San Bernabé Episcopal Church in Sancti Spiritus is our newest water partner in
Cuba. Their water system was dedicated at the end of May. Pastor Junco asked God’s blessing on the pure water and health education members of their church would be providing for their community. I had never seen a water system blessed with water! We lifted our first cup of pure water and all drank together before we ate cake and passed out certificates of recognition. Everyone was invited to add their painted hand print to our clean hands banner. Pastor Junco’s son, Pablo, excitedly assisted his grandfather in painting his hand and placing it on the banner. His grandfather offered his hand to his grandson, trusting him completely to pick out the perfect color for him, a beautiful shade of red. Pablo took his grandfather’s hand in his own and applied the red paint with such care that not a single stray drop landed on his abuelo’s yellow shirt or on the banner. What a beautiful picture that was!
Pablo presses his grandfather's hand on the "clean hands" banner celebrating the opening of their community's water purification system.
Three generations, grandfather, son, and grandson: A grandfather witnessing his son and grandson receiving access to sustainable, safe drinking water. A father witnessing his own father and son receiving the same. This was something they themselves had not grown up having. And then the grandson, who had taken part in our health education classes with his mom, learning how crucial pure water is to health, knowing that now he can bring his father and grandfather a cup of safe drinking water. I picture that cup of water not just cooling them off and quenching their thirst in the heat of the afternoon but also adding years to their lives so that this little boy can grow up with his father and grandfather at his side.
When we talk about sustainability, we at Living Waters for the World often say “clean water for a generation.” A generation is a long time. Not a day, or a year, or three. A generation (or two or three) is a long time, especially if that's how long your community has been living without access to clean water. Clean water for a generation is made all the sweeter when I think of a grandfather, a son, and a grandson who now no longer have to go without.
Along with our partners, may we begin with this end in mind: With God’s help and partners covenanting to walk together, may this community from this day forward have access to clean water. A generation from now, may this community talk about water that brought illness as a distant memory: Remember when we didn't have clean water? No? Let me tell you the story of what happened...
Thanks be to God and to all of our partners and volunteers for their servant’s hearts and their long obedience.