We’re digging for water.
The lack of access to clean water is the leading cause of death in underdeveloped countries.
Try to imagine walking on a three hour journey…twice a day…to collect a liquid which shares “two diabolical identities–life mixed with death. It is both cure and poison.”(Dan Haseltine)
Inside the containers of millions of people around the world is a mixture of “water, dirt, algae, cow and goat feces, bacteria, mosquito larvae and other insect eggs and parasites and various waterborne diseases waiting for a host.” (Haseltine)
They are forced every day to make the choice…drink and die.
Or don’t drink and die.
And die they do.
4500 children die EVERY day due to water related diseases.
Did you get that?
4500 children every day.
And the solution lies simply below the surface…in a relatively inexpensive and permanent solution.
And for these reasons, we knew from the beginning one of our projects was going to be an attempt to dig a fresh water well.
This is hard for us to imagine because WATER is NOT something we worry about.
But again, please try. Eyes open.
We found the above mentioned organization to partner with and were so excited about a well-digging opportunity.
But as the holidays approached, we got nervous. We feared everyone (including ourselves) would start holding their money a bit tighter as Christmas approached. We didn’t want to commit to building a well and then have to come up short.
We thought about it and prayed about it for several weeks.
I was absolutely consumed by it.
Then it hit us.
Isn’t that the point?
It’s the point of all these things. All these projects. To force us to loosen our grip on earthly consumption. To strengthen our resolve to issues of justice. To keep our eyes open. To give more. Sacrifice more. To keep the world from changing us.
Then it was these statistics that sealed the deal—
Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas every year.
It would cost a third of that to give the whole world clean water.
Are you kidding me?
That was it. We were no longer digging one well. We were launching in the middle of holiday season. And we’re going for 10 billion.
Water For Christmas.
We’re buying Water For Christmas.
We are doing it because we want to. Because it resonates with who we want to be.
And we are inviting everyone to join us.
If you want…individuals, families, churches, businesses.
We can all give up something.
This holiday season.
In order that people can have clean water.
We have a web page set up with charity:water where donations can be made. water4christmas.com. 100% of our donations go directly to digging wells. Donations can be made there or by check and/or cash collection. Through them, we will be able to track our progress. Details coming.
They said they have a huge need in Liberia right now. And well, where the needs are is where we want to be.
So we are working on well projects in Liberia.
charity:water provides the post-drill training in maintenance and repair to the local community. A very important piece of long term impact.
We will wrap this campaign up on Dec. 31st.
It’s not hard to imagine what Jesus would desire from us in the celebration of His birthday–
“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me….To the extent that you did it to one of these, even the least of them, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35,40)
It’s His heart. And I want it to be mine.
And so this year I am asking for Water For Christmas.
I know these issues are on the heart of many of you as well. If we joined forces we could begin to make a serious dent.
And sometimes we just need the opportunity.
So that is the point of Water For Christmas…to unite people from all across the country in a common goal. Clean water for all people.
We also know that when we come together in heart and mind, “there will be no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:32-34)
Clean water is within the reach of this generation.
For goodness sake, it’s 2% of American’s annual Christmas spending.
We can do that.
And we’re starting with Water For Christmas.
Our friend Pastor Larry in Maryland was one of the first to join us in Water For Christmas commitment. It’s a cool story and you can read it here. He says this perfectly so I’m just going to steal it–“So, if you want to join me in saying, “All I want for Christmas is water,” great, but don’t do it out of guilt or obligation or anything like that or else you will have a miserable Christmas. Do it because you want to. Maybe you will want to give up one gift for water. Or simplify Christmas dinner and give the savings to Water for Christmas.”
This is going to look different for everyone.
But we can all put water on our radar of things to care about.
I can say personally that since I have decided to think water and simplify Christmas a great deal this year…excitement and not stress have been reigning in my heart and mind. We’re still pulling out the tree and hanging lights. Just not buying any new decorations. We have plenty. We will buy the kids gifts…but probably just one. One meaningful gift. Andy and I will forego trying to come up with something to buy each other…and instead buy water. And watch our money tip the scale ever so slightly from consumerism to compassion. We’re still thinking about continued ways we can incorporate water into our Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I can tell you I think about it every time I turn on the faucet, or fill a glass with ice, or take a hot shower, or turn the cap of a brand new water bottle.
And in the next two months, each time we make a sacrifice or a reduced spending effort, we will donate immediately to Water4Christmas.com.
And if we all did something, we would be well on our way to world change by Dec. 31.
I do not see this as another token charity that we pull out at Christmas time–appease our conscience–and then carry on as normal. This is not meant to replace or compete with the programs already in place in your churches and family traditions. I guess I kind of want us to feel it. To give up something. Not to do this in addition to overindulgence. Sacrifice something. Make it’s absence felt. Mother Teresa said, “I hope you are not giving only your surplus. You must give what costs you, make a sacrifice, go without something you like, that your gift may have some value before God. Then you will be truly brothers and sisters to the poor who are deprived of even the things they need.” (Believe me, I’m squirming as I type that too.)
$20 gives one African clean water for life. $5,000 dollars digs a well for a whole village.
10 billion dollars gives the WHOLE WORLD clean water.
So the only thing standing in the way of life and health for millions of people in Africa the inability to pay for the drilling to clean water.
We can do that, people.
In Africa, “Water is Life.”
We can give life.
And that’s what we are going to do.
Water For Christmas.
(OK, details later today on how to get started! Lots of fun things for you to use to get Water For Christmas started. Stay tuned).