“A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an
optimist see the same glass as half full. But a giving person
sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might
be thirsty.”
(G. Donald Gale)

You guys ready?

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.

Watch this:

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.

Little somethings.

Big somethings.

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, โ€œAll I want for Christmas is water,โ€ great, but donโ€™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).

20 Responses to water.

  1. Amy Taylor says:

    Love it Jody. I was just talking about this – the sacrificing this Christmas, on my blog. I just linked to you!

  2. Sara says:

    Awesome Awesome Awesome!!! And so well written too!! Wow you amaze me more and more every day!

  3. courtney says:

    ahhh!!! my blood is pumping. i LOVE it! and am WITH you. (and, as always, very well written!)

  4. Candi says:

    I’m in!! This is great Jody, simply GREAT!! I’m excited and cannot think of anything better to spread Christmas joy, I will get the word out and pray for generous hearts to make this project a huge success!! Praise be !!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Tosha says:

    I’m in! And along with me with be more!

  6. Tisha says:

    Yes! Sacrificing some things for ourselves to give water for Christmas! Yes!

  7. Dianne says:

    Can’t wait for the details…..We will definitely be working on a donation!
    Dianne S

  8. emily wermel says:

    this is perfect…i think i’ll link this to my blog and get the word out. seriously? 10 billion=clean water for the whole world?? why hasn’t this happened yet?? thanks, jody for helping all of us feel a bit of hope in how to tackle the massive problems that exist in a tangible way…p.s. have you read Henri Nouwen’s book Compassion-i think you would love it. it changed my life and way of thinking.

  9. Tammy says:

    What a fabulous event we get to take part of here. Not out of ‘guilt, obligation’, but out of total WANTING to!!! I go to the refrigerator many times a day, push a button to load up my cup with ice, then push the button to dispense my FILTERED water. Do I even think about it?? Not at all. I push a button, and there it is.

    But now….to REALIZE and really TRY to wrap my mind around the fact that many people (ONE person is too many) have to drink water that’s sustaining them, yet, filling their body full of CONTAMINATES???? The water in the video was horrifying to me. Is this the kind of water that the women walk miles and miles in order to get?? Or is it actually clean water they go and get? No matter which….Words escape me here.

    I will be soooo honored to be a tiny part of this. For us to ‘give up’ anything and hand that money over so people can LIVE and be NOURISHED from their water and not be diseased, sickened, or even die is so easy. I think in some way we ALL can do this AND make a difference!!!

    Possibly give up eating out once a week and giving up that money,
    Missing that movie show that’s in the theaters and wait for the video,
    Perhaps buying some store brands instead of name brands,
    Baking (Sorry Jody!!LOL) instead of buying store bought foods,

    I think people could keep adding money saving ideas left and right here and we’d ALL benefit from the ideas and could help the ‘water account’ grow even more if we have more ideas.

    What about an ongoing list like this, Jody?? I’m sure there are a TON of ideas going through people’s heads that they’d like to share????!!!!!!!!

  10. Tammi says:

    Jody, Jody, Jody….how do I love thee, let me count the ways…..

    Charity:water is an absolutely fabulous organization! Scott (Harrison — the founder) has come to our church and spoken on his journey and how he got involved, and it is just extraordinary! I have met with some of the people involved with the organization, and let me help you reassure your readers that not only is this LEGITIMATE organization, but it is one that is concerned with the sustainability of wells that get built. Sooooo many wells that are built with the best of intentions end up running dry because the local people aren’t taught how to maintain and make repairs.

    You are partnering with a group who I absolutely LOVE and it will be my humble pleasure to join your heart in making what is such a trivial sacrifice of materialism to give life across this planet.

    LOVE you!

  11. Linda Mills says:

    I’m so glad you are doing this! This cause was on my list of causes to work with next year, but now I can rally support for you and can’t think of better way to serve Christ during this time of His celebration! Off to start get everyone I know involved!
    May God continue to lead your heart with compassion.

  12. Rach says:

    My friend just directed me here after she read a post on my blog – I LOVE what I am reading!

  13. I LOVE Charity: Water. I have their link of my blog and visit their website regularly. What a wonderful idea for your next ‘project.’ Can’t wait to see the change that takes place!

    xoxo lisa

  14. hollyann says:

    You can count on a donation from this family….don’t know if you know this, but our Addy died because she contracted cholera from unclean water! this issue has a face for us!

  15. Marcie says:

    You know we’re in! We’re going to give up having a Christmas tree this year so that the money can go for clean water instead. We’ve always had a real tree and most of the time have cut our own. We love the tradition and the smell of fresh pine in the house. This year, we will help people in desperate need to have clean water and we might even tie a red bow around a water bottle as part of our decorations. It will remind us to pray for Africa!

    We’re already praying that this movement will sweep through our church in Maryland and can’t wait to see what God will do!

    Thanks, Jody!

  16. Alan Briggs says:

    Jody, Mandy Houle put me onto your blog, but I helping launch a project this holiday season for water as well! I am the high school pastor at Vanguard and really have been burdened lately for clean water in the world. I’m trying to get the video uploaded on YouTube and trying to get other pastors to jump on board. We are working through Living Water International. I’d love for you to email me and we can talk through this.

    Blessing to you as you serve the world! Alan Briggs

  17. What an amazing juxtaposition: Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas every year./It would cost 10 billion dollars to give the whole world clean water.
    I’ll spread the word at my church!

  18. Shannon says:

    Wow! I’m hooked! Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention! Jen shared this with us on her blog, and i am so excited about doing Christmas differently this year!
    We have so much …… it’s long overdue for our focus to shift from the commercialism of christmas to Christ.
    For the first time in a long time i am looking forward to the season!

  19. brandi says:

    Jody. . .I’m sorry I haven’t posted on this yet! I’m going to do it now.

    I was also wondering. . I have a really cool picture of a water hole in Uganda. . .just people gathering water where there really is none. Can I email it to you? I thought maybe we could do a framed picture or something as an auction or purchase for people who want to keep it in front of them? Just an idea!

    Thanks for your passion!

  20. Sharon A., Mount Airy, MD says:

    I’m in. I heard Pastor Larry talking about this and had to check it out for myself. Every year I exchange gifts with the girls from my playgroup. This year instead of getting them another ornament or gourmet chocolate box I’m giving them all a reuseable water bottle with a card attached telling them I have made a $20 donation in their name to Water 4 Christmas. Right there five people will have water for 20 years! So easy and worthwhile. God Bless you Jodi and your family. It only takes a little spark.

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