Lessons from a Day with no Running Water

By Evelyn Reams, GPPD Marketing Manager  | May 18, 2022  |  Return to Blog   


It was a seemingly insignificant hiccup in my day, but it changed my perspective on access to clean water.

The water main in my neighborhood was turned off for the day, and due to a miscommunication between the property management and utility crew, we did not find out ahead of time. Normally, I would have taken the time to fill up a few bottles and pitchers, but without notice, I found myself wondering where I would get water. Luckily, I had a few bottles in the trunk of my car, kept there for emergencies. So far, so good.
Later, I started to turn on the faucet to rinse an apple–no water. In the afternoon, my vegetable plants, languishing in the sun, were out of luck. When it was time to wash my toddler's hands before snack, we ended up pouring out a small drizzle from the bottle. It was starting to run low. Wiping off the counters would have to wait too. All of these things I took for granted echoed in my brain, reminding me just how different things were and are for people around the world. 
This is in no way meant to suggest that I know what they are going through – within a few minutes, I could easily walk or drive somewhere with a water fountain and restroom facilities. They do not have that option. 

When I first started editing well videos as a GPPD intern, most of them were in villages with zero access to clean water. People were drinking groundwater from streams or using open wells where insects and snakes contaminated the water. This is still often the case for the new wells. However, some of the wells dedicated recently have been installed in villages with weekly water rations. On the surface, it seemed like a less desperate situation, but when I stopped to gain perspective I realized the truth. Having access to clean water is vital, but the ability to use it without counting every drop brings so much freedom.
I have seen hundreds of video clips of well dedications. I may get tired of the background music that I could sing in my sleep, but seeing the sheer joy of the recipients never gets old. In one village where people relied on rations, a resident said they had to think twice before drinking even a sip of water. After receiving a well, people often dance with joy. Some play music. They bring flowers, refreshments, or shawls of honor to the team members who come to visit. Children splash and play in clean water, for what may be for the first time. Elderly people beam with a childish excitement they may have not known for many years. It is truly something to behold. 

Even in such a momentary and limited way, having to think about every drop of water you use is eye-opening. When the water came back on that night, I had gained a greater appreciation for unlimited water access. Even without the opportunity to have running water in their homes, many people are rejoicing that they can now walk down the street for a bucket of water at any time. Their exuberant gratitude is humbling. I hope that it will inspire each of us to give thanks, to hold our blessings loosely, and to share the same joy when Jehovah-jireh, (the Lord who Provides), meets our needs every day. 


Note: Every well installed by GPPD is documented by video, and donors receive images, videos and GPS coordinates of the well they helped provide. To learn more about GPPD's Clean Water program, click here.