My daughter and I went on a road trip on Sunday. Yes, instead of sitting in a nice church building, listening to some good preaching (albeit in Spanish, our second language), we chose to drive to the south part of this megapolis and do some investigation. We were on a hunt for churches.
Our trip took us to a place I have always wanted to visit: Sea Bass Hill. I am not kidding; we went to Sea Bass Hill. The drive was so steep, the road so sandy, I had to put the truck we used into 4-wheel drive to make it up to the top. Even at that, I had to wait. In front of me was a three-wheeled moto-taxi. The driver made it halfway up the hill before her motor bogged down. She made it the rest of the way by leaving it in gear and hitting the starter button. The little engine would kick over and the wheels would turn just enough to move forward about one foot. Over and over she repeated this innovated mountain-climbing till she made it to a point the motor would once again pull the machine she drove.
We climbed on to the top of the hill, looking at the small plywood houses on either side of us. At the summit, we were blessed with a view that I had hoped to see. There, across the busy Pan-American was the Pacific Ocean, glimmering, waves rolling slowly onto the rock beach. The hill we stood on rose some 200 feet, or more, above it.
On the side of the hill facing the ocean a cluster of houses seemed to claw their way into the hill. I looked more closely; most of the houses were made of woven material-- straw mats, if you will. These are among this city's poorest; many only make about $50 a month. I don't recall seeing electrical lines of any kind. The steep trails down to the houses were worse than any cow trail I have ever seen. Children peered up at us, curious. It's not every day that they see gringos in their neighborhood. We decided not to venture down there without an invitation.
We heard a commotion behind us. I turned to see a water truck rolling up the same hill we had just come up. I made sure our truck was not in his way. The water man went to the edge of the hill and whistled down to the kids who were watching us. Soon one of them climbed up to the top. Every few minutes the boy shouted, "Agua!" Water! Come get your water! Folks would have to line up with buckets and pans, dip their water out of barrels at the top of the hill, and wind their way back down the steep trails to their houses.
I asked a passerby if there were any churches down in that community. No, there were not. The water of life had not made it down that hill. Their souls were as barren as the sandy hillside. If they want to worship, they still have to claw their way up the hill to one of the few churches in that part of the city. Perhaps a few of them would do that; most will not. They will live and die in the squalid poverty that characterizes their spiritual lives. Their desire for the water of life won't be so acute as to drive them up the hill to one of those churches. It's up to us. We, who have the water of life, must go and let rivers of living water flow from us and into them.
We want to do that. We want to go and be water bearers. But we have some 8 thousand unchurched communities that we need to reach. What we need are some water bearers. We need more men and women, committed to God, willing to let the rivers of living water flow through them and touch others. God give us water bearers!