This guest post is by Tara Collins. She leads marketing at neverthirst, a ministry on mission to serve clean and living water to the unreached in Africa and Asia.
The global water crisis has reached alarming proportions. 1 in 10 people lack access to clean, safe water necessary for daily life. In the face of this massive need, Christians have a unique and crucial role to play. There is significant opportunity to alleviate urgent physical needs and meet immense spiritual need in some of the most unreached places in our world.
1. We’re called to meet urgent physical needs.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink … whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35, 40b (NIV)
In His ministry on earth, Jesus demonstrated unwavering care and compassion for the poor and marginalized. Throughout the Gospels, we see numerous instances when Jesus reached out to those in need, embracing the downtrodden and lifting up the oppressed.
Jesus’ approach to caring for the poor did not merely provide for their physical needs but also recognized their inherent dignity and worth as children of God. Jesus’ actions were a powerful embodiment of His teachings, emphasizing the fundamental commandment to love one another and to show mercy and kindness to the least among us. By caring for physical needs around Him, Jesus showed compassion and pointed to our spiritual need for Him.
Caring for the poor is not always convenient. The disciples’ responses to Jesus’s actions testify to that. But it’s commanded—better yet, modeled—by a savior who went before us in loving the least among us.
2. Only 1% of Christian giving goes to the unreached right now.
Let’s back up: Who are the unreached? People are ‘unreached’ when there are so few believers among a people group or nation, that they need outside help or resources to effectively share the gospel where they live.
Simply put, ‘unreached’ people groups do not have access to hear the gospel.
Herein lies a gap: Only 1% of Christian missions giving goes to countries that are considered ‘unreached’ with the gospel. That means 99% of giving to missions work goes to nations that are already ‘reached’ with the gospel!
“I want to affirm the ways God leads His church to support and partner with other churches in reached places of the world. At the same time, surely more than 1% of our ‘missions’ giving we send from the church should be going to over three billion unreached people in the world. This is a Great Imbalance, and it is keeping us from obeying the Great Commission Jesus has given us.”
What does this have to do with the water crisis?
771 million people do not have access to clean water today. And over 3 billion people do not have access to hear the gospel.
The majority of the unreached live in the 10/40 window, an area of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The 10/40 window happens to be where the majority of the need for clean water is, too.
These crises are overlaid.
By giving to work among the unreached, the Church has a unique opportunity to meet the most urgent physical and spiritual needs in our world today.
3. Indigenous pastors need resources to serve their regions.
At neverthirst, our model works through the local church: local pastors, missionaries, or faithful followers of Christ who long to serve communities in need in their country.
Every water project is connected with a local pastor, giving them a platform to share the good news of Jesus with families who have often never heard it.
Many of these pastors need transportation, resources, and opportunities to share the love of God with new communities. For many, offering to bring clean water is the open door they need.
“Before as a pastor I would go into a village with empty hands … and people would not accept me. But the water program has really showed the community that we care for them.
God has opened their hearts and now five new cell groups have started. In each group, there are one to three who have chosen to follow Jesus and others come who are interested to learn more. I am so grateful to God for His faithfulness.” — Pastor Meas, Cambodia
4. Clean water opens doors in closed contexts.
In the 10/40 geographical window, there are many regions considered ”closed” to the gospel—not welcoming or inviting toward Christians who share their faith. In some places where we work, that looks like real persecution: believers cut off from a community, churches burned down, pastors in jail, or worse, death.
Time and time again, we see God working through the gift of clean water to open doors in villages otherwise ‘closed’ to the gospel.
When a community sees a pastor helping meet their most urgent need, it sparks conversation. It sparks relationship. It creates an opportunity for the pastor to show the love of God in word and deed—and for many pastors, it’s the first welcome opportunity to share about their faith with communities that were uninterested, or even hostile, before.
The water crisis undoubtedly needs the body of Christ to move and act.
We invite you to join in. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to share the good news and meet urgent needs in our world today.
“The people were thrilled when they learned the water project would come to their village. Even though I’ve known these people for so long, very few ever interacted with me. However, since the hand pump installation, the entire village has been talking to me. Every time we cross paths, they show respect. I’d like to thank neverthirst for helping me find a way to serve this community more fully. Thank you for blessing this community with you support and for helping me share the love of God with the people.” — Pastor Markas, India
See the opportunity at neverthirstwater.org