in Asia - 5 min read
Clean Water for India: Restoring Dignity to the Broken
It was only a few weeks before I left the country when someone had the audacity to say it . . .
“You will learn to value water.”
As if I didn’t already know that water was a vital resource. As if I was that girl who lets the water run while she brushes her teeth. As if I was just another stereotypically wasteful American.
No sooner had we arrived in the 120-degree weather, with approximately one million percent humidity, that I turned on a faucet . . . nothing came out.
“Um, excuse me,” I yelled unabashedly to my new neighbor. “Is there something wrong with the water?”
He smiled and shook his head, “No water after lunchtime in summer.”
No . . . Water.
It was the first time in my life I’d heard those words, and it was the last thing on earth I wanted to hear after 36 hours of travel. Much to my chagrin, the statement I’d so ardently resented echoed again in my mind…
You will learn to value water.
And that very statement only proved increasingly true through my time overseas. In spite of myself, I began to understand that having access to clean water is one of the greatest gifts I have been given . . . and it is one that comes with responsibility.
The Bhil tribes of India have been without access to clean water for centuries. Overlooked by the government, these low-caste “untouchables” have been proclaimed filthy by society. They have been stripped of their dignity and robbed of any chance to climb out of the poverty-stricken conditions that consume their lives.
Ralusingh lives among the Bhil tribes of India. He is 37 years old and a father to five children.
Rising up early in the morning, he begins a two-hour journey to the nearest water source where he fills large jars with water and hauls them back to his home. This water, which is vital to their survival, is also a continual source of sickness to his family. From one day to the next, Ralusingh is forced to live in the shadow of this ever-present threat to the health of his children. With no medical facilities to rush his children to in the middle of the night, there is only the faint hope they will fight through it and survive . . . unlike so many others in their village.
Water-related illnesses abound among the Bhil people consisting of: Diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, parasites, just to name a few. And without access to water, there is no hope for proper sanitation, let alone hope for reprieve from these debilitating illnesses. When it comes to the water we drink, there are only two alternatives: water leading to life and water leading to death.
However, as awareness of the grave conditions for those without access to clean water continues to rise, restoration and hope are beginning to take root. In 2012, clean water was provided to 10 impoverished communities in central India—changing the lives of nearly 16,000 people.
People like Ralusingh.
Now, with ready access to clean water, Ralusingh has more time and energy to invest in his family than ever before. His children, who have been freed from perpetual sickness, can now focus on their education . . . to dream about their future and what they will become. Moreover, Ralusingh’s work in agriculture has now begun to flourish, producing food to feed his family and even left overs to sell for profit.
Life as Ralusingh knew it has changed forever.
John 7:38 says, “Whoever believes in me … out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,” which, in this case, seems to be true in a very literal sense. As we experience the great love with which we are loved, that same love begins to pour out of our hearts into the lives of others.
For the Bhil people, this outpouring of love has come in the form of clean-water wells, leading the way out of sickness and oppression into restoration and holistic health. Through the generosity of compassionate donors, these communities now have a foundation on which to build . . . a chance to break free from the oppression which threatened to suffocate any trace of hope within them.
While the Bhil tribes of India may have been overlooked by their government, they have certainly not been overlooked by their Father in heaven—the Fountain of Living Water—who is moving in the hearts of His children to supply in abundance the water that leads to life.
“The poor and needy seek water,
But there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel,
Will not forsake them.”
—Isaiah 41: 17
Ways To Get Involved in India
CHILD SPONSORSHIP: World Help believes in changing the world . . . one child at a time. When a child has the resources needed not only to survive—but thrive—he has the potential to become a world-changer. Provide a child with nutrition, clean water, education, spiritual nurturing, and love. It’s an investment that lasts a lifetime and beyond. SPONSOR A CHILD >>
CHURCH PLANTING: We believe one of the most effective ways of sharing the Gospel is by empowering nationals to reach their peers. Our model is simple: Equip native church planters and Christian leaders with the tools they need to reach into the very heart of their countries. Support a church planter today and help him carry the Word of God further than ever. SUPPORT CHURCH PLANTING >>
CLEAN WATER: Clean water is essential to life, yet 780 million people around the world still live without it. When you give clean water to a community in need, its physical and economic condition will strengthen, child mortality plummets, school enrollment grows . . . and following generations are transformed. GIVE TO PROVIDE CLEAN WATER >>