Once Upon a Summer: Bottles of Water and a Message of Hope (Part 8)

“. . . whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

__________________________

July 28, 1999
Mulcha, Slovakia

They say that water is life. But in Mulcha, the only source of water was a small, muddy, stream that flowed through the centre of the village. This stream was all that the townspeople had for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. And it was full of toxins.

No one on the outside seemed to care that the water was unsafe. Government officials refused to help the villagers; they would not set foot in a gypsy settlement. So the people—especially the children—were getting sick from ingesting the contaminants.

As we unloaded cases of clean, bottled water, I found it difficult to control my emotions. There was a pervasive air of hopelessness in Mulcha that was evident everywhere that I looked.

As I recall, on one side of the village stream, there rose a grassy knoll with nothing much to boast of except one lonely, scraggly sheep tied to a stake. On the other side of the stream, a couple of rundown houses and a row of dilapidated shacks sagged listlessly.

The shacks had been built out of whatever materials were available—scraps of wood, tin, anything that the gypsies could find. One person had made a roof for their shelter out of old pieces of carpet and some dirty blankets. Wash was strung up everywhere and chickens ran freely.

As we gathered the children on the hillside, adults meandered out of their houses and stood in groups on the other side of the stream, eying us suspiciously. We sang songs about Jesus and told the children about salvation, but I’m not sure whether anyone got saved that day.

I may never know whether anything we did on that particular day made an impact on the people of Mulcha. One thing I do know, however. The people of Mulcha made a deep impact on me.

You see, there are some basic necessities of life that no one should be without. These are food, shelter, water…

…and hope.

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