Water From a Rock

By Chris Seay

Photo courtesy of Living Water International (www.water.cc).

Photo courtesy of Living Water International (www.water.cc).

Have you ever been ensnared by a natural disaster or poor planning on a hike and experienced the panic of trying to find water? In the physical realm there is nothing more valuable, and nothing we seem to take for granted more, than water. I’ll never forget a conversation I had in a remote village on the west coast of Africa with a woman who was thunderstruck by rumors that we in the West use clean water to flush our toilets and water our lawns. Water is so precious to her that she would walk miles to draw it from an unsanitary river. When clean water came to her village as a result of a movement to recapture the beauty of Christmas (www.AdventConspiracy.org), it brought with it the power to eliminate the cholera, disease, sickness, and diarrhea that was needlessly stealing the life of children.

Photo courtesy of Living Water International (www.water.cc).

Photo courtesy of Living Water International (www.water.cc).

The water crisis is at the heart of a daily emergency faced by a billion of the world’s most vulnerable people — a crisis that threatens life and destroys livelihoods on a devastating scale. Unlike war and terrorism, the global water crisis does not make media headlines, despite the fact that it claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. Unlike natural disasters, it does not rally concerted international action, despite the fact that more people die each year from drinking dirty water than from the world’s hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes combined. This is a crisis that is holding back human progress, consigning large segments of humanity to lives of poverty, vulnerability, and insecurity. The church can see an end to this silent crisis experienced by the poor and tolerated by those with the resources, technology, and the political power to end it.

As Moses leads God’s children to a land of promise, they make camp in an area with no access to fresh water. Despite their history of experiencing God’s radical provision, they begin to panic. It started with grumbling, doubt, and disbelief. [Follow along the biblical narrative in the green box.]Narrative

It is awe inspiring to see God use the staff of Moses as the instrument of rescue. God has given us a command to care for the thirsty too. When we are obedient, as Moses was, it is a beautiful thing.

Recently our church stumbled into a relationship with a tribal king in Nigeria. He spoke to us of the tremendous need in his kingdom for clean water. In a very specific area, more than 20,000 people were suffering. Two previous governmental attempts to drill wells had been unsuccessful. Any attempt to drill deep enough to strike water would be both costly and risky. Is there anything more depressing than a dry hole that cost $70,000 to drill and a kingdom of thirsty people?

At my church, we prayed about the situation and consulted with our partners at Living Water International, and then we took a step of faith and decided to try to bring clean water to these Nigerian brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus. The staff we used in this case was an Ingersoll-Rand TH60 Truck Mounted Rig — a bit more sophisticated than Moses’s staff but much less mysterious. The Living Water team drilled 250 meters through layer after layer of rock, destroying a roller cone and rock bit in the process.

We struck again and again, wrestling with the earth, believing that God would bring forth clean water. We called friends across the globe when it looked like we were facing another fruitless attempt to deliver these brothers and sisters from the hardships of not having sanitary water. But in the end, we were able to give them clean water in the name of Jesus — enough to provide for nine villages and ten clans.

We need to remember to thank God for the gift of clean water – and to seek forgiveness when we grumble and complain despite the abundant blessings that surround us.

Chris Seay is the pastor of Ecclesia, a missional church in Houston, Texas. He is the author of numerous books, including A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor (Baker Books, 2013). Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distibuted in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group. 


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