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Friday, March 02, 2012

Water Is Life

Water is Life. We all have been thirsty, we all understand. Whether in the hot summers of Georgia, the hotter and more humid equatorial tropics of Houston or southern Ghana, or on the even hotter, dusty semi-arid savannahs of northern Ghana, “water is life” is not just a saying – it is reality. Here in Ghana, water is deeply ingrained in the local culture. Any time you visit anyone anywhere - city or village, office or home - Ghanaian culture and hospitality demands that you are offered water to drink. That is always the first order of business – before even introductions or stating your mission. If you are not offered water, by oversight or because you are visiting clueless expats, it would not at all be rude to ask for water. Once you have traveled around Ghana at all, even here in Accra, it is easy to understand why. This is a hot, dusty place, and you get thirsty so quickly. Dehydration easily turns into a headache or worse here. 

When we dedicated the borehole at Koduakrom last Friday, I had the opportunity to share a few thoughts with the assembled villagers. I reminded them of the role water plays in their culture of hospitality. You could see the heads nod in agreement. Then I told them the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4. While the Samaritan woman gave Jesus water to drink from the well, He gave her something much more valuable – Living Water! And despite the sin in her life, her religious traditions, her gender and her culture – all barriers that could have blocked her from receiving this gift from Jesus – she accepted it. 

The people of Koduakrom have been blessed with the gift of safe drinking water. The village will have plenty of potable water throughout the year. Their children will be less likely to get waterborne diseases. They will be able to share this water with visitors and weary travelers who come to their village. All of these are great, life changing benefits to the village. But how much more life changing will it be if they share the Living Water that Jesus offers with each cup of drinking water! 

In the US, we are blessed with abundant access to safe drinking water. And we are blessed with abundant access to Living Water as well through our churches, media, books, seminars, even the internet. But do we link the two together as Jesus did? Do we introduce Jesus when we offer a glass of water to a visitor who may not know Him? 

"Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10-14, NIV)

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