“Pe pii.” No water. That’s what I had to tell the Acholi woman who walked to our birth center compound to get water from the long hose that snakes several yards across our fields to just outside the birth center. Even though the sun was still shining, the water was not flowing. The woman’s face looked troubled as she walked away. Her expression mirrored my own.
We are blessed to have a solar-powered well-water pump, which means that people who get water from our hose do not have to pump it like they do from a bore-hole. It just flows freely! So lots of people come, all day, and get water from us. But only when the sun is shining. If it’s a cloudy day or a rainy day, there’s no water. And sometimes, the technology just plain doesn’t work. A few months ago, the solar-powered pump quit working and had to be repaired. A few days ago, my fellow midwife Kate and I feared we were about to face the same problem again.
I was a little tense. I had come to the hose to get fresh drinking water for the night, and there wasn’t any. I would have to get some from one of our storage jars. But what if the water wasn’t flowing the morning? What then?
The well is our main source of water. It is easy to get water because of the solar-powered pump. If it doesn’t work, we can get water from nearby bore-holes, but we have to pump the water up out of the ground, which is physically hard and time-consuming … and there are mamas and babies to take care of!
Fortunately, the problem turned out to be the angle of the sun, which was shining, but not on the solar panel. The next morning, later in the day than usual, the water was flowing again. But this made me think of how many people around us are thirsty for living water.
Jesus answered, “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.”
~ Jesus (John 4:13)