Sometimes drilling wells can be tough. You battle for days to get one well – and those are long days…starting early, finishing late into the night by the light of work-lights; you’re shovelling mud that never ends, never goes where you want it to, and makes every step an effort; you end up putting the drill rods into the ground then pulling them out again several times during the course of the work because the hammer gets blocked; there’s the nagging doubt that you’ll not even get a well at the end of all the work; you’re tired, constantly…
Thankfully, the past 3 drill teams have been nothing like that! 7 wells drilled by the team from Carrick Baptist (my home church) before Christmas, another 9 wells with the team from Atlanta in January, and 6 wells with the team from Lurgan (NI) last month. And, on the January trip the work lights didn’t have to be used once! That’s 22 new wells, drilled at both established churches & new church plants, giving clean safe water to many thousands of people – God is Good!
One side effect of the easier drilling was that when I lay down on my camp bed (sometimes at 9pm – unheard of for me) my eyes weren’t closed before my head hit the pillow. Instead, I would find myself lying there, looking up at the stars – so much clearer than at home – and trying to find the constellations that I recognise. Without fail, my thoughts would turn first of all to Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. It’s rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”
The beauty & majesty of the stars – spoken into existence by our God; the vastness of the universe – countless stars & planets, yet each one known by our God; the order of our universe – each planet moving in it’s perfect orbit, the sun rising and setting each day without fail, showing the wisdom and order of our God; the diversity of life on our own planet – created perfectly by our God. All these things emphasis the greatness of our God, the Creator – all-powerful, all knowing, infinite…beyond our comprehension.
Then my thoughts would turn to Psalm 8:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.”
Considering myself after considering the wonder of creation, and its Creator, is sobering. Its vastness emphasises my smallness; God’s power highlights my weakness; His wisdom is in complete contrast to my foolishness; His holiness reveals my sinfulness; and so the list goes on… And yet, this God cares for me. This God cherishes me. This God bestows honour on me. This God has forgiven & cleansed me. This God loves me; loves me enough to send His Son to this world, to be crucified to take the punishment for my wrongdoing; and I can call this awesome God ‘Father’…
How can I know this, because God’s Word tells me. The second half of Psalm 19 reads:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
The heavens show us the greatness and splendour of God; however, it is God’s Word that tells us about God Himself, and about our need of a saviour – Jesus Christ.
And that is why we do what we do. Drilling wells obviously helps people physically – better health due to the clean water; more time for the children to go to school due to the easier access to water; more water for agriculture…. But, more importantly, the wells give the local pastors more opportunities to share the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that Gospel can change people’s lives eternally.