I saw an article in the New York Times about how much water it takes to manufacture one pair of jeans. Levi Strauss and Company reported that “from the cotton field in rural India to the local rag bin, a typical pair of blue jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle.” That would include the water needed for irrigation, the water used in the stitching process and the scores of times it is washed at home.
To help protect the company’s bottom line, they have become involved in all manner of water conservancy projects all across the globe. They also provided some advice for the consumer. They suggested that we rarely wash our jeans and perhaps consider just putting them in the freezer. Apparently that kills germs that cause them to smell! I think I will pass on the frozen jeans idea.
But I got to thinking about the kinds of issues swirling around the modern use of water. There are water rights issues, filtration projects, wastewater problems, the need for hundreds of new wells, the impact from flooding, the conflicts that arise with development projects and even the threat of future wars over the need for fresh, clean water.
Over a billion people in developing countries do not have access to water. Millions of women spend hours every day in the simple act of collecting water. 400 million children do not have access to safe water and 1.4 million of them die each year because of it.
Water costs about $.60 per cubic meter in the U.S., but it costs over $5 per cubic meter in countries like Columbia. And we are using 150 gallons to produce one newspaper and 40,000 gallons to manufacture one new car. Each of us is flushing 50 liters a day through our toilets. Americans are consuming 600 liters every day. Those at risk around the world are consuming only 20 liters a day.
Clearly water is an issue. Christians ought to pay attention to those issues and get involved at any level.
But we also ought to remember the discussion of water in John chapter 4. You remember the story. Jesus confronts a Samaritan woman about the pattern of her life with a request to share some water she is drawing from a local well. She is shocked that He would even speak to her (a woman from a hated rival race of people). The punch line of that conversation is Jesus’ statement that He personally is the living water. If she had asked for a “drink” from Him (established a relationship with Him as Savior) He would offer a spring that would well up into eternal life.
That message should reverberate through all of us. Next time you take a drink of water (or wash your jeans), remember the offer Jesus makes to us all and drink deeply this week from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. It will change your life!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel