I have learned a lot from participating in short-term mission trips over the years. One great lesson I've learned is the value of working together, and what can happen if everyone does his or her job. Consider for a moment how clean water gets to many people around the world though the means of bio-sand water filters.
Bio-sand water filters are a means of naturally filtering water to remove impurities so it will be safe for human consumption and use. Water is poured through levels of different size rock and sand to remove the impurities. I have had the experience of helping build and install concrete filters in the homes of families with no access to clean water. The process of purifying water is extremely simple, but it takes many different steps to get a filter in place for a family.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SAND
Sand is one important component in providing clean water through this process. One layer that the water runs through in the purification process is sand, which is also one of the ingredients used to make the concrete filters the water is poured though to be purified. Sand is critical to the process from beginning to end.
An important job in providing clean water is washing the sand. If sand is to be one of the layers through which water passes to be purified, then the sand itself needs to be clean. In addition, the sand used to make the concrete for the filter must also be free of impurities. If there is any dirt in the sand mixed with water and cement to make the concrete, the filter will not work. Dirt in the concrete will weaken the structure and cause it to crack, crumble, and leak. The filter will be no good.
Clean sand is essential.
CLEAN SAND = CLEAN WATER
The sand gets clean by the thoroughly unspectacular process of washing and re-washing the sand. Water is poured over the sand, drained, and the process repeated. This happens over and over until all the dirt from the river is washed out. Only then is the sand suitable to make the concrete filter and also be used as a purifying layer for the water to run through.
NOT THE MOST GLAMOROUS JOB
The person washing the sand does not have a glamorous job. The work is monotonous and relatively mindless. There is no demonstration of great strength or amazing creativity. Telling others, “I washed sand on my mission trip" will probably fail to impress. Yet, if someone doesn’t wash the sand - and wash it well - there is no filter, no clean water, and the desired result of the mission trip does not happen. The person who washes sand is of such critical importance to the mission that no one else has a purpose in showing up if the “washer of the sand” doesn’t do his or her job.
Not just on mission trips, but in the life of every disciple every day, we have roles and responsibilities that God has for us to do. Amazing things happen when we all work together, doing our part for the glory of God. Every role is critical to the success of our goal to be light and salt and to bring the life transforming power of the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth.