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A young boy in Iraq enjoys safe water from Operation Blessing.

The Blessing of Safe Water

A young boy in Iraq enjoys safe water from Operation Blessing.

This morning — and every morning — as I stand at my sink to fill the coffee pot, or to brush my teeth, or to pour a glass of water to drink, I am thankful that the water coming from the faucet is clear, cold, and absolutely safe.

Safe water is an increasingly rare commodity, available only to those able to pay a premium for it in most places in the world. It is readily available for a modest fee to me and everyone else here in America, but this is not the case in most other countries.

A woman draws unsafe water from a well.

I travel to dozens of countries each year where Operation Blessing teams work to save lives and alleviate suffering, much of it caused by contaminated water — water that looks harmless, but contains nasty germs, disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These contaminants are invisible to the naked eye, but poisonous to the people drinking the water, especially the very young and very old.

We are so incredibly fortunate here in the United States, where no matter how poor, everyone has access to perfectly safe water. We don’t think twice about the purity of water from the tap, a glass of water in a restaurant, a highway rest stop, an airport, or motel. Safe drinking water is a blessing we don’t pay any attention to, but the U.S. is one of few places on earth where contaminated water is not a public health issue.

A man pours water into a container.

In most of the countries I have visited lately, I wouldn’t dare drink water from a tap or allow a waiter to put ice in my glass. I’m not referring only to poor countries. I’ve stayed in modern hotels in huge cities like Beijing, Manila, and Mexico City where signs in hotel bathrooms warn guests not to drink the water. If the water in big hotels is bad, just imagine what’s available to poor families.

Diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery are mentioned in American history books, but have you ever known a single person who has suffered or died from diseases like these? Yet waterborne diseases and parasites are very much a part of everyday challenges facing nearly a billion people in countries throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and even much of Europe.

A young girl in Peru drinks safe water from a Kohler Clarity filter.

Your support of Operation Blessing’s safe water efforts is responsible for the alleviation of suffering for millions of people who would otherwise be vulnerable to waterborne disease. In fact, our efforts in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, combined with a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers called Operation Agua, have resulted in the installation of water filtration devices in almost every public school on the island — 1,106 schools serving over 274,000 children. We could not have participated in that incredible project without your prayers and financial support. Puerto Rico is just one example of the blessings that we can pass along because of you.

Your generosity has enabled OBI to be a leader in global efforts to supply sustainable safe water to countless people. You are doing your part by demonstrating generosity and willingness to help those less fortunate than yourself. People all over the world are quenching their thirst with safe water because of you. Thank you and may God bless you for it.

School children in Puerto Rico hold glasses of safe water..

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