Samaritan's Purse is helping alleviate the global water crisis through programs such as 5 Wells in 5 Days
The plight of Mangar Makuach was not an unusual one. With no nearby water sources, family members from the South Sudanese village’s 100 households were forced to walk more than two hours to the nearest river. Even then, especially during the months-long dry season, the river sometimes had nothing to yield, forcing weary water seekers to continue their search in the scorching heat.
The situation changed dramatically last year, when Samaritan’s Purse completed a well in the village and provided health and hygiene training. “Our village is totally different now,” said Abuol, a Mangar Makuach resident. “We will never travel for a long distance to collect unprotected water in the midst of the hot sun, and the children can go to school on time.”
Hope beamed from Aboul’s face, knowing clean water is just a few minutes’ walk from her home. “Now our focus will be on farming since you have killed the greatest enemy—‘no water,’” she said.
In 2012, Samaritan’s Purse provided clean water, improved sanitation, and/or hygiene training to more than 500,000 people. In South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state alone, we installed 91 borehole wells with hand pumps in 52 communities, benefiting over 45,000 people.
We are launching a new campaign today called “5 Wells in 5 Days” to provide more people like Abuol with clean, safe water. By World Water Day on Friday, we are praying that God provides enough funds to transform five more communities like Mangar Makuach with access to the precious resource.
The need is acute because no water, or unclean water, remains the greatest enemy in South Sudan and in developing countries across the globe.
More than 780 million people—about 11 percent of the world’s population—wake up each day wondering where they will find their water and if that water will make them sick. In addition, around 2.5 billion men, women, and children have no access to any type of improved sanitation facility.
A lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation traps many people in poverty. They spend much time searching for and hauling water, eliminating the potential for other productive work. Waterborne illness also results in missed days from business and school.
The continuing water crisis is most acute in sub-Saharan Africa. Across this vast region, 39 percent of the people still have no access to improved water sources. In South Sudan, a country of 10 million, reports indicate that perhaps half or more of the population lacks safe drinking water.
Meeting Physical and Spiritual Needs
To meet urgent water, sanitation, and hygiene needs and to share the love of God in Christ, Samaritan’s Purse last year had projects in 11 countries, including seven in sub-Saharan Africa.
We provided or restored access to more than 600 water points that serve approximately 370,000 people worldwide in impoverished communities, refugee camps, or schools. They include hand-dug wells, boreholes, rainwater storage units, and water pans/ponds. The specific solution depends on the needs of the people and the location’s hydrogeology.
In Liberia, Cambodia, Uganda, Kenya, and Bolivia, we distributed over 7,000 household filters, which improved water quality for over 43,000 people. These long-lasting concrete filters require no electricity or mechanical parts, just natural materials that remove harmful bacteria from dirty water.
Additionally, more than 50,000 people gained access to better sanitation facilities (latrines, showers, and wash pads) through our programs. Over 100,000 people were also trained in good hygiene practices. Many of them will, in turn, teach others in their own communities.
All who drink from a well will get thirsty again. That is why Samaritan’s Purse also points to the eternal refreshment found only in Jesus Christ. As the Lord once told a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14, ESV).
As desperate physical needs are met, opportunities blossom to share the Good News. Through the witness of Samaritan’s Purse and local church partners, many have repented of their sins and received God’s gift of eternal life. In some areas, because of the platform our work creates, men, women, and children are hearing the Gospel for the very first time.
There are a number of ways you can join with Samaritan’s Purse to bring clean water and the eternal joy of knowing Christ to people around the world:
• Prayer is critical to all our work. Please pray for continued access to areas in need of fresh, pure water and for opportunities to share the love of God with those communities.
• Learn more about how Samaritan’s Purse is responding to the global water crisis.
• Join us as we launch our 5 Wells in 5 Days campaign this week to drill wells for communities in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. You can mobilize others to get involved by sharing updates and articles through social media and word-of-mouth. Sign up to follow the progress.