Through water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, Samaritan's Purse is introducing new opportunities and the hope of the Gospel to people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Where fresh, clean water is in short supply, Samaritan’s Purse is restoring springs to protect people from waterborne illnesses. As we provide new ways for communities to obtain this resource that is so essential to life itself, residents are also experiencing a newfound promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Ruth used to wake her children at 4 a.m., so they could join her out on the dusty trail with their buckets and jerry cans. By the time the world was awake, the family would already have walked several kilometers.
They needed to arrive early to avoid the crowds and long lines as multiple villages all showed up to collect water from the same slow-flowing spring. Among the later arrivals, disputes over the limited resource would break out.
In Faradje Territory, a remote region in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the chances grew rarer each year that enough water would be available at any of the nearby springs. Drinking dirty water became a way of life, causing Ruth’s whole family to experience days of illness on end.
In recent months, however, Samaritan’s Purse became an answer to a long-standing prayer in Ruth’s community as our water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) team began assessing needs in Faradje.
“As in many rural areas of the DRC, water sources are often bad for the health of the community,” said Emilie Bhania, a Samaritan’s Purse WASH program manager. “Most of them are uncovered and unprotected, exposing them to microbes. The water sources have a low flow compared with the needs of the community. And often, these same water points are where animals such as pigs come to bathe themselves.”
Samaritan’s Purse saw this acute need and rehabilitated about a dozen nearby springs in Faradje to protect them from open air contaminants. Next, we began the process of protecting the groundwater from contamination caused by human waste.
We also constructed latrines near schools and churches, while also raising awareness in villages about the importance of hand-washing and other hygienic practices.
New Spring, New Life
During the community’s celebration of this new work, Ruth expressed immense gratitude that she could return to other important work in her family and in the village.
“This project changed my life spiritually because before each activity, Samaritan’s Purse would preach to us and share the Gospel,” Ruth said. “One day in particular, I was blessed with a message from Isaiah.”
Ruth said that on that day she experienced the Living Water, Jesus Christ, as she heard and believed the Gospel as it was presented during our outreach and training events.
“I finally understood the way in which sins separate us from God, and I gave my life to Jesus Christ,” she said.
Please pray for Ruth that her budding new faith would deeply be “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) and that others in her community would follow her in making this life-changing decision. Pray also for Samaritan’s Purse WASH programs worldwide to continue to point people to the only Source of Living Water.