Tag Archives: 1993

Chapter-a-Day Numbers 20

There was no water there for the community, so they ganged up on Moses and Aaron. Numbers 20:2 (MSG)

I am so spoiled with the basic necessities of life. Water is a staple. Water is everywhere. I flush without thinking about the luxury of having running sewers. I wash my face, shower myself, and wash my dishes without even thinking about it. I can even water my lawn and have the luxury of spurning the water in the tap to drink a bottle of “better” water.

For ten days in 1993, the Des Moines area was without water as floods overtook the Water Works. I remember living in an apartment with two young children. Ten days without showering. Ten days without flushing. Ten days of filling jugs at water stations and hauling them back home to cook and bathe. Ten days is nothing. Ten Days is a blip on the time line. But, we still talk about it like we were martyrs. How quickly people grumble when you take away a basic necessity of life. Ask Moses and Aaron. They know.

Around the world, millions of people live without access to clean water every day. In fact, in Africa alone more people than the entire population of the U.S. are without this basic necessity. For the last several years, Wendy and I have supported Blood:Water Mission, whose goal is to help communities in Africa dig wells so that they can simply have clean water.

Today, when I shower, wash, and drink, I’m going to think of the people of Israel who grumbled as they ran out of water wandering in the wilderness of northeast Africa. I’m going to think of the millions of people in that continent and around the world who can still grumble these many thousands of years later.

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 3

Taken for granted. [God's] withdrawing police and protection, judges and courts, pastors and teachers, captains and generals, doctors and nurses, and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks-of-all-trades. Isaiah 3:1b-2 (MSG)

In 1993, massive spring floods deluged downtown Des Moines. The Des Moines Water Works was under water and my family was among over 100,000 people who experienced life without the blessing and convenience of water. Life was radically different without fresh water right from tap with which to cook, clean, shower and use the toilet. Ten days without water, which I previously taken for granted, was an eye opener.

Think for a moment of all the things we take for granted. Contemplate all of the things that make up the unconscious infrastructure of our day. Clean water fresh from the tap. Clean bathrooms and toilet paper. Heat in the winter. Air Conditining in the summer. Access to transportation. Stocked grocery stores. Waste removal. Meditate on the unseen throng of professionals on whom you depend from civil utilities to business to law enforcement to health professionals. Imagine all of those daily support systems breaking down and disappearing.

The verse above reminds me today that one of the ways God brought judgment was the simple peeling away of societal support systems. I don't want to take for granted all that God has blessed me with. I'm mindful and grateful for the people and systems that support my daily existence. I don't even want to imagine what would my life would be like if they were suddenly stripped away.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and pinksherbet