The COMMUNITY EVENT OF THE YEAR may have taken place in Mtana these last few weeks. A large machine rumbled through the village and people started to gather around. First children, then grown adults. Everyone wanted to see what this machine was going to do. Many things become interesting to a village with no TV. When it was confirmed that the machine had come to drill a well and bring water to Mtana the excitement only grew.
Every time that I would pass by and check on the project there were people there, never less than 10 actually even at 7:30 in the morning. It was almost like the people of Mtana did not trust these experts to do their job correctly, and after about three days I realized that this may have been exactly it. This was not just a development project for this village, but this well brought with it a source of life, of hope, of health, of development. In one simple step, life in Mtana is about to drastically improve especially for the women in the village who are currently walking hours a day to fetch water. They will not only regain part of their day for other work, but they will lessen the impact that carrying heavy buckets on your head will make on your body. The company may have been experts in drilling, but nobody had more expectations and more drive to see this project succeed than the people of Mtana.
I hope that the impact this well has on the physical lives of the people of Mtana can be mirrored by the spiritual impact of the church there. There are many kinds of poverty and hardship is brought on by them all. The well will take steps to address the physical poverty of Mtana. The church also has a role though, to address relational poverty and spiritual poverty. Women can be oppressed by work, by the fact that it is their gender designated job to fetch water. They can also be oppressed by abusive husbands because of relational poverty or by a lack of self-worth due to spiritual poverty. This is just one example of many. The people in Mtana literally thirst for clean water for themselves and their families. I have also seen a thirst for the living water that promises to bring restoration and a full life, that one day will include a life without tears or fears.
It is possible given that this may be the community event of the year, that the church will gain an opportunity to do all of that, help with the physical, relational, and spiritual poverty.
I want to give a big THANK YOU to the active Body of Christ and the church connection that allowed a church in Mt. Juliet, TN to help drill a well in Mtana, Tanzania. Thank you Cooks United Methodist Church for bringing water to the thirsty.
Lord, may our thirst for justice, restoration, and your living water never slacken, but only increase as we encounter those in the world, ourselves included, who need to be redeemed from our physical, relational, and spiritual poverty. Amen