DID YOU TAKE A SHOWER TODAY? BRUSH YOUR TEETH? Brew a cup of tea or coffee with your breakfast? Did your lunch or dinner include any produce that was grown with the benefit of irrigation? No doubt, you have used water today.
Most of us here in the U.S. have plentiful access to water. We never doubt that we will be able to quench our thirst, maintain personal hygiene, or access fresh food. Water is such a ubiquitous part of life that it’s easy to take for granted.
But that is not the case for so many of our brothers and sisters around the world.
Many of the people with whom Lutheran World Relief works tell us that water is a constant concern. Some may be dealing with too much water
— torrential rains that flood their fields. More often it’s too little water — prolonged drought that parches the landscape and makes it difficult to maintain healthy crops. Perhaps the water is there, but it’s not easily accessible — they need infrastructure to be able to bring water into their homes, or at least to their villages, rather than spending several hours a day fetching and carrying it.
Because LWR focuses on agricultural work, water is particularly important to us. When we interview communities at the beginning of an agriculture
project, many of them start by telling us they need water to drink. But probing a little more deeply, we learn that they also struggle with irrigating
crops, and therefore they can’t grow enough crops to sell for income that will support their families. So when we focus on that root problem — enabling rural farmers to water their fields — they begin to earn enough money from their harvests so that they can then invest in digging a well that
meets their family’s water needs for drinking and household use.
Scarcity of water is a global problem. The United Nations estimates that water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the world’s population, and a recent report by the World Bank finds that water scarcity “could hinder economic growth, spur migration, and spark conflict.”
When you throw a pebble into a pond, you see the ripples emanate out from the point of impact. When you meet a community’s need for water, the ripple impact can be profound: more household income; improved nutrition; better health; more time; less conflict over scarce resources. Their communities are more stable and secure, and individuals and families are able to meet their potential.
Water imagery abounds in Scripture, from the Great Flood of Genesis to Revelation’s River of Life. All of God’s children deserve access to water — not only the healing spiritual waters of our faith, but also the actual, physical, life-sustaining stuff of raindrops and rivers here on earth. Your support makes it possible. So grab a cool glass of water and read on to meet just a few of the people you have helped with the gift of water.