When the Water Runs Out

Here in PNG, we get our water primarily from the sky. When the rain comes—as it does frequently here—it funnels off our roof and into the two extremely large water tanks in our backyard. The water pump then transports this water into the Canns’ flat downstairs and ours upstairs where it is used for showers, the washing machine, washing dishes and hands, drinking, and various other cleaning tasks that involve water.


Looking at these tanks, you might think that there is no conceivable way we could ever run out of water—but you would be wrong, my friend.

It only took five days of no rain before the ten of us drained both tanks. Mary was the last one in the shower one night when the water started spritzing and spraying and fizzling out before it stopped altogether.

Of course our first thought was that something had to be wrong with the pipes or something. Surely there was no conceivable way we used up all the water in both of our tanks.

We were wrong. Ten Americans taking one shower/bath per day (since we sweat all day long), washing dishes by hand for three meals a day, and washing two loads of laundry a day and it took us five days without rain to use it all.


The good news is that when we run out of water, all is not lost. We pay $17 every month to be able to use the city’s water supply. Our kindly night guard, Ken, simply threw a hose into our tanks late that night, turned it on, and by morning—voila!—city water was being pumped into our flats.

This was a good lesson learned here in the city because, come tribal time, there will be no back-up in the form of city water. Our solution should we run out of water in the tribe will look more like a 30 minute hike every day to the nearest watering hole to fetch our water.

So, we are thankful.

Thankful to learn this lesson here. Thankful that God knows our needs, has been faithful to provide for them thus far, and will continue to do so until we die.

In addition to this, we have yet another reason to depend on the Lord even as I sit here having been without power or running water for the past nine hours, I am reminded anew of how we don’t deserve electricity and we don’t deserve running water. In truth, we don’t deserve anything.

And yet.

God sees fit to provide for us everything we need, every day. May He be glorified through His faithfulness to us in the midst of these lifestyle adjustments.


  1. Hmm, beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. God is SO gracious! Esp to me, wretched sinner.

  2. thamk you for helping me to say “thank you God” when we turn our water on and it comes out. Good conversation for Elianna and me tonight for the Lord’s provision in things we take for granted


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