Scott D. Gillette


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Lifewater International

By Scott D. Gillette


In the spirit of the holidays, it is an honor to write about Lifewater International, an organization that represents the best of human endeavors.

The mission of Lifewater International is twofold: to provide locals in the developing world with equipment and training to build up water resources for poor rural villages and to pass on knowledge of maintaining these water resources, thereby creating jobs for people.

There is no greater need in the developing world than safe water supplies. The lack of water causes tens of thousands of deaths daily. An astonishing 80 percent of childhood deaths in the developing world can be attributed to water-borne diseases. If you provide safe water in the developing world you cut the death-rate for children by 80 percent overnight.

Lifewater was established in 1979 to turn the tide. Since its inception, it has installed more than 650 successful wells and water systems presently serving more than 200,000 people. When you consider the modest resources at Lifewater's disposal, this accomplishment becomes even more miraculous.

Yet supplying poor rural villages with water only tells a small part of the story. Once a village has this water supply, the people living there become healthier and more productive, which further promotes development in the village. Fewer children die, so families start having fewer children. This opens up resources for education. Like a drop hitting a pool, the effect of Lifewater's work can be felt well after its original mission is over.

Lifewater is a Christian ministry, but it in no way restricts or chooses villages based upon religious preferences or affiliations. William A. Ashe, the founder and director of Lifewater, explains that any administering of the Gospel is done "in partnership with the local team trained to protect the water supply, in order to respect the cultural values of the people we intend to help."

I cannot think of a better, more valuable expression of faith than providing the most basic necessity of life. Unfortunately, Lifewater's work is a mere drop in a bucket, both literally and figuratively. The organization can only reach so many people at once, and its budget is not large enough to meet all of its potential projects.

I do want people to feel compelled to give to Lifewater through guilt, because such practices are manipulative or unfair. But I would stress that if one was inclined to give to charity, where there a multitude of deserving organizations to choose from, Lifewater would represent a wise investment and money well spent. To support Lifewater, please send a check or money order to 15854 Business Center Drive, Irwindale, CA 91706, or call 1-888-LIFE-H20. Their website is at

This organization is a joy to write about, because it evokes a nobility of spirit within all of us that can never be felt on a permanent basis, but should always be felt at certain times throughout our entire lives. Lifewater has reached 200,000 in its first 20 years; may it reach 20,000,000 in the next 20 ...

Scott D. Gillette, 2024

Scott D. Gillette is a regular columnist at

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