- Emily Koelling
Never Run Dry
Sitting in a village hospital in Cibitoke, Burundi in the Summer of 2014 was the first time I realized the massive need for clean water. The number 3 cause of death in East Africa is diarrhea. This is largely due to lack of access to clean water. I saw so many children with swollen bellies due to parasites and worms. In Rwanda alone, there are close to 6 million people without access to clean water. The distance to clean water wells pose a significant burden to women and children who are the primary water carriers in the family. African women travel on average 3 to 4 miles to haul a 50 pound jerry can of water back to their homes each day. Think about that each time you turn on your tap of clean flowing water! The work ethic and resilience of daily life in East Africa is remarkable. It has given us great appreciation and perspective for the convenient and privileged life we lived in the West.
Serving on a short-term mission trip gave us a small glimpse of ways that we could physically contribute to relief in East Africa. The desire to provide clean water in Burundi, the Congo, and Rwanda remains a high priority for The Roots Network. Since 2018 we have been able to facilitate the placement of 9 water wells across East Africa. These wells continue to make a daily impact in the lives of thousands of people who now have access to healthy drinking water.
Last year in Butare, Rwanda there was no source-able drinking water for months due to drought. The water well that was placed by TRN through the local church was the only access to clean water in the entire region. It is an artesian well that is bored into the side of a mountain and creates a constant flow of fresh water. It is cold, it is clear, it is clean, and it is refreshing! While it is possible that this well, or any of the others, could one day dry up, it is highly unlikely because in God’s incredible and imaginative creation, He gave us a planet that provides. Yet even if the flow of water never ceases, it will never fully satisfy. It will never be enough. The people will run out and thirst again, and mom or brother or sister will continue to make the daily trek to the well for a refill.
The beautiful analogy; however, that providing these wells affords us is the hope of living water that we have in Jesus. The local church is able to share this greater hope in Jesus Christ who said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
When you support The Roots Network, you are helping to fund water wells like these that provide life-sustaining water for thousands of people and, in turn, you are giving a platform for the Gospel to be heard in places where other seldom go.