Unlike my mother, I have never been much of a water drinker. I remember being taught in school that you should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses a day, and thinking, “REALLY? Do you know how much that is? In a week maybe, but not in a day!” Even today, I have to make a conscious effort to drink my water. I do better if we have water bottles in the house, but I rarely fix a glass of water from the tap. I am guilty of taking clean drinking water for granted. I didn’t realize how much so until we made our most recent visit to the Dominican Republic.
Don’t Drink the Water!
Upon arrival, we were given the do’s and don’ts, and there seemed to be a lot of don’ts when it came to water. We were told not to drink the tap water. At all…ever. Not even a sip. We were also told that generally even the Dominican people don’t drink the tap water because of the contaminants found within it. We were warned: if you sing in the shower be sure and do so with your face away from the shower head to be sure that no water splashes into your mouth. And finally, if you forget and use the tap water when brushing your teeth just don’t swallow; spit it out and you will probably be okay. Numerous times throughout the week I found myself trekking to the water cooler in the kitchen with my toothpaste-covered toothbrush because I had forgotten to get water beforehand, and didn’t want to take my chances with “probably”.
One day during our trip, we had the privilege of preparing and distributing water filters to four families in the San Pablo community. As I mentioned, even the locals cannot normally drink the tap water, and the people of San Pablo rarely even have access to running water in their homes. Their options are to purchase water (which few can afford), collect rain water, or get their water from the polluted canal that runs along the edge of the community. At each house, we sat down with the family and demonstrated how to assemble the Filter of Hope filtration systems. These small filters (less than 2 lbs) attached to a 5-gallon bucket are quite remarkable. Being gravity fed, they require no electricity and can filter up to 150 gallons of clean drinking water per day. The filters will last up to 10 years with proper weekly maintenance, which consists of a clean-water backwash.
True Life Giving Water
After assembling the filters and demonstrating the cleaning process, we shared the gospel with each household. We compared our lives to the water. We said that humanity is polluted like the water placed in the bucket. Some may be so dirty that everyone can see it, while others may look clean but are still contaminated on the inside. The dirt and contamination in our lives is SIN. There is nothing that we can do to remove it ourselves. We then explained that the filter represents Jesus. Only Jesus is able to take our sullied lives and make us clean.
Since returning, I have thought back often to that afternoon and the comparisons between Jesus and the water, and about how I, like many Americans, take clean drinking water for granted because it is just a faucet away. Comparing Jesus to the filter is a wonderful analogy for someone who does not know Christ, however for those who call themselves “Christian” I think a better analogy is comparing Jesus to clean public water. There are many so-called Christians that take Jesus for granted. They only cry out to him when they are in dire need. Our church is in the midst of a revival conference entitled Thirst (I know, how appropriate). The speaker, Ryan Loveing, stated that many Christians today are guilty of only speaking to God with “flare prayers.” They send up a signal flare prayer when something disastrous is taking place in their lives: sickness, death of a loved one, marital issues, trouble with children, or national distress. He said that there are some that treat God as if He were a genie in a bottle, and only go to Him when they have a God size problem. I have to agree, and recognize that this is a serious problem within the church today. However, there is another issue that I believe to be just as rampant. I think it is just as bad when we take for granted the living water that we have and assume that others around us have it too, or could if they really wanted it. In this politically correct world today, we are so afraid of offending those around us that we don’t share the good news of the life giving water of Jesus Christ. The church can become so focused on what God can do for me that we forget that it is our responsibility to tell others about Him. So many are guilty (me included) of singing of the wondrous love of Jesus when we are seated beneath the steeple, but remain silent when we come into contact with those who do not already know His love.
My challenge to all that are reading this post is that you dive into your prayer life. Pray to God something other than “flare prayers.” Pray and ask for BOLDNESS. Be forewarned: if you ask for boldness God will give it to you, and He will also present you with the opportunity to use it. May I ask that if you take that opportunity that you share your experience in the comments below. Also do not be discouraged if you do not see any immediate response. You may only be planting a seed that someone else will water.