Speaking notes

for sermon at St James’ Colwall, Harvest for Water Aid, 5th October 2014

John 4: 5.16 The Woman at the Well

Who complained about the rain?
Water-carrying relay (carry a bucket of water round the church as long as the sermon lasts – will start off with eager children, but should need help of adults before the end!)
The story of the woman who met Jesus at the well is a favourite – lots of ideas in it, but we are going to look at how the actual structure of the story relates to Water-Aid.

•    Gospel starts with dispute about baptising – our words of baptism ‘precious and essential’ (Facts about us and planet – both are 70% water)
•    Will you give me a drink? (READING A - Facts about how much we need)

•    Seeing what is there – she sees only a Jewish man, not the difference he can make – some of water problems in world are caused by need to change traditional habits. Spread of Ebola is due to lack of water hygiene, especially ability to wash with hot water and soap. (B -Ebola – WHO comment.)

•    Practical considerations of deep well – the woman laughs at Jesus because he has no means of getting at the water in this very deep well. Getting access to water is what Water-Aid does.

•    Jesus talks about water that makes you thirsty – contradiction! But bad water makes you ill, good water makes you live.  (C - Facts about water poverty)

•    Living water is abundant – surging up – nature produces far more that we can use (every day, enough to last each of us for a decade!). Only 1% usable – it’s about being able to use it. (D - Facts about what we do use it for)

•    The woman’s request is the request of women all over the world! (E  - Facts about women carrying water) Is bucket getting heavy? Have carried it for a very short time and distance compare with the average for women in the world!

•    Goes on from water to theological discussion – education is important too! She forgets the water-pot in her eagerness to encourage others to listen to Jesus.

•    A practical sermon today, rather than about theological ideas. Jesus’ love wells up within us and is lived out in our lives every day as we tackle the practical demands of being a Christian.

Collecting Water-aid donations in bowls

People feel thirsty when they have already lost around 2-3% of their body's water. Mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired before thirst kicks in, typically around 1% dehydration. Each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 litres per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 litres.

What do we need water for?
Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going:
•    It is a vital building material for every cell
•    It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration
•    Our food is metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream;
•    It assists in flushing waste from the body in various ways
•    It acts as a shock absorber for brain and spinal cord, and also for babies
•    It lubricates the mouth and the joints

The WHO advises careful hygiene – including good hand-washing with soap – as among the ways to protect against the Ebola virus. Regular, thorough hand-washing with soap and water can prevent transmission of many life-threatening illnesses.

1.     748 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population.
2.     2.5 billion people exist without adequate sanitation – that’s 39% of the world’s population
3.    3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease.
4.     Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene costs Sub-Saharan African countries more in lost gross domestic product than the entire continent gets in development aid.
5.     Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.

American residents use about 100 gallons of water per day.
Europeans use about 50 gallons a day
Residents of sub-Saharan Africa use only 2-5 gallons of water per day

•    It takes more water to manufacture a new car (39,000 gallons) than to fill a swimming pool.
•    It takes more than ten gallons of water to produce one slice of bread.
•    Over 713 gallons of water go into the production of one cotton T-shirt.
•    1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.
•    Roughly 634 gallons of water go into the production of one hamburger.
•    If the entire adult population of England and Wales remembered to turn off the tap when they were brushing their teeth, we could save 180 mega litres a day - enough to supply nearly 500,000 homes and fill 180 Olympic swimming pools!

Carrying water continues to be almost entirely female work. In many developing countries, women and girls walk on average over 3.5 miles each day to fetch water. Women often spend more than 15 hours per week collecting water.