When we bought our property in the village of El Triunfo, Mexico, we had no idea of the water problem. The entire village of about 500 people got their water from the same well. The water was turned on several times a day, and people had to fill up large water tanks to store water for their household needs. Since we lived at the end of a road, there was no water pressure, and we could not receive water unless we turned on a water pump. If we did not turn on the pump as soon as the water started flowing, we still would not have enough pressure to fill our 53 gallon tank as well as other barrels we used for water storage.
In the mornings Jacinto would go outside and sit beside our huge tank and read his Bible and have devotions while he waited for the water to start flowing. Happy days when the water flowed and tank was filled. Challenging days when there was no water.
Instead of being charged for how much water was consumed, every household in the village was charged the same price of $50 pesos (at the time about $5 USA) monthly for the electricity to run the well. Many people did not pay their $50 pesos so the water would be shut off for the entire village until enough money was gathered to pay the electric bill. Sometimes the water was cut off for weeks at a time!
When there was no water, dishes would pile up in the sink, mounds of nine people’s dirty clothes would pile up, no dusty floors could be mopped, and the toilets wouldn’t flush. The swamp coolers which were used instead of air conditioners in the 120 degree summer weather would not work without water! Also seven very active little J’s could not take baths! (The picture of above is of Joshua who thought it would be fun to take a mud bath one typical day in our life in El Triunfo!)
Occasionally we could pay a water truck to come and fill our tanks but that was not very reliable. Jacinto would have to go to the canal and fill up our barrels a bucket at a time! The J’s thought this was a great adventure, but it was really lots of hard, hot work!
I learned to treasure every drop of water like gold! If water could be recycled, it was. The rinse water from dishes and the washing machine was reused to water plants. Several J’s used the same bath water. There was no such thing as leaving the water running while washing your face or brushing your teeth!
Clothes dried extremely fast in the hot, dry desert sun. One day I had water and washed a load of towels and hung them up to dry. The weight of all the towels was too much for the clothesline and it collapsed leaving the towels in the dirt and me in tears! All that effort and water wasted! Even the tears rolling down my cheeks seemed like a waste of water!
When we first moved back to the United States, I still had my ingrained habit of not wasting any water! For a long time I could not let water run in the sink. I could not mindlessly throw out water without thinking of how I could recycle and reuse it!
It was easy to get dehydrated in the hot desert climate. People carried water with them wherever they went. In the hotter months it was normal for our family to drink one five gallon jug of purified water or more every day! Drinking cold water when you were so hot was very refreshing!
I can relate to the Samaritan woman at the well when Jesus told her, “…Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13, 14