Canadian team uses offer of clean water to care for hurting Cambodian child.
by Jeff Adams, Director of Communications and Creative Services, Samaritan’s Purse Canada
June, 2015—In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of a Samaritan man who finds someone badly beaten on the side of the road, bandages his wounds, carries him to safety, and ensures he will continue to be cared for.
I saw a real-life example of this Good Samaritan during my recent participation in a Water for Kids team trip to northwestern Cambodia.
Our 11-member team was camping in the yard of a woman living in the village of Sambok Chab. Each day, many children and adults would pass by on the dirt road in front our tents. Some, because they had so seldom seen Caucasians before, would stop to stare. The more curious would wander into our camp.
Among them was a small boy who made our hearts ache. Although he was only two or three years old, the little guy was almost always on his own—no parents in sight. He was perpetually filthy, and either wearing nothing, or only a t-shirt with ‘POLICE’ across the back, naked from the waist down. Making matters even worse, the boy had open sores on his ankles, legs and across the bridge of his nose.
Sambok Chab is a desperately poor farming village in which many mothers and fathers have left for Thailand in search of work—leaving grandparents to care for grandchildren. In some cases, the grandparents are doing an admirable job. In other cases, they aren’t. The boy we came to know simply as ‘Policeman’ certainly wasn’t receiving much familial attention.
But two members of our water filter-building team—firefighter Jayden Jones from Lacombe, AB and nurse Terri Wiebe from Winnipeg, MB—were intent on helping.
Jayden tried several times, while playing with other neighborhood children, to approach Policeman but the little boy almost always pulled back. One morning, Jayden sat down on the side of the dirt road while holding some water bottles. He offered them to Policeman and to two other children with him. A little girl accepted a water bottle and sat down with Jayden. The other two children soon followed.
Policeman, with his bare bum in the dirt, began to quietly drink from his bottle. Meanwhile Jayden cautiously reached out and gently touched some of the boy’s open sores—wordlessly telling him he meant no harm. Jayden began washing the boy’s wounds. Meanwhile, Terri, sat down beside Jayden. Together, they applied ointment and bandages to the little fellow’s sores.
For those of us watching from a short distance away, it was as if the story of the Good Samaritan was coming to life before our eyes.
In Luke 10, the Good Samaritan takes the injured man to an inn and pays to have him receive additional care. In our Cambodian version of Luke 10, another member of our team (Bonnie Tang, an accountant from Vancouver) gave the little girl—who we learned is Policeman’s older sister—a new bar of soap and asked her to regularly wash herself and her little brother to help protect them against infection.
All three of the children soon rose to their feet and walked away, still sipping from their bottles.
“It all started with water,” Jayden recalled later. “I came out to give him some, and got him to sit down.”
How appropriate, Jayden said with a smile, because our team was in Cambodia to build and install safe water filters.
In John 7:38, Jesus said: “He who believes in me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (NKJV).” We saw some of that living water in Cambodia, flowing from the hearts of Jayden, Terri, and Bonnie.
Do you want to join a Samaritan’s Purse “Water for Kids” team and build school filters in Cambodia? Go to www.samaritanspurse.ca/waterforkids to apply and/or learn more.