The Joy of Clean Water

I have a photo of a Cambodian girl on my desk. After a routine file-cleaning, I just couldn’t toss this outdated snapshot away.

Her smile is sweet as she washes her hands with a pitcher of water. She could be any little girl I know. Playing outside and using her imagination to think of games and stories. The only difference is that she lives somewhere in the lush greenery of Cambodia… and in a village unable to meet many of its children’s basic needs.

Today is Universal Children’s Day, and this little girl’s picture reminds me that she matters. I don’t know her name, but I know she and so many others are in need.

The Great Need

As the holiday season approaches, I am bombarded with advertisements and commercials clamoring for my wallet and my attention. But my heart is telling me that what I really need is to be attentive to the needs of children all over the world.

Thinking about Universal Children’s Day and the terrible losses caused by Typhoon Haiyan have made it impossible for me to overlook the importance of food, water, and shelter. In Haiyan’s wake, approximately 700,000 people are displaced and without these needs met.

Though Haiyan is the most recent disaster, I can’t forget the other conflicts and diseases that are causing further displacement of families.

Gifts of Clean Water

While considering this photo and these events, I am again struck by the smile on her face as cool, clean water splashes her hands. I am reminded of how absolutely necessary access to clean water is.

Clean water staves off illness and disease. It keeps children in school instead of en route to distant water sources. Access to water also means crops can flourish, providing food and income for families. The amazing part is that there are practical solutions that can provide all of this… and they are by no means out of reach for you and I.

For this holiday season, Food for the Hungry kicked off our annual Christmas Gift Catalog. I am especially drawn to the pages dedicated to clean water.

I am thrilled that I can purchase a gift for someone with as much life-giving potential as clean water. Thinking about presents with this kind of impact radically changes my perspective on gift giving. I want to give differently and I want to give more.

My prayer this Christmas is that we would be a people who give things that bring life rather than collect dust. That our gifts would be rewarded with smiling children, splashing in clean, safe water that changes their lives forever.