Go into your kitchen. Take a glass cup from your cupboard. Then turn on the faucet and fill the cup to the top. Now take a nice, long gulp of its contents. Refreshing?
Now go into your bathroom. Turn on the faucet again, this time turn it all the way to the hot side. Then place your hands under the faucet. Let the flow warm your hands. Ouch! Is it getting hot? Try to press through just for a moment more. Ok that is long enough.
AMAZING! Don’t you agree? What you just did was simply AMAZING! Many people in this world never get the same privilege. Yes, having access to clean drinking water is certainly a privilege. Now you tell me that same readily available clean water can also get hot??? Wow, you are living the life of luxury!
Not convinced yet? Well, believe me before this week neither was I. In fact, on many occasions I would waste tap water (kind of like dumping a perfectly good bucket of it over myself….but I digress). Before this week, I know I am guilty of taking readily available, clean water for granted. I knew that it was an issue for others in this world, but before this week I never understood the magnitude of my privilege.
I live in Africa. South Africa. Grahamstown to be exact. Grahamstown is certainly not the biggest city in South Africa but it also is not the smallest either. But here in Grahamstown, we have a problem with water. Readily available, clean tap water. And this week I became all too aware how serious (and crazy) this problem is. For the past three days the entire town has been without water. Each time I went to turn on my tap, absolutely nothing came out. Do you understand how utterly frustrating that is??? I mean absolutely NOTHING came out, certainly not the stuff I was expecting to come out.
This stuff, I took for granted a week ago, suddenly became like gold for me. No water meant no bathing (yes I went three days without a shower or bath…not by choice). No water also meant a sink full of dirty dishes. No water meant I couldn’t cook certain things…the delicious, healthy dinner I had planned became just a dream. No water also meant I couldn’t flush my toilet…I won’t say any more on that topic. Not only that, no water meant no clean drinking water either, which brings a whole other set of issues.
Not only did this lack, I’m sorry, nonexistence of water affect me, but it also affected the public schools in town. These schools that are already at a disadvantage academically, structurally, and resource wise now were forced to close school early since children are not able to use the bathrooms and are forced to go outside which again caused many other problems.
Water. Priceless, yet so easily taken for granted at the same time.
Finally, I have water again. I never knew how exciting it was just to take a shower, a hot shower at that! I felt like a new person after that 5 minute shower. Doing life in my own filth is no life at all. I never knew that being clean is a privilege!
This very short period of not having readily available clean (enough) water has certainly humbled me. God has once again brought me back to earth and revealed the harsh truth of my privilege. Being born in the “right” country, let alone the “right” family is something I should never take lightly. Many people in Grahamstown probably didn’t even flinch when they turned on their taps Sunday afternoon and nothing came out. This was nothing new to them. Should they have to live like that? Certainly not. But will that stop them from living? Not even for a second.
So the next time you go into your kitchen or bathroom and turn on the faucet, take a moment and count every drop that falls from the tap. Yes, literally count them! Every drop is precious and a blessing from God. Imagine someone not too far away is also doing the same, but that is because there are only drops…