21 Seconds Can Change a Life

How Water Transforms Communities and Lives

By Amanda DeWitt

A child dies from a water-related illness every 21 seconds. A startling statistic, yet these are someone’s children. Someone’s grandchildren.

Every day moms and dads in places like Africa face a terrible dilemma — giving their children drinking water that is contaminated. They have no choice. Water is needed to survive. Yet the only water available to them contains bacteria and parasites that can be deadly.

The reality is staggering, especially considering most water-born illnesses are preventable. But in many places, people lack the economic resources — and the tools — needed to dig deep wells that provides a sustainable source of water. So families are left searching for whatever they can find, often settling for dirty water when nothing else is available.

The Change Water Brings

The change is remarkable. As you walk through a remote village in Tanzania, you see it everywhere.

Once clean water was nearly impossible to find. Families had to walk long distances in search of fresh water. When they couldn’t find it, they had to settle for dirty, disease-ridden water. The area was extremely dry spiritually too — the culture was hostile, and even violent, toward even the mention of the name Jesus.

But that all changed when local partners, together with an Unto® team, arrived to drill a water well. The act of giving villagers access to safe, clean water broke down barriers and slowly opened doors to share the eternal hope of Jesus.

Today three churches have been established. When our team and the regional pastor visited recently, 60 people came to publicly express their hope in Jesus.

Water gives life. It also opens doors for people to learn about Jesus’ living water and the transformation it brings.

The Difference You Can Make

What if you could spend 21 seconds to save a child’s life or positively affect a remote Tanzanian village or other place that is tough to reach?

Here are three simple ways you can make a difference in little more than 21 seconds.

Pray. We often overlook the difference that prayer can make, especially when we consider global situations and crises. But God invites us to bring every issue — big and small — to Him.

Max Lucado says, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”

So pray, even if it is just for 21 seconds to start, for those in need of water around the world.

Share. Did you know the water crisis is so serious? Chances are many of your friends and family members don’t know about this grave situation.

We cannot change what we do not know about. Tell others about the needs of families around the world. Post or Tweet about the global water crisis. You can help raise awareness. It takes little more than 21 seconds to share the serious news and potential solutions.

Give. If you want to do more than pray and share, consider giving to help provide clean, safe water to families in need. Whether it is a little or a lot, every dollar matters as we seek to end preventable diseases and provide fresh water to people living in some of the toughest places on earth.

What can you do to give water to those who need it most? How will you make a difference? Often it takes less than 21 seconds to help.

Published April 30, 2019


Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.