World Water Day
Today is World Water Day. March 22 was designated as World Water Day back in 1992 by the United Nations, and we are more than halfway through the UN's Decade of Action for Water for Life (begun in 2005). I didn't know that - did you?
YouTube's blog today is featuring videos about water made by groups such as Water.org, Charity: Water, One Drop Foundation, WaterAid, and others. Some are funny, some are thought provoking, most are under five minutes and a few under a minute. Almost all of them are made for an American audience in mind and they challenge us to notice how much water we use every day and how we take it for granted that we can just turn on a tap and get as much clean water as we want. Many of the videos then go on to tell the stories of people in Haiti, India, and some African nations where the lack of clean water and education about hygiene is an urgent issue.
For instance, Charity: Water reports that there are 42,000 deaths every week that result from dirty water and unsafe hygienic practices and that 90% of those who die are children under the age of five. They also note that women and children are the ones who have to walk to find and carry water, which has an impact on both their physical health and their access to education.
Many of these organizations are involved in helping those in underdeveloped nations drill wells and undertake other water projects as well as working with local people to train them to educate their families and neighbors about water and sanitation. Other organizations work to raise awareness in developed nations about the world water issues. (One Drop Foundation was founded by the guy who started Cirque du Soleil and focuses on using the arts to promote education and community involvement in water issues worldwide.)
This coming Sunday in church, we'll be hearing the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. They will talk about water - Jesus will ask her for a drink of clean water and he will then offer her a drink of the living water that he wants all people - even those who are considered enemies of his own tribe - to have access to. We would all do well to learn more about the issues - spiritual and physical - around water and the people who have it and don't have it and about those who spend their time seeking it, not only in Jesus' day but in our own.
Take a few minutes to go to YouTube's page and watch some of the videos yourself. (Click here and you'll go to the page where the videos are all gathered together today.)