The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis”. blueplanetnetwork.org. n.d. August 1, 2012). Even more heartbreaking is the fact that these deaths could have been prevented by the simple provision of clean water. But when the average price to drill a well is around $5000 (“Water For LIFE”. lifetoday.org. 2012. August 7, 2012), how could a family living on $2 a day ever hope to have the clean water they need?
But, perhaps, there is hope…
What if there was a way to drill a well at a fraction of that $5000 price tag? And not only drill one well, but provide equipment and training to the community so they could drill numerous wells for themselves and surrounding areas? And at the same time these precious people are receiving life-saving physical water for their bodies, they also receive soul-saving living water for their spirits. Now, what if you could use your God-given gifts to help turn these hypothetical questions into reality for hundreds or thousands of hurting, desperate people?
The Water4 Foundation equips local villages with the training and tools to drill wells and also shares the gospel with them, giving them not only hope for this life, but hope for life eternal. Proverbs tells us that, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God,” (14:31) and, “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy,” (31:9). Later, Matthew 25:40 exhorts, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.” Clearly, helping the less fortunate is not just a nice thing to do, it’s a Biblical mandate.
As Christians, we are God’s hands and feet extended to this world, His light of hope to shine in the darkness. As writers, our words can be that light. We all know the power of words and we live in an age where our words can be on the other side of the globe in seconds. This power of words combined with the ability of technology gives us a mighty force literally at our fingertips.
But we must use it. We have an opportunity to be part of The Water4 Foundation, a ministry that saves lives, physically and spiritually. God blesses us to be a blessing and that includes our talents and abilities. Although the problem seems overwhelming, small actions taken together can make a big difference. Are you willing to take action today? To join with this like-minded community in utilizing your gifts to help save “the least of these”? Time is so short and opportunities rarely return. Let’s take God at His Word. Let’s “stir up the gift of God that is in [us]” (2 Timothy 1:6) and see all that He can do!