Dry as a desert. No water coming out of our faucets for seven days. No one residing in the cities of Mandaluyong and Pasig will ever forget March 7 to 14. To have a sudden water crisis, something was definitely super-crazy wrong!
I was out one night, having chanced upon our “suki” water filling station open to dispense drinking water. A police car whizzed by followed by a fire truck with its siren on. A minute later three water trucks accompanied by two police car escorts passed by in a rather ominous way. The experience was so surreal! For a moment there, I remembered the early months of Martial Law under Marcos when police and army surveillance units roamed the streets at night to implement the curfew. I asked myself, “Ganito na ba kabigat ang sitwasyon?”
This made me all the more anxious about the scope and extent of the crisis. I felt in my heart that to even pray and ask the Lord to grant us special favor during this time seemed utterly selfish. What makes us so special and above the rest of the people living in Mandaluyong and Pasig? Nothing at all. And so I prayed, “Lord, in Your goodness and love, have mercy on us all.”
In those seven days of desert dryness, I personally learned lessons in human nature.
Lesson 1: Take only what you need. Don’t be greedy in a time of shortage. There was going to be water from 9 to 11 a.m., said the advisory. So at 8:45 I rushed to the place where water was said to be available, only to find just one working faucet. The people said water came at 8 a.m., so the supply would soon be out. There were more than 15 empty bottles owned by one person in front of a number of containers owned by other tenants in the line. Desperation and anxiety was increasing by the second. We talked it over and agreed that our containers would alternate so everyone could get some supply of water. True enough, the water stopped at 9:30 sharp, but everyone went home carrying 10 gallons of water.
Lesson 2: It is easy to be quarrelsome, especially in a crisis. People were quarreling in the water distribution lines. In Joshua 5:4 and 6, the phrase “men of war” was repeated twice, which begs us to sit up and take notice. These “men of war” just couldn’t stop warring, opposing, quarreling, and contending in times of war, and more so in times of peace. And verses 4 and 6 tells us that they perished and died in the wilderness “because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord.” Being anxious, irritable, argumentative, and angry is never the way of godly men.
Lesson 3: Be kind and plant kindness every day. We harvest from our acts of kindness during times of difficulty. God blessed us with favor in those seven days—friends lent us their containers and filled them with water till we got our own; a Manila Water truck stopped right in front of our building before dawn and filled ten of our containers at one go; a Unimart sales assistant held four water containers for us; the security guards made sure our containers were filled while we were at work.
Even in the dryness of a desert, we can still be ambassadors of Christ, as He surrounds us with songs of deliverance.