“But sir, you have no bucket and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” the Samaritan woman responds when Jesus asks for a drink of water.
In the midst of the political instability gripping Nicaragua, the water system in Orinoco is a beacon of hope and strength, providing people in the area with purified water and exemplifying Christ’s call for us to be servant leaders bringing change to the world.
Orinoco is home to approximately 2,000 of Nicaragua’s 5,000 Garifuna people. It is about 5 hours north of Blue Fields in the Southern Autonomous Region of Nicaragua (RAAS) and is accessible only by boat. The water system installed there in January, 2018 by a joint team from First Presbyterian Church of Richmond, VA and Westminster Presbyterian Church of Arlington, TX represents the first water covenant with the Catholic Church in Nicaragua.
Berto, Mon, and members of the water committee
The system is run by two operators, Simon (known as Mon) and Humberto (called Berto). After a recent visit to Orinoco by our in-country coordinator, Yovette Hebert, she shared that, “I am always motivated and feel revived when I visit these wonderful servants of God. They love the Lord, LWW’s ministry, and to serve their people.”
From a distance if you take a good look toward the water building in Orinoco, the first thing you see are the signs.
They serve as good reminders for the people of this community to use the purified water.
“I am so proud of these operators, they love to serve their people and share the good message of how important the water is and that Jesus himself is Living Water. ‘Whoever drinks of this water will never thirst again.’ These are the words Simon uses to educate his people,” says Yovette. Simon is well-respected and dedicated to serving the people of Orinoco community and the surrounding communities. As the coordinator, operator and the heart of the water system, LWW and Orinoco wouldn’t be the same without him.
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger… and not help you?’
When students pass by the water building everyday on their way to and from school, Simon gives them water to take along for their journey (about 30 minutes each way). Because of his generosity, the students tell people about Simon and his water. One day a lady named Charleen came to the water system saying that she had heard of this water system and “that the water is so nice.” Charleen said she would like to bring water to the people in her community, Marshall Point. Immediately, Simon carried water with her to Marshall Point, and today the church has a strong water ministry there. The people are happy to have access to the purified water and give good testimony to its benefits.
Yovette had the opportunity to meet Charleen, and Yovette relayed, “I was able to experience the love that she has to serve and expand this ministry.” The connection between the church in Orinoco and the community of Marshall Point has become so strong that a second person is interested in partnering with the church to distribute/sell in the community. “With all the ups and down of our country,” says Yovette, “these are real testimonies that motivate us and show the love of God for his people.”
Simon, Humberto, the women on the Orinoco water committee, Yovette, you, me; we are all the face of living waters in the world. Let us use our gifts to build community in the world and bear witness to the risen Christ as we celebrate the work of the church in Orinoco and look forward to the continuing success of the water system there.