Leading Cause of Illness and Death

Dirty Water in Glass with Straw

Would you drink polluted water?
What if you had no choice?
Image credit: aaronamat / 123RF Stock Photo

In the past hour, I’ve flushed my toilet, washed my hands, poured fresh water from the kitchen tap into the coffee maker, packed a bottle of spring water in my daughter’s lunch bag, brushed my teeth with water from the tap in the bathroom, and took a nice, long shower.  And it’s barely even 8am. Throughout the remainder of the day, I will enjoy the privilege of having purified water within reach to cook with, clean with, and bathe in.  If you are reading this, you most likely have the same privilege.  Depending upon where you live, you may even water your lawn or wash your car(s).

Fortunately, you and I have access to this basic, fundamental need, but a staggering number of people do not.  The grim reality is this: about 1.2 billion people in our world today will have to fetch tainted water that teems with deadly bacteria and parasites.  Even more horrifying, is the fact that a youngster dies every eight seconds of a waterborne disease. Richard Sterns, president of World Vision U.S., states:

In Africa they don’t say that water is important to their lives; they say that water is life.  It is absolutely the foundation upon which civilization and human life is built, and the best news is that we have the knowledge and the technology to provide it.  All we lack is the will. (140)

The Human Development Report 2006 corresponds with Stern’s sentiment. “Debunking the myth that the crisis is the result of scarcity, this report argues poverty, power and inequality are at the heart of the problem” (UNDP).

March 22, 2013 is World Water Day.  Check your water bill to learn how many gallons your household uses a day.  If you appreciate the luxury of easy access to safe, clean water (and I’m sure you do), be a part of changing the world. My friend, Laura, has a personal goal of providing and entire village in Fiji with clean water this year!  On World Water Day, I will support that goal by supplying water to one family.  One family at a time, one village at a time, will become a revolution.

What will you do?  There are many ways to respond, from educating yourself and others about the global water crisis, to helping to fund one of the many programs that are making a difference.   World Hope International works in such a way. WHI is a Christian relief and development organization that has been empowering people in the poorest countries around the world since 1996.  WHI drills wells, builds latrines, and educates communities. That means, by supporting the efforts of WHI, you can help replace contaminated water and transform a community!

Dear Reader, on World Water Day, thank God for every precious drop of life you drink or touch.  Pray about how He would have you to personally respond.  Then act upon what God places upon your heart to do. Some may want to see how many hours they can go without consuming or using water.  Do you think you can go for an entire day?  Those who challenge themselves in this way will gain a deeper sense of appreciation for fresh water and will likely respond in compassion by taking on a specific water project. In any case, whether you give up or drink up… look up, and give thanks!

Works Cited

Stearns, Richard. The Hole in Our Gospel. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010.

United Nations Development Programme, “Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty, and the global water crisis.” <http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2006/> (21 Mar. 2013).

Works Consulted

Jan and Susan Blumenthal, “Dying for a Drink of Clean Water.” Orlando Sentinel. <http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2005-09-22/news/WATER22_1_unsafe-water-water-and-sanitation-water-is-essential> (21 Mar. 2013).

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