Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 15 March

Meeting at the water pump: Evelyn is an expert in water, sanitation and health in Uganda.

Meeting at the water pump: Evelyn is an expert in water, sanitation and health in Uganda. 

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’.

John 4:7

In today’s gospel, Jesus sits at the well and strikes up a conversation with a Samaritan woman who has come to draw water. The exchange quickly deepens to challenge her whole way of life.

For millions of women, drawing water from a well or borehole is still a daily reality. Awaiting their turn, conversations spring up, news is shared and confidences exchanged.

The power of the word

Evelyn is an expert in water, sanitation and health in Uganda. Here she helps and chats with a woman from one community at the new solar-powered water pump, funded with Lent donations from CAFOD supporters and matched by the UK government.

It is part of Evelyn’s role to maintain a good rapport with local people, particularly the women, as they are key to making any changes in the future of a community.

Much of her work involves communicating about sensitive subjects related to hygiene and cleanliness.

She explains that in this area going to the toilet in the open was normal. There had never been education around sanitation or hygiene. Even encouraging people to use mechanical pumps to draw water took time and sensitivity, starting by carefully listening to the women explain the difficulties they experienced in fetching water.

Now life is much easier. The pumps bring many advantages - people with disabilities can collect as much water as able-bodied people, and children stay in school because queues are reduced and it takes less time to pump water. Crucially, there is less disease, now that people understand the advantages of toilets and have been trained in how to build them out of basic materials.

Evelyn says: “Out of the ten villages where I have been working, nine are doing really well because they have seen the good effects of hygiene and sanitation.”

Lent prayer

In this Year of the Word, our encounter and exchange with the Word of God can change our outlook and inspire us to consider living in a whole new way, as happened for the Samaritan woman when she conversed with Jesus.

Word made Flesh, speak to us as we read the scriptures. Teach us to listen to the people we encounter so that we can understand their reality and work together to build a fairer world. Amen.


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