Water is our most basic physical human need. Without it, we can’t survive for more than a few days depending on our circumstances. And while food and shelter are critically important too, if we don’t have access to water, we won’t live long enough for the absence of these other things to really matter.
Indeed, water is life.
This is true physically, and it is true spiritually.
Knowing this, it should not surprise us that Jesus referred to himself as “the living water” during a conversation with a Samaritan woman when she came to draw water from a well that he was resting by one day. Some time later, while speaking about the Holy Spirit, Jesus stood up in the temple and spoke these words:
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’
Jesus knew what was best for them. And he knows what is best for us.
As I am sure all of you are aware by now, Jennifer and I set a goal to do things differently this Christmas. We wanted to join the Advent Conspiracy by focusing our attention on Jesus who is “the light of the world,” the one who comes to offer us “living water.” In so doing, one of our goals this Christmas was to Spend Less so we could Give More.
Give more to our God in worship.
Give more of our time to others.
And give more of our resources to those who need it most.
And here we are just a few days before Christmas, after a long, but fun-filled day of class parties
Although we set out to cut our Christmas spending in half, as it stands, it looks like we will actually have spent approximately 40% of what we spent last year. When we combine these savings with the fact that we were much more intentional about how we spent our dollars (see Jennifer’s previous posts here and here), the money we’ve spent this year has had a much more positive impact on the lives of others.
So what will we do with all the money we’ve saved? This is something we’ve thought about, talked about, and prayed about a lot over the last few months. And while there are many worthy causes here in our own community and around the world, and many amazing ministries and service organizations that we could support this Christmas, we have decided to start with something simple. Something basic.
We want to start with water, because did you know:
Approximately 1.2 billion people around the world fetch water from water sources that are filled with deadly bacteria, parasites, and waterborne diseases that are killing them.
As many as 5 million people die every year of water-related illnesses, with a child dying every fifteen seconds of a waterborne disease.
And women and children in developing countries invest two hundred million hours a day fetching water. (That’s equal to a full-time workforce of twenty-five million people fetching water eight hours a day, seven days a week.)
(The Hole In Our Gospel, pp. 137-138.)
And yet, at Christmas, Americans spend over 40 times the amount of money it would take to bring clean water to the entire globe. Said differently, and possibly a bit more personally to you and me, if all Americans cut their Christmas spending by one 40th, together, we could solve the global water crisis. (Advent Conspiracy, p.13.)
That’s pretty incredible. So why wouldn’t we try?
In his book, The Hole In Our Gospel, Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision, says that “in Africa, they don’t say that water is important to their lives; they say that water is life. It is absolutely the foundation upon which civilization and human life is built . . . .” ( p. 140.)
So this Christmas, we’ve decided to give life by giving water. And because Jesus is “the living water,” we couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.
So, we’re setting up a Give Well account through Living Water International, and we’re raising money to donate towards the building of a borehole well in Ethiopia, the country where two children we sponsor though Help One Now live. We’re seeding the account with our Christmas savings, and we’re setting a goal of raising an additional $1,250 over the next 90 days. We will post a link to our Give Well account, housed directly on the Living Water International website, in the next 24 hours. (Technical difficulties on the Living Water website are preventing us from posting that link today.)
There are so many wonderful ways to give generously of our financial resources at Christmas and throughout the year. But if you’re still looking for a way to share generously with others this season, please consider partnering with us. Any money you donate will go directly to Living Water and will be counted towards helping us meet our goal of raising $2,500.
Our prayer for you and your family is that as you seek to spend less and give more this Christmas, you will encounter the one who has come to offer “living water” so that you will never thirst again!
As an expression of our gratitude to God for giving us the greatest Christmas gift of all…
May we all Give Well this Christmas.