Zambia Trip, Part III…..Just a Cup Of Water in His Name…
It was the first morning that we arrived in the squatter’s village called Kampassa, in central Zambia. I was intrigued by the name “Kampassa,” and thought maybe it had a common root with our word “compassion.” However, after visiting with our Zambian co-workers, I was told the word “Kampassa” is actually the name of a scrub brush that is prolific in that area. Oh, well, I still wanted to make the connection with the similarity of sound: compassion, Kampassa; it worked for me.
And, after all, wasn’t that why the medical team known as “For Hearts and
Souls,” had come to Lusaka, the capitol city of Zambia, all at their own expense? Compassion for the children with severe heart conditions that would otherwise have no treatment available. And was not that the word to describe the support team of individuals that came half way around the world to minister to the children of this forgotten village in a makeshift Vacation Bible School? Yes, Kampassa and compassion were synonymous in my mind.
Even though it was “winter” in July for the Zambians, the sun was warm at 9:30 in the morning. When we got out of our Volkswagen type bus, the children were waiting. More than one hundred beautiful black faces stared expectantly at us. It was amazing to see them all seated on the rough-hewn wooden benches with their hands folded in their laps. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “that’s not happening in Atoka, Oklahoma!” When I commented on how quiet and still they were to one of our Zambian helpers, she replied, ”It’s because it’s early and they have had nothing to eat or drink, they are hungry.” Oh.
Our VBS was coordinated by Janette from Maui, Hawaii, and her ten-year-old son Thomas. They had brought all the teaching materials and crafts to make this week very memorable for the kids as well as a foundational teaching of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. So well done. The five Zambian volunteers spoke the local dialect and were able to correctly communicate the love of God as displayed through the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior: That eternal narrative that never grows old or stale.
It was in the midst of the “opening ceremonies,” that I stood toward the back of the in-gathered children holding my bottle of water. I felt someone staring at me and glanced downward into the inquisitive dark eyes of a young boy, perhaps eight years old. He was not as interested in me as he was the bottle of water in my hand. He had wandered over from the rest of the children and brought his groupies with him. There they were ten to twelve very small and thirsty children. I offered him my water bottle and he took it politely. He firmly twisted the cap off and took one shallow sip. He then turned and administered the water, one sip at a time, to each of his friends who were all waiting for a tiny bit of refreshment. The boy benefactor continued until the bottle was empty; then he handed it back to me. They all turned and went back to their seats. I cried. He could have had the whole bottle for his own thirst. He chose compassion; Kampassa.
Later that morning as I was helping prepare the craft of the day, I noticed there was a bottle of water near the bags of supplies that we had brought from Lusaka. A group of older children noticed it as well. One older girl spoke to me with her eyes and drew my attention to the water. I instinctively nodded my head “yes.” Big mistake. As soon as she reached her hand for the water bottle a small riot ensued. Many grabbing hands and lunging bodies assailed the single water bottle. It was not a pretty sight. At least fifteen pre-teens pummeled each other for the prize. After a few bruising seconds, the oldest and tallest prevailed; holding the bottle over her head she ran to the outskirts of the camp and drained the bottle. I cried. Such a difference in the response of the eight year old and that of the teen-ager. I closed my eyes and heard in my heart: she has been thirsty longer.
I’m home now. We have a flush toilet, electricity and running water. I am rarely truly thirsty. I am reminded by the Spirit that Jesus had a lot to say about water and about thirst. In one passage He said that He was the Living Water and whosoever came unto him would never thirst again. (I pray we are all drinking from that well). He also said that those who believe in Him would have a river of living water springing up from deep inside of them. (I believe) An additional passage assures us, as His followers, that even a cup of water given in the name of a prophet insures our reward in heaven. Simply amazing. The water of the Spirit is freely given and accessible to all that seek and find. That wonderful, liquidy substance we know to be H2O should also be easily accessible for all human beings. Such a simple blessing is so often overlooked. But, even though thousands of miles from thirst, I have not forgotten Kampassa and the Lord certainly has not either. I am praying for a way to provide a pump water well that will enliven the children that have so captured my heart. I have contacted a couple of agencies whose ministry is to bring fresh water to those who have none. Please pray with me that the Lord opens the right doors and that he will expedite this whole endeavor. It is His Heart of compassion for Kampassa. Amen.