Today I watered my garden and felt guilty about it. Guilty for several reasons; water here is very precious right now and water here is work normally. It hasnt rained here in a very long time, probably close to two months. I mean really rained – the kind of rain that quenches the thirst of the deepest tree roots, heals the huge cracks in the ground and turns the world back to green. Everywhere you look you you see the evidence of this on-going dry season; the brown grass crunches under your feet as you walk and the produce that is still available to purchase gets smaller and smaller. But most of all you see it in the people, the Congolese, around you. The concern worn on faces, poorer produce to sell carried on womens’ heads, talk of entire fields being lost due to drought and cattle dying. Hunger.
When I felt guilty I wasnt watering my lawn. I wasnt watering flowers or decorative plants. I was watering my vegetable garden, our food, and I still felt guilty. It isnt a waste of water in my opinion; we need to eat but the guilt was there none-the-less. I have water enough to drink and bathe and to water my garden. If we run low in our cistern all we have to do is pay a small amount to use a large pump and pipe system to fill it back up again. Watering my garden was made even more easy by the recent installation of an underground irrigation system in our yard. I no longer have to hand-carry watering-can after watering-can from our water tower to the garden to give our plants and seeds a drink; I get to flip a switch in the pumphouse and use a hose. Using a hose while pumping water from our refillable cistern gave me feelings of guilt, privledge and then a sense of blessing. I honestly feel blessed by God to stand in my garden and use a hose to water.
I guess I never realized what a blessing rain and water are until I moved to Congo. Here women and children have to walk, sometimes long distances, to a water source and then they have to carry the water back to their home to use. Water to cook, water to drink, water to wash their clothes, water to wash their dishes, water to bathe with. Everyday they carry the water they need to their home on their backs and their heads. Watering their fields here is out of the question; just carrying enough for their other parts of life is overwhelming. Rain here is God watering their gardens for them; blessing. Rain here refreshes the ground, revives the grass and refills the rivers; the cattle can live another day. So much of life here is tied up in the rain; it literally is life or death for some of the Congolese. You need rain to feed your family through crops and animals.
So in this time of drought, grey storm clouds carry with them prayers and hope. Hope that rainy season will be here soon. Prayers that God will water their fields. I am praying and hoping along with them but especially for them. I pray while I work in my garden; I’m praying for rain while praising God for having the amazing blessing of a watering system and cistern. I praise God for His blessing on us, through being able to water and grow things for my family, which leads me to a place of worship for His goodness and provision. Im worshipping while I water my garden.