According to unicef, everyday, nearly 1,000 children die from the lack of clean drinking water. One thousand children. Every. Single. Day. That’s a child dying every minute and half. That’s roughly the population of Tampa, Florida dying every year, due to something as correctable as the lack of clean drinking water. The human body is 60% water. The surface of the earth 71% covered by water. We’ve all seen the videos of why one should never attempt to drive through standing water.
We are well aware of the need for access to clean water in our lives, but I’m guessing that many of us take that access for granted. I know that I often do. I’ve never lived in a drought plagued place like California, north Alabama, or Sub-Saharan Africa. When I turn on the tap, cold, clean water comes out. It wasn’t until the Student Body President at VTS in 2004-05 mentioned it that I had ever even considered that on a daily basis I have the privilege of using clean drinking water to take a shower.
Two of our lessons for Lent 3 would remind us to not take water for granted. They are both stories of the power of water, not to sweep away a car in a flood, but to culturally and, more importantly, as a source of life, a gift from God. At Christ Church this week, we will hear these lessons in the context of a homily from Steve Young, not that one, the Executive Director of Living Waters for the World, Steve Young. He will share with us the work that his team, of which Christ Church will soon be included, is doing to bring access to clean water to the remotest of places.
Their foundational text is the story of Jesus meeting the woman at Jacob’s Well. In that story we hear not only that even Jesus needed water, but the power of the well socially, as this woman who had been married several times and was now living with a man who was not her husband, was forced to wait until the heat of midday to draw water. Jesus turns that hurt right-side up, meeting here there, at noon, and engaging her in conversation. He turns the concrete reality of water into a spiritual thirst for living water, and shows her and her whole town that thirst is not merely a physical desire, but it is at the core of who we are as created beings.
I’m struck by the power of water today, and I give thanks that I so rarely have to think about my own access to it even as I grieve that so many don’t have access to clean water to drink, let alone to spend 10-15 minutes showing in.