Then came frustration! I was thirsty and there was nothing else in the house to drink! A few weeks ago I had determined not to buy any more pop or tea until Bob was back to working five days a week. When his work got cut back and we took a big pay cut I had to look at ways to cut costs, as well. I wanted to drop my coffee, too, but Bob wouldn’t let me (probably because he didn’t want to sacrifice his coffee) so I cut down from two big mugs a day to one. I consoled myself at the time with the thought that it would do me good to drink more water anyhow.
Now here I was, though, with nothing else in the house and the water looking very suspicious! I called Bob and told him what had happened. He didn’t have any answers as to what was going on, but he did remind me that there was a case of bottled water in the basement. Whew! Not only did I have water for the afternoon, but also water for Robbie’s feedings.
I was still nervous, though, about what could have caused this problem. Was it a problem in our own house that would be expensive and lengthy to fix, or, hopefully, was it a neighborhood problem that, though it might take time to fix, would at least not cost us anything? I decided to call the water department to see if they could shed any light on the situation.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” the lady on the other end of the phone told me. “They’re flushing out water hydrants, and when they turn them on, oxygen gets in the pipes and that is just oxygenation you are seeing. Set your water out on the counter for a little while and it will clear up. It’s perfectly safe to drink.”
I had my doubts. It didn’t look like oxygenation to me. I was right! I left that water sitting there for hours and it never did clear up. In fact as the afternoon progressed the water coming out of the faucets went from cloudy to slightly yellow and cloudy. When I flushed the toilet the water coming in was a darker yellow and cloudy. Ewww! I was so glad I hadn’t trusted that woman’s explanation!
Finally, after about seven hours, the water began to clear up and eventually we got our nice, clean water back. The whole experience had me thinking, though, about how blessed we are to have good, running water available at the turn of a faucet. Just seven hours without it had me frustrated and even a little panicky. I thought about those people who have been through a hurricane or flood or earthquake and have to line up for bottled water for days or weeks at a time. Or even worse, those poor people in third world countries who barely survive day by day for years because they have no water that is fit to drink.
I wrote a book a few years back called “The Mystery of the Kenyan King.” At the time I did some research on the lack of clean water in Kenya and other countries around the world. Did you know there are over one billion men, women, and children (more than four times the population of the United States and Canada combined) in over fifty countries who do not have safe water to drink? They live in overcrowded urban ghettos, in refugee camps, and in towns and villages in rural areas of developing countries. Less than 50% of the population in these countries has access to safe drinking water and only 25% has access to sanitary systems. Water is either insufficient, or polluted, or may not exist at all. Many of these people are victims of drought. Their countryside is transformed into an arid wasteland and they do not have enough water to grow and harvest food or to keep their livestock alive. They do not have enough clean water to protect themselves and their children from hunger and disease.
Just a few hours without clean water drove home the point to me that water is essential for life. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to be thirsty every minute of every day. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it must be to hear your weakened baby wail for hours at a time because he is hungry and thirsty and sick. I can’t imagine living a life without clean water like a billion people on this planet do.
We are so blessed. Not only do we have fresh, clean water to satisfy our physical thirst, but we have living water available to us also that will satisfy our spiritual thirst and give us life everlasting. The book of John tells us the story of the woman of Samaria who went to Jacob’s well one day to draw water. She met Jesus there. The account in chapter four tells us, Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” (NLT)
Living water, freely given to all who ask so that they may never thirst again. Jesus said in John 7:37 “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” I am so thankful to have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and been given the opportunity to accept that Living Water. There are billions who have not heard the story of Jesus. Just as a billion or more thirst physically, even more are dying because they have never heard of the Living Water of Jesus Christ.
I am very conscious every day of the “little things” we take for granted, and thank the Lord for those basic necessities of life that we enjoy without even thinking about it. When I turn on the tap I expect good, safe water to come out. I have a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, clothes and shoes on my body—so much more than billions of people around the world. I do not know why God has blessed me with all the necessities of life when billions barely survive, but I am thankful and praise Him for it.
I am thankful, too, that in this country we are free to hear and believe and share the Gospel. This week, let us pray especially for those who are not as blessed as we are, either physically or spiritually. If it is in our power, let us give a cup of water in Jesus’ name to someone this week. We can help a missionary bring physical and spiritual water to those who thirst. We can share with our own neighbors or someone in need in our area. Times are difficult for many of us, but no matter what our circumstances are, there is always someone in worse straits than we are. Perhaps we cannot help a lot, but we can help somehow. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water…verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
A cup of cold water, whether physical or spiritual—an essential for life.