It’s true around the world, but especially so in the countries Water of Life calls home – nothing is more important than family. Roles in the family are very traditional. The men go to work while the women care for the children and the home. Their children are able to go to school. The family roles work well, but it is precariously balanced on each member of the family being able to do their job. There is no safety net when you are unreached and impoverished living in a developing country. Something as simple as water can throw the entire family balance into chaos. Here is one such story out of India:
A woman by the name Rangamma came to the village of Vemulapalli after she got married in 2008. She has two children, and her troubles started when her second child started walking. At that time, her village began experiencing water scarcities. Ever since then, she began to worry about fetching water each and every day after waking up. There is one irrigation canal that runs through the village, but due to excessive usage of chemical fertilizers, this canal water became polluted and undrinkable. Since then, all of the women in the village needed to walk between 8 and 12 kilometers each day to fetch water for the family. They walked this distance twice every day to bring the needed 4 vessels of water. This water was still not drinkable and needed to boiled before using. Summer heat and muddy roads during the rainy season during the years of long walks for water collection tested the patience of these women. They suffered a lot carrying 2 heavy vessels for miles twice every day. If there was a delay in bringing water, the women were also delayed in cooking the family meals. This affected the men’s ability to go to work, and the children’s ability to attend school. Lost work equals lost daily wages. There was no peace in any family, and water scarcity caused enormous damage on family relations.
Sometimes it’s easier to think of the work Water of Life does in simplistic terms. Drinking unclean water brings disease. Giving fresh water rids these villages of water-borne illnesses. And to some extent, that is true but misses the whole story. There is a ripple effect that happens when you give a person clean water. They are no longer burdened from the health problems that occur from drinking impure water and being forced to carry that heavy load for long distances. It also restores the family. Women are able to care for the households again. Children are able to attend school. Men are able to go to work, receive their daily wages, and relieve the economic pressures that poverty places on them.
But even more important than that, giving clean water is a very tangible expression of God’s love for all of his children. When you give clean water, not only do you restore families - you give them hope. And with the hope that is found through Jesus, anything is possible.