By the time you finish reading this post, 20 persons around the world will have died – all because they did not have access to clean water. By the end of the day, that number will have reached 5,480, and a year from now, over 2 million persons in this world will go down to their grave – most of whom are children; all because they did not have access to what many of us take for granted.
I had always heard of these types of statistics but never really took them seriously. That changed a few Sabbaths ago, however, when I had the privilege of driving with one of my parishioners to and from Church. His name is Finley Richmond and he was accompanying me to my Church in Dexter to share with them a burden that is upon his heart.
A native of Haiti, Finley is a PhD student in chemical engineering at the University of Maine. His passion, however, is obliterating the staggering statistics about water-related deaths in this world. In fact, he hopes to zero that number. That’s why he, along with a few cohorts at the University of Maine, as well as a faculty member or two, have started a project that is seeking to create a water filtration system that can be freely distributed to millions in the developing world. Right now, they are in the early stages of developing a hand-pump that will contribute to that end.
First on their radar is Finley’s hometown of Gros Morne, Haiti. The video at the bottom shows how the town’s residents currently get their water. They simply scoop it from any available source, regardless of the fact that it is full of pathogens. As the video shows, some of the water spills out of their bowls and falls on their legs and feet; but the people simply scoop up that water again and use it for their drinking water.
As Christians, we should be especially burdened by this sad reality for a number of reasons. Chiefly, it should break our hearts that God’s children do not have access to one of life’s most basic yet important resources. Christ died for these children and regardless of any religious potential, or regardless of whether they ever become convicted of our religious beliefs, they deserve the water that Christ has purchased for them by His death.
As Ellen White notes, “The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood” (The Desire of Ages, p. 660). Christ “bought” the water we drink by His spilled blood. This is true, Ellen White says, for “saint or sinner.” Thus, when we do not give to these dear children what Christ has legally purchased for them by His spilled blood, we are not only depriving them of what they rightfully deserve but we are robbing Christ of the resources He has purchased on their behalf.
Of course, we know, as well, that Christ has said that when we meet the needs of the “least of these,” we are actually meeting His needs. Christ identifies with the thirsty, saying to His true followers, “I was thirsty and you gave Me drink” (Matthew 25:35). When we minister to them, we minister to Christ.
Lastly, and secondarily, dead people cannot hear the gospel – the ultimate water that Christ longs to give. Each day that passes, there are 5,480 fewer people in this world who have the opportunity to hear the glorious news of God’s boundless love – all because they were deprived of the physical water that Christ has bought for them.
So what can we do? Many things; but I am specifically inviting you to partner with Finley’s team as they pursue the glorious goal of hydrating Christ in the person of His children. Will you pray for them? Will you think about contributing a dollar or two towards their 501c3 foundation? If God impresses you to do so, you can gift a tax-deductible donation by going here.
God deserves it!