My last post focused on our church’s annual participation with the Advent Conspiracy. For those of you unfamiliar, there are four tenets (one for each Sunday of Advent): Spend Less, Give More, Love All & Worship Fully. I did not mention the main charity promoted by the national Advent Conspiracy organization : Living Water International. This group drills wells to provide clean drinking water in communities around the world. Events this week have forced me to focus on what life must be like for the folks who are still waiting for Living Water to come to their town.
Sunday evening my husband, the Toolman was preparing to brush his teeth before bed, but when he turned the faucet absolutely nothing happened! He tried to turn on the shower…again nothing. We live with a well system and depend on a pump to bring up water from 160 feet below our house and for unknown reasons the pump wasn’t working. We checked the circuit breakers and confirmed electricity was still running to the controls but we’d have to call for service in the morning.
Now we’re not entirely new at this no water situation…if there’s an ice storm or other emergency to knock out the power we lose our pump as well so I usually keep 5 or 6 gallon jugs of water on hand. Unfortunately, all the jugs in our kitchen had been used to fill the dog’s water bowl and certain parties (who now understand why I harp on such things) had failed to refill those jugs when emptied. We managed to find a partial gallon of water in the downstairs bathroom (our tornado shelter).
In the morning, the Toolman had to heat that water on the stove to shave. Then I used the rest for a sponge bath. Oops…now we were out of water and I couldn’t exactly go knocking on the neighbors’ doors at 6 am asking to borrow a cup or two. For the next several hours it seemed everything needed water—the dog’s bowl was empty, my son had to start brushing his teeth with a dry brush and complained that he couldn’t rinse, I was planning to make real hot chocolate to drink and getting the sugar and cocoa to mix and dissolve without that little bit of water to kick start the process was a chore.
I figured 9 am was a safe enough hour to call on neighbors, but I couldn’t find anyone at home. There I was going up and down the road with my little wagon load of empty ice tea jugs. I ended up going home and trying to reach folds by phone. Of course after nine I could also call the well digging service—they were out on calls and couldn’t get to me that day. Finally I reached a neighbor who let me fill up five jugs and knew the name of another well service, the ones who had actually drilled ours. They were also out on a call, but thought they’d be able to swing by in the afternoon.
More waiting….dishes piled up in the sink—I wasn’t going to waste our limited supply on them. High on my priority list was being able to refill the toilet tank because some things just have to be flushed down right away. Decisions on what to eat and what to plan for dinner all revolved around how much what it would use up – rice and pasta were definitely out.
That afternoon the serviceman arrived. The fault lay in the control box in our basement so they didn’t even have to dig up the yard or pull up the pump itself. It was a real pleasure to turn on all the faucets and showerheads and flush the toilets to get all the air out of the lines.
I share all this not to make anyone feel bad for me, my water problems were brief and now a memory. I only wish to point out that for many people, the search for clean water is a daily struggle. How far must they walk? How safe is it to travel to the water and back again and once the task is done how clean is the water really?
Living Water International is one of the charities recommended by Advent Conspiracy. For around $25, they can provide clean water to a family of five for a year! Look through your Christmas shopping list—isn’t there one gift you could purposefully choose not to buy so you could give this life-saving gift of water to someone really in need?