Water is so precious to life! Most people do not know how precious it is until they are short of it. At RM1.00 a small bottle it is already more expensive than diesel. A man in a desert can even kill for a canteen (container_) of water. And animals too fight for water. Long ago Abraham and his men fought for a well. And so did many Chinese in Ancient China.
God in His splendid ways tested and evaluated His people. Testing and evaluation are not new 21st centuiry terms. God tested (assessed)Abraham and He chose people for different purposes in His own (evaluative) ways. One Biblical story I find difficult to forget whenever I see water and meet issues related to water:
Judges7 5-7 Gideon took the men down to the water and the Lord told him "Separate everyone who laps up the water with his tongue like a dog from every one who gets down on his knees to drink." There were three hundred men who scooped up water in their hands and lapped it;all the others got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon "I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites with the three hundred men who lapped the water...Tell everyone else to go home.."
When you drink your water - give God the respect - He is the source or creator of our water.
When I saw this "shelf- ful" of bottled boiled rain water in Rh Chendang I was reminded of the early days in Sibu when my mother had to boil the rainwater we collected in our concrete well. Every morning she would dutifully boil two kettles of water on her wood fire Foochow stove. One kettle of hot water would be poured into an enamel basin for my father to wash his face! The kettles would turn black from the soot. She would pour the cooled water from the second kettle into the Sun Valley bottles for all of us to drink from. There would be six bottles on the cabinet. In the afternoon she would boil another kettle of water. And in the evenings she would boil some more if the weather was cold and we would have warm water to bathe.
As I recall this I get so emotional ! She had to do so much more for us because there were so few electrical appliances for her to ease her burden.
Many housewives in the longhouses have been enjoying fairly good living standards in recent years in comparison to many others who do not have enough utilities further in land. They have better income as their husbands are becoming more educated and working further afield. Many have the pleasure of using electricity from their own private generators. Water pumps have helped alleviate their domestic chores as they no longer have to carry water from the river.
Some even drive home in a four wheel Toyota Hilux as their cash crops like rubber and oil palm yield better harvests.
However many longhouses still face shortages in fresh water. As rivers get more polluted and the rainy seasons get more irregular the Iban housewives have to be very proactive in saving drinking water for their families.
This housewife at Rh. Chendang (and it seems all the others are doing the same) keep their boiled rainwater in this way....very well arranged on the wall like cordial bottles in a sundry shop!!...Water bottles are the pride of the longhouse housewives!! When we visited them last month we were touched by her neatness and thoughtfulness. The water we brought was just enough for the day and evening. For our evening meal she took out her water supply and quenched our thirst. She blessed us with her well stored water.
How many marks would you give this lady for her conservation of rain water for drinking and cooking?