India (MNN) — Clean water isn’t usually a concern for believers in the West. According to the World Water Organization, the average North American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water each day.
Melissa Kruse of India Partners says remote villagers in South Asia don’t have that luxury.
“For us it’s easy, because we go up to our sink and we turn on the faucet, grab some water, and that’s it,” says Kruse.
In South Asia, people “spend several hours a day because they have to go back-and-forth just to get water.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that water-related diseases comprise 80% of all sicknesses in developing nations. These sicknesses claim around 5 million lives each year.
Over 20% of all diseases in India are related to unsafe drinking water. India Partners is fighting the trend in remote villages by installing wells and providing sanitation training.
“We’re not just bringing clean water through a water well, but we’re bringing the Living Water of Jesus because when we go into these villages, it really opens the door…for the Gospel to come in,” Kruse says.
In February, Kruse and an India Partners team traveled to a couple of remote villages in India to hold WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene) training. Along with training villagers, the India Partners team got to hear how water impacts daily living.
“Every time they drink the water, they get a lot of headaches, fevers; they’re complaining [about] how they were vomiting and having diarrhea,” shares Kruse.
One look at the village’s water source explains why.
“It’s very filthy…there’s just so much trash in there, so much other debris, floating bugs, floating dead animals,” Kruse says. “People are dying from diseases that are coming from the dirty water.”
Many parents told Kruse about children they had lost to water-related diseases. It left one man feeling completely helpless, she shares, because he didn’t have access to any other water source.
“‘But because you came here today and I saw your faces, it made me believe that maybe one day I could have clean water in my life,'” the man shared with Kruse. She adds, “Bringing this clean water in allows us to also bring in ministry partners and pastors that could share the Gospel with these people [who] probably have never heard of Jesus before.”
It doesn’t take much to make an eternal difference.
“Even a small gift can go a long way to help these people have clean and safe water to drink,” notes Kruse. “It actually costs about 10 cents for 1 person for 10 years…and the general cost of a water well for an entire village is $165.”
Pray for India’s remote villagers who lack access to clean water.
“Pray that God really softens their hearts and opens their hearts to the Gospel,” Kruse requests.
“Pray that those relationships [with local pastors] continue to develop so that in the end, they’d not just have clean water, but the Living Water of Christ.”