On March 22 every year, the world observes World Water Day to educate us about the importance of water and about water crisis facing humanity.
This year’s World Water Day that was commemorated last Tuesday reminded me of two stories. The first happened in my forest village, and the second happened on the last day of a great festival.
Under the canopies of trees and the coolness of the forest farms, we scarcely felt thirsty. We hadn’t yet learnt that we drink water to nourish our bodies, whether we feel thirsty or not.
Neither had we yet learnt that the average African is basically malnourished due to our failure to drink water frequently.
But, even in the freshness of rural settings, when a person is thirsty, he really is. On one such occasion, I had walked quite a distance from our corn farm through the forest.
I felt thirsty, but I pushed on, carrying on my head a basket of corn. After all, I would soon arrive at the stream just ahead of me.
When I got to the stream, I put down my load, plucked a large cocoa leaf, folded it into a cup, and drank to my satisfaction from the gently flowing brook.
I didn’t have any concerns about the wholesomeness of the water, although wild animals and birds also drank from the brook.
Today, I wouldn’t dare drink from such a stream. Why? Because it wouldn’t be clear water; neither would it be safe. It would be creamy with mashed clay and full of deadly chemicals like cyanide.
The activities of illegal (and even “legal”) small-scale miners have turned our rivers and streams into poisonous porridge.
The king who boasts proverbially that he is the royal who drinks from River Birim must change his self-compliments, for, sadly, Birim is no longer able to nourish commoners, let alone kings.
You want to weep when you observe the manner in which our virgin and farmlands are being turned into what the Bible describes as “desolate wastes”.
Envisage the year 2050 when long queues of water tankers in convoys from neighbouring countries would be carrying imported water into Ghana! I pray such a situation never happens to us.
Since it appears no operation seems strong enough to stop the activities of small-scale miners, will our water bodies survive up to 2050 before we begin to import water or turn the Atlantic into fresh water?
I saw the commemorators of World Water Day at a conference centre observing the day. How could they sufficiently lament the water crisis in a plush venue where the bottled water is clear, chilled, and wholesome to drink?
Maybe they should have gathered at one of the dead rivers, where they could have wailed over the water body that used to be a clear river.
In the second story, there had been a great festival where guests ate and drank to their fill. They did not know they were thirsty, for they indulged in the physical and neglected the spiritual.
On the last day of the festival, Jesus, who was there observing that the more the guests drank, the thirstier they became, stood up among them. Then in a loud voice, he proclaimed, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink . . .” (John 7:37).
While the guests wondered what he meant, Jesus added, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water!”
Water is life; for it is essential for earthly survival of every living organism. On the other hand, “Rivers of living water” flowing out of the heart is eternal in nature and transcends our earthly life.
When we are physically thirsty, we reach for water; how about when we are spiritually thirsty? Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” Without God in our life, we are thirsty.
This is how a spiritually thirsty person described his longing for God: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1, 2).
A restless soul must reach out to its Creator to be at rest and at peace. And that means believing in Christ, the Living Water.
What Jesus told the woman at the well who felt empty inside due to her immoral life (John 4:13, 14), he tells all of us—
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The writer is a publisher, author, writer-trainer and CEO of Step Publishers.