A Bowl of Water

June 27, 2011

Our water heater went out last Wednesday, and we made do over the weekend. This experience has been the source of some great conversations between my husband and me. Interestingly, our kids have been oblivious. Tells you how much of a priority bathing is for them. But, I really love a hot shower. I was pretty irritated that I would have to go through a weekend without hot water. It’s turned out to be a really wonderful experience. It gave me perspective. I might add that this perspective is from the cheap seats. I have the luxury of having drinkable water coming out of my tap whenever I want- however much I want.

The more I read about water, the more I am completely grateful to have water






I read a story in a magazine last month about the impact that a well makes in a community. Women in this community spent about four hours a day just toting water. Walking to the creek. Filling your jug. Carrying 50 lbs of water on your back all the way back to your home. They call the dry season the “season of miscarriages” because pregnant women miscarry their babies more frequently during the dry season. Charlie was talking with our friend Isaac about our water experience over the weekend. Isaac shared about communities that he’s visited where hotels bring you a bucket of water to bathe in. Understanding how time-consuming water acquisition is in many parts of the developing world helps me to see what a complete act of hospitality this is. A whole bucket of water.

What Charlie and I have noticed since our hot water went out is how decadent a bowl of warm water is. I’ve been using a bowl of heated water to wash the kids’ hands and faces. What’s been completely surprising has been my feeling of intense gratitude for this warm bowl of water to wash my children. I had a wonderfully touching conversation last week with a woman who I deeply respect about this need we have to meet our children’s basic needs. We were talking about people who live in refugee camps and can’t ever get their children really clean. The larger issue is meeting the needs of your children. But this smaller issue of bathing our children spoke to my heart. Then, my hot water went out. I realized how spoiled I am. I was put out that the water coming out of my tap wasn’t warm. When I lived without warm water for a few days, I realized how decadent it was. My children genuinely enjoyed getting their faces and hands washed with a bit of soap and a clean warm washrag.

I guess I’m slowly learning how little I really need to be happy. The repair person is coming to fix the hot water heater today. But, I don’t want to forget this. I want to remember to be grateful. I want to remember to savor the luxury of bathing my children.


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