What can you do with one billion liters of clean, safe water? That’s how many liters you, the supporters, donors, volunteers and partners of Healing Waters International have helped deliver in the first 15 years of the life of this organization! On February 15 we are celebrating our 15th birthday and it’s all thanks to all of you.
Over the past 15 years together we have been part of something world changing. The UN estimates that over this period the number of people in the world who don’t have access to an improved water source has been cut in half. Millions of children’s lives have been saved and millions more have been protected from the debilitating effects of water borne disease that prevents them from living a normal active, thriving life.
That’s great progress and you’re a part of that. The billion liters that Healing Waters has produced is not just ‘improved’ or better than before, rather the water quality is on par with what is consumed in the United States. High quality water, along with sanitation and hygiene training, ensures that the maximum health benefits of safe water can be reached and bring the greatest impact on a community. The third piece of our holistic WASH model, the small enterprise water business, brings economic sustainability, profit and jobs to make a transformative impact on the community – people thrive physically, socially and spiritually when there is access to clean water.
Yes, we do see safe water help improve people’s lives spiritually, not just physically. The UN says that if you could only do one thing to alleviate systemic and structural poverty in developing countries, it should be to invest in making safe water accessible and permanent (United Nations University). Our 15 years spent with people in poor communities in 15 countries has shown us that it is not just material poverty. There is a spiritual poverty that is often the result of a lack of access to safe water.
To understand this, imagine one of these communities was your home. Imagine the daily mental , emotional, and spiritual challenges you’d face knowing that you had to make decisions like “should I give my daughter this water that might kill her or do I let her stay thirsty, dehydrated, and sick in bed with stomach aches and fever?” Would you not begin to wonder at times if there is really a God who cares for you and loves you when there isn’t access to a simple thing like clean water? The poverty of spirit caused by the lack of access to clean water robs people of dignity, vitality, and hope for the future.
Our experiences are full of stories of how the gift of safe water can reveal God’s love to a thirsty soul. After all, it is Jesus himself who brought the good news of the gospel to people and so often used water as a way of helping people understand and experience how the gospel changes a person’s life. He invited people to drink from the water of life that he alone could gives them, which he said in turn would cause a river of life to flow from within them. This is the gospel message which we are privileged to live out alongside many wonderful brothers, sisters, churches, and communities in each project we undertake around the world.
So, what can you do with a billion liters of safe water? The answer is, more than you can imagine. You can turn thirsting individuals into thriving communities. Where safe water is abundant, so is life. Raise your cup (of water) with me and give thanks to God for his life-sustaining gift of water and let’s do another billion liters together in the next few years!