Heard the phrase, “Water, water everywhere, but nary a drop to drink”?
The green, algea-covered water of Lake Victoria.
I am living on an island on the second largest lake on the world. Yet, you couldn’t pay me enough money for me to drink straight from Lake Victoria. As you can see in the above photo, the water has a lot of algae, as well as many other bacteria and other “cooties” that can cause a plethora of diseases.
I am very thankful for Duvon McGuire, the founder of New Life International, a Christian outreach organization. While as a missionary kid in Ecuador, Duvon became very ill when he drank contaminated water. Motivated by his own brush with death, he developed a water filtration system, using common table salt and a 12-volt battery to make chlorine, in his garage and eventually patented the machine and started New Life to share his design with the rest of the world, specifically those who do not have access to clean water. We have been using this particular system on the islands for about five years. We can take the filthy water and purify it enough for safe drinking water. Remarkable, huh?
The type of jerrican where we store our purified water - safe for drinking.
For the last two weeks, the water and sanitation team of Shepherd’s Heart has been conducting follow-up meetings on various islands that have received these filtration systems. This remarkable machine costs several thousand dollars, yet they are freely shared with needy communities, but with several conditions. They must form an oversight committee, develop a safe place for the system to operate, take care of it, and formulate a way of collecting the water, purifying it and then redistributing it. Unfortunately, the team has encountered many camps or villages that seem unable to meet these conditions. Some have abused the equipment, using it for other purposes and damaging it.
Other communities refuse to work together, saying they do not want to contribute to something that might benefit another – someone from a different tribe, language or country – people they dislike or even hate. Some sites have had their systems recently removed because they could not follow through with what was expected.
We find it baffling how the people do not value such a gift enough to use it and benefit from it. While trying to “hurt” others by not helping them, they are actually harming themselves. So many people are sick and some die on the islands simply because they are drinking dirty water. But, clean water is within their grasp. So, why do they refuse such an essential gift?
My primary conclusion to this question is that they are blinded by Satan. As we know, Satan’s only purposes are to steal, kill and destroy. He has long had a stronghold on this great continent and kept people under bondage in so many areas. He does not want them to succeed, nor even be healthy. He wants them forever under his cruel dominance.
This week I have been memorizing John 6:35. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” (Emphasis mine.)
I find it amazing that we can find in Jesus the “water” to satisfy our spiritual thirst, not just for today or for a week or a month, but forever. He says when we “drink” of Him, we will never, ever thirst again. Incredible!! And, I can guarantee that He offers the purest, cleanest, most refreshing water anywhere!
Yet why I don’t drink more often and deeply of Him? Why don’t I remain at the thirst-quenching pool of His Word? Why do I try to swallow what I think will satisfy my soul, when those things only leave me more parched than before I drank of them? Am I more concerned for my physical thirst than my spiritual thirst?
So, what is the answer for me and the people of the islands? Jesus said “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32)
It is my prayer that the people of the islands will come to know the Living Water – Jesus – and will be set free.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.” – Isaiah 50:8-10 (Emphasis mine)
Note: According to New Life’s website, www.waterfortheworld.com, approximately 25,000 people die each day from waterborne diseases.