Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Have you ever stopped to think, when you turned on the tap in your kitchen or bathroom, what a privilege it is to have clean, drinkable water with just the twist of a hand? Water is essential for all of life, whether it’s for drinking, cooking with, cleaning, or growing other food. It has also become
so convenient for most of us that it is easy to forget how important it is.
Around the world, many do not have easy access to clean water. Globally, 1.8 billion people—about one out of every four—drink from contaminated water sources. Unsafe water leads to illnesses that claim the lives of 840,000 people each year, almost half of whom are children under the age of 5. Women and children spend hours each day collecting water, which keeps
them from school, work, and time with family. In eastern Uganda, an average family spends 660 hours a year collecting water. That’s two full months of work!
Access to clean water makes a huge difference in people’s lives. One place we don’t see water taken for granted is in the Bible. Perhaps that’s because the Bible’s original audience were people who lived in an arid, desert climate. They knew that water was precious, and over and over again water is used to symbolize God’s love and mercy to the people. “Everyone who
thirsts, come to the waters,” declares the prophet Isaiah, inviting the returning exiles to come and partake of God’s goodness. “Let justice roll down like waters, righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” God speaks through the prophet Amos. God’s righteousness is like an ever-flowing
stream. What wonderful news to the people used to digging deep wells for water or hoping for a full ravine.
The season of Lent was traditionally a time of preparation for baptism, when Christians receive the gift of being washed in God’s waters, of being reborn and claimed as children of God. Even though we are not preparing for our own baptisms this Lent, we can use this time as one of baptismal renewal—returning to the waters to remember that we are God’s and we are loved.
One of the gifts we receive in baptism is a calling and purpose from God. In the words of our current rite, we are called to “proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace.” I invite you this Lent to join St. Paul’s in Helping People Drop by Drop. Together we are raising money for Lutheran World Relief’s water programs.
Our goal is to raise enough for one of the following projects: $500 provides a water harvesting pit for ¼ acre field, along with resources and training for farmers. $600 provides a family water system, that keeps families safe from waterborne diseases and saves women and children the long, often dangerous trips to fetch water.
May God’s love be an ever-flowing stream in our lives, and may that love flow over into the lives of all we encounter.