>Fresh Water and Gray Water


so much depends


a full water


glistening with God’s


beside the needy


Collecting “gray water” from Selah Grace’s bath.

Watering the plants with “gray water”.
Women carrying water in Malawi.

This is how most women in Malawi get water. They carry heavy pale-fulls on their heads, usually with a baby on their back. Doesn’t look too easy does it?

Water. The elixir of life. Whether or not we have it and whether or not it is clean dictates so much. Choosing between a power outage and a water shut-off, I’ll take a power outage any day. Sure, cold showers can be unpleasant, but just try going without any water for days and see if it starts to get to you. Power outages and water shut-offs were not uncommon to us while we were living in Malawi and on more than one occasion Nate ninja-shimmied up the scratchy brick wall surrounding the pool to collect a bucket of pool water we could use for much-needed flushes. When you don’t have water, or when you have to balance it on your head for a mile or more to get home, you’re much more aware of how precious it is and how much you’re using.

Now that we’re living in Southern California we act like water is as abundant as our sand and iceplant. The truth is that we’re in a water crisis, but it is just so hard to really believe it. When I turn on the tap, there’s water. Always. But is that always going to be true?

In our little Leboffe family home we aren’t super rigid about water dos and don’ts, but here are some household rules.
1. Don’t blush, share a flush. (Unless company is coming over or it’s not yellow.)
2. Showers are 5 minutes or less.
3. Brush teeth with faucet turned off.
4. Use “gray water” to water plants in flower beds.

(Gray water is just pre-used water in the house. Maybe collected from showers, or what you boiled an egg in, etc.) Truth be told, we could probably collect a whole lot more gray water throughout our day. As it is, we use Selah’s bath water each evening to water the plants outside. As I scoop bucketful after bucketful out of the tub I realize a couple of things: 1) There’s a lot more water in here than it looks. 2) I’m glad our water meter isn’t ticking around and around and around by using the hose. 3) This is kind of inconvenient, but at least I’m just going to the front porch and not walking miles like so many women and children in the world. 4) Pray for said women and children in the world.


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