We have been well and truly hit by the big freeze. In spite of keeping the heat on all night in the house, today our water supply failed. After much activity with boiling water and a blow torch over every exposed piece of pipe, the plumber eventually arrived to diagnose the problem as a frozen mains pipe which has cut off all water supply to our 160 year old manse. Apparently all we can do is wait for the thaw!
In the few hours we have been without water we have discovered how dependent we have become on a continuous supply of water to our home. No showers, no baths, no water on tap for brushing teeth, no dishwasher, no washing machine, and worst of all, no flush toilets. Will we be able to survive? Of course we will, but it seems that this Christmas may be a little more basic and Victorian than we had expected.
I think the Lord has sense of humour. After our visit to Ethiopia in August 2009, I talked to children in many congregations that we visited about the importance of a having a supply of clean, fresh water. I asked the young people how many taps they had in their home and discovered that most homes in this part of the world were very well supplied. One boy in Co Tyrone claimed to have 17 taps in his house, and many had 10 or more. I then told them about a 15 year old girl we met in Ethiopia whose nearest tap was a 3 hour walk from her home and she had to make the journey every other day in order to get water for her family. How privileged we are to have not just one, but several taps in our homes!
So it seems that having talked about it, the Lord has decided that I need to share a little of the experience first-hand. So I’m bracing myself for a Christmas without a supply of running water. I expect I’ll have to make a daily journey to the church kitchen about a quarter of a mile away to replenish my water containers. In a few days, hopefully, the thaw will come and normal water supply will be restored. And in the meantime I will remember my friends in Ethiopia who would be so thankful if they ever get to have just one tap for their entire village.
Update on 28th December: This is now our 6th day without water. Still no mains supply! Maybe I should be praying for the staff and workers of NI Water?
Update on 29th December at 7.30pm: Water restored!! Thank you, Lord!