A Water Crisis Threatens Millions Worldwide

By Richard Young | Posted December 19, 2022

One of the most famous and beloved poems in the English language is Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” which was published in 1798. Amid hard times, a sailor on a stranded ship gazes over the vast ocean and utters, “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

Nearly 225 years later, the old poem could very well express the sentiments that many people around the world are feeling now amid what is being called “The Global Water Crisis.” Our planet is 70 percent water (water, water everywhere), yet millions face not having enough fresh, safe water to sustain life (nor a drop to drink).

What is this crisis, and what lessons should we learn from it?

What Crisis?

Anyone walking down a grocery store aisle in America likely would not think that the world is in the middle of a water crisis. 

Our shelves are piled high with water—in green bottles, in blue square bottles, and in blue curved bottles. Water galore is sold in glass bottles, in plastic bottles, and in cans. And if water from America isn’t good enough, there’s water from Italy, France, Fiji, and Scotland. Don’t want plain water? You can always get water enhanced with electrolytes and with added flavors (wild berry, orange, grape, lemon, blueberry, cherry, mint).

Meanwhile, most of us have at least two faucets in our homes. With a twist or flick of the wrist, water comes pouring out on demand, and we can even control its temperature. For the most part, that’s all we’ve ever known—“water, water everywhere”—and plenty to drink too. And not just to drink, but also to irrigate our lawns, wash our cars, and even fill our pools.

What water crisis?

The Crisis

Unfortunately, while most people in the so-called “developed world” usually don’t face water shortages—though it does happen and has been happening more frequently—hundreds of millions worldwide lack access to safe drinking water. 

While we can easily get our pick of whatever designer brand of water we want, hundreds of millions, many of whom are children, are forced to drink water that others have used upstream in their toilets or laundry machines.

According to water.org, “a global nonprofit organization working to bring water and sanitation to the world,” about “771 million people—1 in 10—lack access to safe water at home. And 1.7 billion—1 in 4—don’t have access to a toilet. The water crisis negatively impacts the health and livelihood of more than one-third of our global population.”

Worse, the United Nations says that about “2.3 billion people live in water-stressed countries,” while about “4 billion people, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.”

Whether or not one blames this crisis on climate change, most experts predict that the problem will be getting worse. The Council of Foreign Relations, which does put the blame on global warming, warns that it threatens “to increase the number of water-stressed areas and heighten water stress in already affected regions.” Again, whatever the reason, expect things to get worse.

And although the United States is not as threatened as other nations, it is hardly without its own water issues. Some parts of the country are struggling to supply enough usable water to residents. And what is called “the water gap” shows that while many Americans don’t have problems getting fresh, drinkable water, an estimated “two million people with no running water” do.

What can be done about the water crisis? One proposed solution is vegetarianism. It takes much more water to put meat on our tables than it takes to put veggies there. Said one report, “The production of a meat-based diet typically consumes twice the amount of water as compared to a plant-based diet.” Hence, more people adopting a plant-based diet would go a long way in helping to solve the water crisis.

The Water of Life

Water is life. We cannot survive without it. 

Because water is so basic to life, to our physical well-being, the Bible uses it as a symbol to convey a vital message about our spiritual well-being. Dozens of passages in the Old and New Testament use water as a metaphor to teach biblical truth.

One of the most famous examples is when Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. He tells her that He can give her “living water,” something far more satisfying than mere well water. He then says, “Whoever drinks of this water [the well water] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10). Jesus was, of course, talking about Himself and what He has to offer the world: eternal life.

Jesus is the source of all life—and, more so, through Him we have eternal life. This is something that all the electrolyte-enhanced water in the world can never give. So why not learn more today about Jesus and the life you can find in Him?  Go to “5 Steps to Eternity” to discover more.

Richard Young
Richard Young is a writer for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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