"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" - John 7:37-38
We drink it, we bathe and shower in it, we wash our dishes and our clothes with it, we flush it down our toilets. Nothing too out of the ordinary--for us.
Sadly, this is not the ordinary story for the rest of the world. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 663 million people that do not have access to safe and clean water. That's about 1 in every 10 people. Although this number is an improvement from previous years, the statistic is still staggering.
Many families may live near some kind of water source, but the water source is contaminated or has been dried up due to drought. Others may live miles and miles away from the nearest safe water source, and must travel by foot for hours each day in order to retrieve barely enough to survive upon. Others still may technically have access to safe water, but are required to pay exorbitant amounts of money to use it. Can you imagine how difficult your average day would be if you no longer had any water?
This is reality for our brothers and sisters around the world, many of whom do not know or follow Jesus Christ as Lord. Although there are many organizations working hard to provide access to physical water, not as many are attempting to use these projects as an opportunity to provide access to the Living Water.
At IDES, we believe that generously and willingly meeting the physical need of someone who is suffering is one of the best ways to open the door to meet his or her spiritual need for Christ.
Jesus himself said to the woman at the well, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13).
God blesses each of us to participate with Him in providing safe water to those who are thirsty and in physical need. But, that is not our final goal. We want to point those who are suffering towards Jesus Christ, so that they may "never be thirsty again." With this end in mind, and with multitudes of prayers, the thirsty are indeed receiving a drink of the Living Water.
"A new water well is a great evangelism tool. The people who are from many backgrounds appreciate the clean water and are willing to come to church and learn about Jesus," reported our partner in India.
In 2015 alone, IDES funded more than 20 specifically water-related projects for our partner missions all over the world thanks to the generosity of our donors. Here is one recent examples of the way God multiplies your generosity to meet needs and adopt more children into His family.
Pictured on the right is Antoine and his family in Haiti. Antoine was deported back to Haiti from the Dominican Republic (despite having legal papers) during the recent political situation that forced many Haitians living and working in the D.R. to go back to Haiti. They had no permanent home, no source of income, and no regular access to clean water while living in the deportee camp on the border.
One of our partner missions in Haiti began reaching out to the camp and trying to meet some of the residents' basic needs, when they met Antoine. After hearing his story, they hired him to help with the construction of a clean water cistern funded by IDES.
His hard work was noticed, and another mission in Haiti decided to provide he and his family with a permanent house. He now works for that same mission and helps his fellow deportees by constructing homes for them.
Another recent project was completed in India, where a large filtration unit was installed at an orphanage (pictured at the top).
"The drought conditions in India have caused a severe shortage in the water supply. More than 100 children at the children’s home in India struggled to have enough clean water for drinking, basic health and hygiene needs. Water had to be purchased and trucked in on a daily basis just to provide a minimum supply," our partner in India said.
This particular project led several members of the surrounding community to place their faith in Jesus (baptism pictured below).
"We are deeply grateful to IDES for providing the water needed to minister to the needs of many while the Living Water of Jesus Christ is preached."
May the number of those who have access to safe water continue to increase, and may the number of those who know Jesus increase even more. Below are a few more pictures from IDES water projects in 2015.
"Water Facts: Facts About Water And Sanitation - Water.org." Water.org. World Health Organization, 2015. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.