1996-97 was a terrible season of drought in Northern Botswana. We lived on the Boteti River and the very last pool of water from the Okavango Delta was in front of our house. In that pool lived 32 Hippos who were hanging on to their last days of life. They were literally starving to death. Their home-the Boteti River was dwindling in the Kalahari sun by the day. The smell of death was all around and nothing could be done about it.
Water was hauled in the back of a Hilux Toyota pickup. Water rations were just a part of life. By this time I was pregnant with our 3rd son and we had 2 very active boys who loved to play in the dirt! “a dirty kid is a happy kid” one mama of kids raised in the Botswana bush taught me. So true. There was an old generator that we turned on in the evening for some lights and Video taped shows.
Bath time was especially eventful. We would fill the tub with about 6 inches of water that the whole family had to share. The cleanest person got to go first, which given the family dynamics, that person was usually me! By the time we got to the last bath, that water was black! We then dumped the water down the toilet. We used the “if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down” method, to stretch the water we did have. Any other water was used to water what little green there was around the house.
The grand finale of this season was a mysterious fire that destroyed the house and all its contents, leaving us with a new baby boy and 2 sons-homeless. We wrapped up business and travelled to the USA to my mama’s place in Texas. We arrived exhausted from the journey. When I went in to take a shower I just stood under the water and cried. It had been a tough couple of years. It didn’t feel right to let the water flow like that. I felt guilty. But wonderful at the same time.
Eventually the rains came to our village and gave moisture and life to the dry land. Sometimes our lives are like that. We get dry-dirty-thirsty. We need the rain to come. God desires to pour out his love on us like that shower in my mama’s Texas home. So glorious, so, almost sacred, is that water. Refreshing and restoring my soul from a very difficult season.
The bible says, Revelation 22:17 (ESV)
We have all heard the phrase “water is life”. I can tell you I know it is true. But there is a river of water that never will run dry. And that is God’s love to his kids. Jump in, enjoy, let it wash you clean and be refreshed.