tingo maria (9)January 11, 2016

A couple of days before Christmas our hot water heater broke.  I just looked at the calendar and realized that, as of today, we’ve been without hot water for three weeks!  Now, before you ask why we’ve been too stingy to pay to get it fixed or to buy a new one, let me offer a couple of explanations in our defense.

First of all, Peru is a centralized country, where pretty much everything other than potatoes comes from the capital city, eight hours away from where we live.  Fixing a broken appliance is not a simple matter of driving to the closest Ace Home Center to buy replacement parts or a new heater.  Also, Peru is a very “fiesta-oriented” country, which means that during holidays just about all businesses shut down for several days.  You can imagine that with Christmas and New Year’s being a week apart,  happy partiers find a way to get a whole lot of vacation days out of those holidays, leaving people with broken water heaters stuck on cold!

So I’ve learned quite a bit about water in the past three weeks.  Here are a few of my observations, not really in any particular order:

  1. Water is a necessity. Hot water is a luxury.                                                               SONY DSC  Lots of websites give statistics for the percentage of people on the earth without access to running water or to clean water, but I couldn’t find anything about people without access to hot water.  It made me stop complaining.
  2. We really don’t need as many showers as we think we do. Unless we’ve been to the gym or karate class. Or to the farm.
  3. We don’t need to use as much water as we think we need in order to get clean. Six inches of water heated up in my biggest stock pot is just enough for a decent bath.  The boys are still pretty small, so they can share that amount.
  4. Water is heavy.   (So why does it make you feel so light and lively when you’re swimming in it?  Hmm…. I guess this would make a good school lesson for the boys.) Anyhow, the fact that buckets (or stock pots) of water are heavy brings to mind a concern I had about an Old Testament Bible story when I was a kid.  I used to wonder what would have happened if the wrong girl offered to water allj- july trek (75) ten of Abraham’s servant’s camels when he went looking for a wife for Isaac.  But since I’ve carried enough hot water from the kitchen to the shower over the past three weeks to water my own herd of camels, I’m pretty sure that no girl would have made that offer unless an angel was literally poking her in the back and urging her to cheerfully say, “Yes, my lord, have a drink. I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” (Gen. 24:18-19) Rebekah was definitely the chosen one.
  1. The Bible is full of references to water; it’s mentioned well over 600 times in most English translations. In many cases the word refers to the literal substance that fills the rivers and seas, that falls as rain for the crops, and that we drink on a daily basis.  Sometimes the translation of “waters” speaks of a great trials, such as the deep waters mentioned by David in Psalm 69. But my favorite Biblical references to water, scattered throughout the Bible and repeated by Jesus himself, are wonderfully summed up in Isaiah 12:3.“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”   

j- july trek (56) As I look back at my list of observations about water, I can almost say that I’m glad our water heater has been broken for three weeks.  Because, quite honestly, I never would have taken the time to think much about water under normal circumstances… and look at all I’ve learned during these cold days!  Most importantly, I’m reminded that the water “drawn from the wells of salvation” is NOT a luxury, but a necessity for the lost people all around me.

1-11-2016            Rachel McDonald Yanac

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