Thirsting for Life in Africa

Can you remember the last time you were truly thirsty? For me it was this morning about halfway through my run. The African sun was beating down on me as sweat poured from my forehead. Lucky for me, I knew that if I pressed on just a little further I would soon reach my house, where an ice cold bottle of water would be waiting. Before I moved to East Africa in 2009 for a two-year mission term, 850 million was just a number. But after meeting and building relationships with people who can’t get the water they need, that number began to have a face–the face of a woman, a newborn baby, a village elder, an elementary school child. That’s when the clean water epidemic became personal for me. For countless people where I live in Tanzania, gaining access to clean water is not as simple as turning on the faucet. Many families struggle to live on one bucket a day. And often that water–which they probably walked a good distance to get–is dirty and filled with bacteria. As of last weekend, for people living in three villages near my town, clean water is now abundant. Yesterday, I visited the newly operating wells that our team helped bring to these places. This marked the completion of a project that began almost a year ago when my team started visiting remote areas and assessing the health needs of various people groups. What an honor to look into the faces of those who would be refreshed and sustained by this water. Women carried colorful buckets of water effortlessly on their heads. Children laughed and chased each other are the field. Old men rested in the shade of trees nearby. There was life and laughter. My prayer is that each person who drinks the water from these new wells would thirst for the Living Water. As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Please join with me in praying that these people would follow Jesus and allow him to quench their thirst. In Him, Emily

A former intern for Blessed Earth, Emily Harris is finishing a two-year term serving with the International Mission Board in East Africa. She is currently planning her next big adventure–a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail next spring.