World Water Day – Just Add Water

Guest post from CRF President, Milton Jones.  Check out his blog Through Orange Colored Glasses.

UPDATE: Since the original posting of this blog one year ago, hundreds of people have given to make sure others have access to clean water. CRF has been able to drill multiple wells in the Horn of Africa. And our wells have given access to clean, plentiful water to thousands of famine refugees.

A little over a month ago, I stood in Turkana, Kenya at the dedication of one of these wells… I saw the product of our donors’ sacrifice and I saw joy on every face. Thank you for giving. Your support is changing lives and transforming communities.

Here’s a video from Turkana.

Turkana from CRF on Vimeo.

Today is World Water Day. The need for water is still great. Could you help us bring water to more thirsty people?
You can give for the “Horn of Africa Drought” here.


The question asked was this, “Who is rich?” I quickly thought of Bill Gates since I lived in his community for so many years. But then I knew that anyone who lives in the United States is incredibly wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world. If you live on welfare in our country, you have more than most people in developing countries.

But the answer to the question, “Who is rich?” was far simpler and so much more indicting than I thought it would be. “Anyone who has water.” In other words, if I have water that is clean enough and healthy enough to drink, I can count myself among the rich in this world.

Of all the water on the earth, 97.5% of it is salt water. Of the remaining 2.5% fresh water, 70% is frozen in the polar ice caps. The other 30% is mostly soil moisture or lies in aquifers underground. All in all, less than 1% of the world’s water is now accessible for direct use. If you put all the water in the world in a gallon jug, clean drinking water would equal a tablespoon. Perhaps this will be the source of future wars not oil.

I was helping build a testing and treatment center for AIDS in Kenya several years ago. They had sent me the blueprints from there. I was trying to acquire the funding. And after months of conversations back and forth, I got a question. “Would this place we are building require water?” It had never occurred to me that they didn’t have water. I couldn’t imagine building any type of medical clinic without water, but it hadn’t crossed their minds.

Have you ever seen a picture of women carrying jars on their heads traveling long distances to get water? Two hundred million hours a day are spent in our world by women and children carrying water like this. For most, they have to make this walk twice a day. On an average, it is a four-hour walk to get water. It’s their only choice.

And too often the water is a Trojan horse. Do you remember that story? It was the gift that was hiding their death. Inside their container is a mixture of water, dirt, algae, cow and goat feces, bacteria, mosquito larvae, and other insect eggs, parasites, and diseases. Who would want to drink that? But here is the choice. If you don’t drink the water, you will die. And if you drink the water, you will die later.

The problem is that for so many of these people, the water is directly beneath their feet, but they simply don’t have access to it. It is estimated that there are 300 million people without clean water in Africa.

We complain so much today about the skyrocketing price of gasoline. And yet many of us spend much more on a gallon of bottled water than on our petroleum products. Bottled water accounts for 66% of the non-alcoholic beverage market. And for most of us choosing this water to drink is not nearly as much a matter of survival as it is a fashion statement. What is astounding is that most of the bottled water we drink actually comes out of a tap.

In our country .05% of our money goes to water. In Honduras, 25% goes to purchasing water. The average African uses five gallons of water a day. In Seattle people use about 150. Many of the world’s major cities are now running out of water. How much water do you use? Did you know that a five-minute shower uses nearly 30 gallons of water? A toilet flush will need five to seven gallons. If you leave your water running when you brush your teeth, there goes another ten gallons. It takes 40 gallons to wash your clothes.

If children in developing countries had clean water, within weeks they could be rid of stomach problems, malnutrition , and pain. With water available, eight hours a day normally used to haul water could be freed up for education and vocations. When children don’t have clean water, they will drink what they can. And as a result, many will get cholera and typhoid. 150 children die every hour from a lack of clean water. 20,000 deaths per day could be averted with clean water. By 2025 nearly 50% of world’s population will not have access to clean water.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” Mark 9:41, NIV. I hate to say it, but I haven’t heard many sermons calling for literal applications of this passage. But don’t you think Jesus had that in mind?