[In the audio podcast of this service, the sermon begins at 21 min 20 secs.]
Elder Paul Soskey spoke about his experiencein Ghana.
From today’s scripture reading we hear Jesus saying, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but 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.”
Christ describes living water leading to eternal life. Today I will be speaking of another kind of living water, that which is found in most areas of the undeveloped peoples of the world, and does not lead to eternal life. In fact it does lead to pain, suffering and in some cases even death.
I want to share with you my recent service trip to Ghana to help improve the health situation of remote villages in the Lake Volta and Ashanti regions. The “living” water there. is one of bacteria, viruses and parasites that live either by themselves or in host organisms in untreated surface streams, ponds and lakes where people directly get their drinking water. Even rainwater collection systems and pumped ground water can be further contaminated by poor hygiene practices and storage conditions.
One such parasite is the Guinea worm. Guinea worm eradication efforts spearheaded by the Carter Foundation in the 1990s has eliminated the condition in many of the affected countries around the world, going from hundreds of thousands of cases a year down to thousands and in some countries actually to zero. Ghana has not eliminated it completely and in fact has had a recent increase in the problem, especially in the drier northern region where dammed ponds are created to collect and store the scant rainfall.