Water is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.
Pakistan is being confronted with serious challenges including industrialization and demands for agriculture. Some of the challenges that Pakistan is currently facing are depleted and more salty groundwater, rapid urbanization, long dry spell that some time causes drought situation in different parts of the country.
According to Water Aid Pakistan Program, more than 21,640,407 people in the country are living without any access to clean drinking water. The disparity between the rich and poor people is quite visible in terms of their access to clean drinking water. Pakistan is ranked eighth position in the top 10 countries that with lowest access to clean water close to home.
Environmental damage together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises around in every part of the country. Floods, drought and water pollution make degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.
Nature for Water, the theme of the year is to explore the water challenges in the 21st century. Water is critical to life that the followers of Christ are witnessing efforts towards achieving water justice.
Indeed, Jesus taught that only those who gave food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty could be considered as his followers. (Matthew 25: 34). Churches must undertake the role as the body of Christ, as God’s hands and feet in the world, with unprecedented zeal with the highest priority on the agenda of every national church, congregation and organization.
Churches are called by God to use their unique voice to help create His kingdom here on earth, but without water justice, the kingdom remains incredibly distant in the face of needless suffering and death for God’s children and the destruction of the integrity of His creation.
Churches have certain critical roles and responsibilities in achieving water justice:
1. Churches can engage and educate the congregations and communities on spiritual and ethical values of water as well as Christian responsibilities to treat water respectfully and to seek water justice.
2. Churches can seek to be responsible in use of water in the places of worship, and in our daily lives, by setting an example of lightening the lamp stand for all to see. (Mark 4:21)
3. Churches can fund and carry out projects to provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education, including actions to prevent water pollution to express the love and dignity to improve access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
4. Churches can raise a prophetic voice of faith in support of water justice towards providing water and sanitation to the most vulnerable populations.
5. Churches can pursue water justice by highlighting the powerful witness of unjust and irresponsible behavior and to protect all of God’s creation.
Ecumenical Commission for Human Development strongly believes that collaborative partnerships with enduring hope together can change the world in achieving water justice around the globe.