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Being the church together

Living Waters for the World water partners answer Matthew 25’s call

by Living Waters for the World | Special to Presbyterian News Service

“… I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…” — from Matthew 25

Twin sisters in Armenia, Belize, enjoy a glass of purified water from the Living Waters for the World system at their school. (Photo permission granted by their mother, Abby, who is the president of the water committee in Armenia, Belize; photo by Doug Depies)

LOUISVILLE — Tuesday is World Water Day and Living Waters for the World (LWW) is celebrating the call of Matthew 25, the gift of pure water and the gift of water partners.

“The commitment of Living Waters for the World water partner churches who have also said yes to the Matthew 25 invitation brings to mind these words from Pepper Choplin’s anthem, Deep Waters: “Go out to deep waters … where only faith will let you go … harvests of faith will overflow,” says Kendall Cox, Director of Education for LWW. “God’s call to all of us is not to stay in the safe, comfortable, shallow water but to go deeper in relationship with God and with each other, where our feet don’t touch the bottom and we have to rely on God and on each other — that’s being the church together in a new and different way.”

God’s call is to put heart before hardware and people before PVC. Pictured here are Ancy Fils-Aime and Rubenia Sánchez, LWW In-Country Coordinators for Haiti and Guatemala. (Contributed photo)

 

Living Waters for the World believes that all God’s children deserve pure water to drink. LWW trains teams to work with partners in communities where equitable access to pure water doesn’t exist. Partners work with each other, and with God’s help and the assistance of LWW In-Country Network staff, a sustainable source of purified water in the community is created. LWW stresses the small and important word “with”: water partners don’t do anything for anyone — they come alongside and work with each other. It is not only the water that is transformed; it’s the people as well.

Denis Evangelista (Contributed photo)

“I love being a part of LWW because I can see how purified water has transformed the lives of families who only had access to contaminated water,” said Denis Evangelisa, LWW’s El Salvador In-Country Coordinator. “The most gratifying part is seeing the smiles of the children, seeing them healthy and seeing how their parents are so grateful to God for the gift of having a water purification system. I love working closely with our partners, supporting them with whatever is necessary, resolving problems together and seeing how we work together to create a sustainable system. The people are the most important part.”

Throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), LWW water partners said yes to the Matthew 25 invitation. Forty-two LWW water churches, 14 presbyteries with water teams, and the Synod of Living Waters, where LWW was founded, are all Matthew 25 churches and mid councils. LWW itself is a Matthew 25 group, as is Camp Hopewell, LWW’s partners in training.

“We’ve been a Matthew 25 mission from our inception,” says the Rev. Wil Howie, LWW founder. (Contributed photo)

Wade Chambers, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Mississippi, and a leader of their LWW water team, said, “Our church is both an LWW water partner and a Matthew 25 church. To see how our whole church, from the four-year-olds to the 94-year-olds, come together to support our water partners in Cuba — that’s congregational vitality at its best! Our water partners are a blessing to us and to their community. They freely and fully bring to the table the gifts God has given them. They teach us what it means to be partners and call forth the gifts God has given us as well. We have so much to learn about God’s children — our family — in Cuba. Our partners pray for us, and we pray for them. Coming together across cultures to work as water partners continues to teach us what we can’t learn in a book about systemic poverty and structural racism. From my perspective, being a Living Waters for the World water partner touches on all three areas of focus of Matthew.”

Water partners from the Adventist Church in Placetas, Cuba, are pictured with members of First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Mississippi. (Contributed photo)

Water organizations like Living Waters for the World have made great strides in addressing the world water crisis, and yet there is still much to be done to serve the least of these safe drinking water. For LWW water partners, embracing the Matthew 25 invitation and vision encourages them to share stories of hope with each other and the world as they answer God’s call to go out to deep water and, together, be the church.

To learn more about Living Waters for the World, go here.

Tuesday is World Water Day, a day set aside each year by the United Nations to “celebrate water and raise awareness of the two billion people currently living without access to safe water.”

The 2022 World Water Day theme is Ground Water: Making the Invisible Visible. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind. For everyone at Living Waters for the World, every day is world water day. Believing that Jesus Christ is living water for our bodies and our souls, they answer the call to partner together so that all of God’s children have access to pure drinking water.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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