Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 13, 2010

Drowning in Excess

   El Salvador en route to Katy, Texas

   I have enjoyed a great week serving with a Living Water International volunteer team in El Salvador. We spent the week working among the people of Monte Rico, a rural community where we drilled a water-well. One of the things I noticed while there is how much time people without access to a convenient source of water spend fetching water. The people of Monte Rico spend hours every day in the pursuit and acquisition of water for a variety of daily needs. They have no choice. It is a part of their daily routine. Every day, some member of the family must be engaged in the pursuit and acquisition of water.

   Those of us who enjoy unlimited and unrestricted access to clean and safe drinking water do not always appreciate how good we have it. We don’t worry about running out of water before the daily chores are completed. And, we enjoy the benefit of hot water to wash our dishes, clothes, and ourselves. If a family member suffers a bout of diarrhea, the thought never crosses our minds that they might die from it because we have more than sufficient water to help them rehydrate. If anything, we are drowning in excess. We have more than enough water to wash away lots of our worries. And, our excess is, in part, responsible for blinding us to what life is like for those without convenient access to water.

   On the day we completed the water well at Monte Rico I heard a woman say, “This is such a beautiful place. I wish that I had a little house right here because then I would be close to the water-well.” This woman did not say she wished she had a home with running water because she can’t conceive of that possibility. But she can dream about living in a home closer to a reliable source of clean and safe drinking water. We would be miserable if that were our only option. But, to this woman it would be a dream come true.

   Should we feel guilty because we live in homes with running water? No, absolutely not. But we must be careful lest our convenient access to excessive amounts of clean and safe drinking water lulls us into indifference. Jesus said that we are responsible for assisting those who are thirsty (Matt. 10:42). We can’t support every good cause, but Jesus did provide a guideline for causes worthy of our support. Among others, these include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, offering shelter to the homeless, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and the prisoner (Matt. 25:35-36).  Organizations like Living Water International are worthy of our support because they are making a life-saving difference. Please prayerfully consider giving some of your excess to bless those without access to clean and safe drinking water.


  1. Thanks for sharing this story. Our church gives to Living Water International every Christmas as part of Advent Conspiracy. It is nice to hear more about the people who’s lives are changed by this good work.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth. I am so happy to hear that your church supports Living Water. It is one of the best investments any church or individual can make.

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