Welcome to the monthly prayer letter #UpForJustice from the ISJC.
 March 2016
     Welcome to the March 2016 edition of #UpForJustice ­– a monthly news and prayer letter from The Salvation Army’s

     International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) based in New York City, USA.          

     We continue using the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for prayer and reflection. There are 17
     goals which all 193 United Nations (UN) member states endorsed at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs  
     will shape the development agendas in all countries until 2030. Read more about the SDGs by visiting

     Last month we focused on the fifth SDG – ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.’ This month, Robert
     Docter –from the USA Western Territory – reflects on SDG 6: ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and
     sanitation for all.’

    Prayer Focus:
 Clean Water
 and Sanitation

      Sanitation and water are two basic components that involve everyone on a daily basis. No matter what culture, religion or  
      geographic region, all humans go to some form of bathroom and consume water. Both are necessary means of survival.

      It is easy to take both for granted. Access to water and sanitation is quite a luxury in the light of these current global figures:

  • At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is faecally contaminated.[1]
  • Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. More than 1.7 billion
    people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.[2]
  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.[3]

      There is enough technology and sufficient water supply to provide the world with clean water. However, economic and  
​      environmental factors prevent access to more than one billion people.[4] Access to wells, rivers, filtration and clean water  
​      storage prevents sustainable development. Droughts, and other extreme weather particularly, hurt the world’s poorest
      countries, impacting the development of children who are most prone to the lack of clean water and sanitation.

      According to the United Nations:

     ‘Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.’[5]

     Other factors directly link to sanitation and water: hunger because of poor farming, malnutrition, disease, poor economy and  
​      pollution. In the cases where water access is miles away, many have to sacrifice time, effort and safety when travelling to  
​      collect water. This denies time in the classroom for children and/or opportunities for paid work. Travelling also puts those who  
​      live in areas of conflict at danger.

     The question remains: how can water access and technology reach those in need? SDG 6 provides targets and initiatives for  
​      the world to follow.

     It is important to note the significant work of The Salvation Army in water and sanitation programmes in countries including  
​     Angola, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Zambia. These, along with other programmes around the globe, serve as a model  
​     for further work and improvement for access to clean water and sanitation.

     Recently three colleagues from the ISJC attended a UN event promoting ‘World Toilet Day’, organised by UN-Water – an

     agency of the UN – that works on water and sanitation issues. UN-Water works with governments and stakeholders in an
     effort to improve this issue, that involves one-third of people worldwide.

 ​    The event worked to educate the public on the lack of accessible water and sanitation throughout the world. This was a day for
​     action and advocacy, and sought to educate the public about the 2.4 billion people – particularly women and children – who do  
​     not have improved sanitation. Here are some images to promote awareness:


"We can't wait while sanitation related diseases kill nearly 1,000 kids every day."



     In Scripture, water is likened to salvation and eternal life. When Jesus speaks to the woman at the well in John chapter 4, he
     speaks about water in the context of it being like salvation. He shares:

            ‘“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I
                 give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of
                 water welling up to eternal life”
’ (John 4:13-14 NIV).

     Humans need water that is clean and pure: it cleanses; refreshes; is life-giving; is essential. Salvation with Jesus is the same.  
​     It gives eternal life. SDG 6 reminds the world of the importance of accessible and sustainable water and sanitation for all people.
​     It also serves as a reminder of the water Jesus provides. The Salvation Army seeks to provide both types throughout the world
​     – and looks forward to further lives being saved.


United Nations Sustainable Development


     [2] Ibid

     [3] Ibid

     [4] Ibid

     [5] Ibid

   The following Bible verses may help reflection on water:

  1. John 4:1-26 "...Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a
    drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have
    no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who
    gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this
    water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I
    will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this
    water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water...
    ” (verses 10-15, NRSV)
  2. 1 John 5:6-12 "This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water
    and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit
    and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater;
    for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the
    testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God[b] have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony
    that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
    Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    " (NRSV)
  3. Ezekiel 36:25 "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all
    your idols I will cleanse you.
    " (NRSV)
  4. Isaiah 12:3 "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." (NRSV)

     In response to the world’s lack of clean water and sanitation, events at the ISJC and Scripture, here are some  

  • The forthcoming UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on 14-24 March. Representatives of Member
    States, UN entities and non-government organisations come together with the year’s primary theme of ‘Women’s
    empowerment and its link to sustainable development’. This is a significant event, not only for the UN but also for the
    ISJC. Pray specifically for the 14 Salvationists attending the event.
  • The ongoing work of Salvation Army water and sanitation programmes – bringing growth, stability and further projects
    while ensuring safety, health, growth, development and salvation.
  • The finances of ongoing Salvation Army water and sanitation programmes and for financing of further projects in
    areas of need, drought, conflict and natural disaster relief.
  • Those without access to clean water and sanitation around the world – that they may be replenished both spiritually
    and physically. May the Lord shine upon them as The Salvation Army seeks to reach those communities.

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Downloads and translations available below.




Tags: SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation