This Sunday, the 22nd of March, the world unites in recognition of World Water Day. And no, it's not just another excuse for the card companies to get rich. It's to draw the attention to a large percentage of the world that there is still a large part of the world that has to deal with the consequences of not having access to clean water. We can choose to ignore it, to not talk about it, but that doesn't make the problem go away. So on behalf of those who are suffering, it's time for the rest of us to stop playing ostrich!
I recently got an email from Gospel for Asia with some startling facts (they provide sources, if you want to see them, contact me, and I'll forward the email). And if you're wondering why GFA is concerned about water rather than the gospel, there's a simple explanation: Of the 750 million people (about 2 ½ times the population of the US) without access to clean water, about half live in South Asia. And they make a connection with this comment that someone posted on their FB page “Clean water is to the body what Jesus is to the spirit… LIFE." Gospel for Asia is concerned because the people who are suffering the most live in Asia. And think of the scriptural connection: Jesus is the "Living Water'
Consider these statistics (and every one of those 'statistics' is a real person, not just a number) concerning the lack of clean water.
· Moms have little choice but to give their children dirty water to drink.
· Every minute, a child dies from a water-related disease.
· Globally, women spend 200 million hours collecting water for their families.
· Open defecation and the lack of sanitation only worsen the water crisis. About 65% of people living in rural India do not have access to a toilet.
· More than 840,000 people (more than the population of San Francisco) die each year (2,300 each day) from water related diseases.
So we have it pretty good here. For many of us in Utah a big 'dirty water' problem is remembering to rinse off with culinary water, the vegetables that get watered with the unclean 'secondary water. But imagine if that's all we had to drink? What would it be like to do dishes with the irrigation water. How would you like to shower in unclean water, or wash your hair with it? Most of us would be a bit squeamish. We don't even like to swim in dirty smelly water, no way would we drink it or bathe in it. But Utah, and the western part of the US is under drought conditions. What happens when water is rationed, or if clean water is just not available?
If you're like me, you don't think a lot about the problems facing people who don't have access to clean water because, well, those problems just don't affect me.
Jesus might not see it that way though; When He talked about the sheep and the goats (see Matthew 25) when of the things he mentioned was giving 'the least of these' something to drink. "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" Jesus was referring to any group as "less than" he was saying they needed more.
If you've been blessed with clean water, try to find it in your heart to donate to those who aren't quite so fortunate. I'm helping Living Water International this year (click for info), but Gospel for Asia also offers several opportunities to help provide clean water throughout South Asia click here for more info.
Whew, that made me thirsty, think I'll have a nice glass of cold clean water. Oh wait...