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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (February 2015)

posted Mar 6, 2015, 10:36 AM by Russell D. Hampton

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water.” ~ Psalm 65:9a

On average, how many gallons of water does a person use per day?  A 2006 United Nations Development report informed readers that people from the United States, on average, use 152 gallons a day.   In Japan the average is 99 gallons per day while in the United Kingdom the average use is 39 gallons per day.  The usage numbers drop significantly in African and Southeast Asian countries: 12 gallons per day in Kenya, 4 gallons per day in Cambodia, and 4 gallons per day in Uganda. 

Do you ever think about the global water crisis?  It doesn’t make headlines in the news.  Unfortunately, the global water crisis claims more lives every year than war.  Approximately 1.8 billion people in this world (1 in every 4 people) drink from contaminated water sources.  Approximately 840,000 lives are claimed each year because people (mostly children under the age of 5) contracted water borne illnesses. Women and children in developing countries spend multiple hours each day collecting water.  This keeps them from participating in school and work.  In turn, this can lead to loss of income and contributing in the local economy. 

Most days (if not all of them) I do not give much thought to my water usage. I flush a toilet without thinking about the sanitation in place to remove the waste and keep my home clean.  I take a shower each day and do not give a thought to the many gallons at my disposal.  I turn on the tap to wash my hands, brush my teeth, fill up my water bottle, cook and clean, etc., without having to walk miles each day to gather it for use. 

Lent begins on February 18.  During this season, as you carry out your Lenten disciplines, I encourage you to think about water.

1.  1. Reflect and pray about God’s gift of water.  Read the Scriptures to guide your reflection and prayer (Genesis 1, John 4, and Revelation 21 are good places to start).
2. Take time – maybe for a day, or a week – to pay attention to your water usage.  Count how many times you turn on a faucet or flush a toilet or count the minutes it takes to shower.  Give thanks to God for the gift of water and sanitation.  Pray for people throughout the world who do not have access to clean water.
3. Complete the Lenten Hunger Challenge for water (in this newsletter).  Nevertheless, use the challenge to educate others!
4. Consider making a gift through ELCA Good Gifts ( for water related ministries.

In Christ – Pastor Maureen

Prayer: Good and Gracious God, you provide this creation with the sacred gift of water.  Teach us how to use and preserve the waters of our planet.  Help us to overcome our inadequacies in dealing with the world’s water. Forgive us from our misuse and waste of this precious gift.  Enlighten us with ways to provide clean water to all people and life on your creation.  Sustain us with the true water of life, your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.