A Family's Fight Against Contaminated Water

The water bucket was empty—again. A child was sick—again. Another child was struggling in his studies—again. All were results of a common culprit.

A Struggle to Survive

Ragnar’s family of six struggled to attain the essential necessity of water. The closest water source was a well located over half a mile away and was often the scene of conflict as men and women jostled for position in line or even pushed aside individuals they considered inferior.

But the water they were fighting for was not pure. Many water sources in developing regions contain fecal matter, arsenic or other pollutants.1 Ragnar’s family continually battled sickness caused by the polluted water they drank.

Woman carrying water

Many families in the developing world, like Ragnar’s, have to travel long distances to fetch their daily water supply, which may carry disease.

The family’s plight was far too common. In the developing world, nearly 700 million people lack access to water that is fit to drink.2 UNICEF estimates 68 to 84 percent of water sources in South Asia are contaminated.3 People in these areas, such as Ragnar and his family, drink the only water available, but it often carries disease, such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid or polio.4

With higher metabolisms and proportionately more water within their bodies,5 Ragnar’s four children were among the most vulnerable and often the first to get sick. They risked becoming some of the estimated 6,000 children who die every day from waterborne diseases, many of them preventable.6 One of the most common symptoms of these diseases is diarrhea, which depletes the body’s fluids. Though typically a minor symptom in developed countries, diarrhea kills 1.5 million children every year in areas such as Africa and South Asia.7

In addition to battling physical ailments, Ragnar’s children struggled in school. Unsafe water can cause vomiting, stomachaches, headaches and confusion, things that not only affect one’s physical wellbeing but a child’s ability to learn. For example, long term exposure to arsenic in drinking water can lead to cognitive impairment, in addition to reducing a child’s chances of survival.8 Among the world’s poor, such as a daily-wage-laborer family like Ragnar’s, contaminated water can also exacerbate malnutrition, making it difficult for children to focus and excel in school, stunting their chances at a better life.9

Though typically a minor symptom in developed countries, diarrhea kills 1.5 million children every year in areas such as Africa and South Asia.

Ragnar wanted better for his children. He wanted them to be well and to excel.

Concerned for his jaundiced son, Ragnar took him to the local hospital. A doctor recommended filtered water, but as much as Ragnar desired his family to be healthy, he simply could not afford such a luxury. In dismay, Ragnar and his family trudged on, continuing to haul the water that, despite its necessity, made them sick.

National Missionary walking dirt road

Like this GFA worker, Dabid walked to surrounding villages. He happened to be traveling through Ragnar’s village when he encountered the downtrodden man and offered hope.

Providential Encounter

One day, as GFA worker Dabid was walking through Ragnar’s village, the two met along the path; the distress evident on Ragnar’s face drew Dabid’s consideration. Compassion swelled; Dabid could not pass this man by. He had to stop him and offer help.

What was wrong, Dabid asked the man. He explained he was a worker who helped people in need and prayed for the sick.

Ragnar knew of Dabid but was surprised to hear he helped people. Perhaps Dabid could do something, perhaps he could assist.

Ragnar’s struggles came tumbling out as he responded to the worker’s thoughtful inquiry. He told Dabid about their water predicament and requested prayer for his son’s sickness.

Immediately, Dabid went to Ragnar’s house to pray for his family. He left them with this assurance: He would help with their water issue.

The family’s hearts soared. Could it really be? After all this time and all their struggles, would they really have access to clean water?

Prayers Answered

It was no empty promise. Dabid knew well the challenges people in Asia face regarding clean water and the diseases associated with its lack, but he also knew well the efforts of GFA World in meeting this need. Jesus Wells and BioSand water filters had already altered the lives of 37.5 million people across Asia. Ragnar’s village also needed help.

Dabid and his congregation began to earnestly pray for a Jesus Well to be installed in Ragnar’s village. Soon, their prayers were answered!

Man using a Jesus Well

With the installation of this Jesus Well in Ragnar’s village (pictured), people have free, easy access to clean, life-giving water.

Now Ragnar and his family have access to clean, free drinking water within easy walking distance. Never again will they need to walk over half a mile to fetch contaminated water. Never again will they have to fight for water. Never again will they be subject to diseases easily prevented with pure water. All their water needs are met, and the entire family’s health has improved.

Ragnar’s family—and the entire village—is extremely grateful for the Jesus Well. Their lives have been greatly enriched—even transformed—by its presence in their community.

You Can Help a Village Like Ragnar’s

There are numerous villages like Ragnar’s still in need. Every day, people trek long distances to retrieve water that’s contaminated. It meets their immediate need but brings sickness. They have no choice; it’s their only option.

But it doesn’t have to be.

One Jesus Well serves an average of 300 people. These wells may be drilled up to 600 feet deep, reaching water that may have been previously inaccessible and ensuring the surrounding community has pure water even in the worst drought.

Jesus Well

This Jesus Well enables Ragnar, his family and his neighbors to attain clean water free of disease and tells them of the Living Water.

Jesus said if someone gives just a drink of water in His name, they will surely receive an eternal reward (Mark 9:41). Through GFA’s clean water initiative, you can help give an entire community life-giving, clean water for years to come, all in Jesus’ name.

Give to Clean Water

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.

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