Guest post from Rev. Naomi Sease Carriker, pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
I woke up this morning to deal with a rare problem in southeast Pennsylvania: our town issued an advisory about low chlorine levels, urging us to boil our water. Posted on our water company’s website were ominous instructions: “DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST!” And it wasn’t just drinking that was off limits. The warning also included making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation.
So instead of waking up, drinking a glass of water and brushing my teeth, as per my usual routine, I ended up in the kitchen, boiling water. I wondered if my coffee pot would get the water hot enough to kill off bacteria in my coffee. (I ended up using boiled water for that as well, just to be safe.)
At first, this break in my routine was beyond frustrating, but as I finally woke up it reminded me that so many in the world do not have clean drinking water to begin with.
My typical ability to turn on the faucet and immediately fill the coffee pot or brush my teeth is a blessing I often take for granted. It is days like this when I ponder what it would mean to wake up every day and not have a means to access water for myself or my family. The facts are staggering: 1.2 billion people around the world still lack access to clean and affordable water; 2.4 billion people lack proper sanitation services; and 5 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases. [source]
Access to clean water is a gift. But that does not mean people who don’t have access to water are cursed. What it does mean is we should do two things: thank God every day for this gift, and seek ways that we can share the gift of water with those who need it.
This gift of water is even more precious to me as a pastor. Water is central to one of the most awesome things I get to be part of: welcoming people into the body of Christ through the waters of baptism.
Throughout 2013, as St. Peter Lutheran Church in Mechanicsburg, Pa., celebrates our 50th anniversary — our Year of Joy! — we are seeking ways to share more with others in our community and in the world. One of the ways we are sharing the gift of water with others is by watering a community’s fields through LWR Gifts. This reminds us of the joy we find in the waters of baptism. And it reminds us of our call to share the gifts of God’s good creation with all!
I know that my easy access to clean water will return and my routine can resume within the next twenty-four hours. And I can also be confident that my congregation’s gift to LWR will help a community find similar access to growth and new life. Above all, I can have faith in the God “who turns the rock into a pool of water; the flint into a spring of water.” (Psalm 114)