Action: Only Drinking Water (No Coffee!)

As is it is, there are a lot of people without access to clean water in our world.

I don’t mean a lot as in only a few people, like what we typically mean when we say “I told Keith that a lot of people saw him at the club with Sandra. Like, everyone who goes to the club knows who he is! How is he going to hide this? That is a lot of people! This is totally serious!”

No. When I say there are a lot of people without clean water, I actually mean a lot. Like one in eight people in our world a lot.

Or if you speak math, I will write it as a ratio: 1:8.

If you are interested in learning more about what’s up with the whole lack of clean water issue, check out this post: Delicious Water. Otherwise, I am guessing you are thinking what I am thinking, “that’s nice.” It isn’t really, but that is our typical response. But I don’t entirely believe we respond this way because we don’t care.. I just think it’s not personal to us. Maybe we just don’t know how to respond to a fact so shocking that it stimulates no emotion at all. So here is a remedy to make it both personal and help soothe the issue. And I am going to try it out.

The idea is to give up everything you drink EXCEPT for water for a specific amount of time. Like I said, I am choosing to do it for two weeks. That seems insanely long to me, but I was reading the tweets of Blood:Water Mission, with their 40 Days, and Living Water International with the H2o Project – these guys do this for all of Lent. That is like one freaking month! Or six weeks or something! Forgive me- I am not Catholic.

Regardless, any prolonged period over one measly day would only be okay if you don’t have a favorite drink you’re addicted to. But there are people out there, people like me, who HAVE to have their coffee or ____ (insert drink of choice here) every morning. For some people it is sweet tea, for others it is jasmine green herbal goodness tea. Orange Juice, V8 Juice, or, yes, I am serious- morning shot of Mountain Dew.

I know, right!? Mountain Dew?! That is disgusting! Yet a vice is a vice, no matter what it may be. And then in addition, we like to have the occasional glass of milk, lemonade, and Coke, as well.  It comes down to challenging yourself to give up everything but water, to give up something you love, even something you think you need.

Can you do it? Heck ya! Go for it!

Can I do it? Heck no!

The whole weekend, in anticipation, I was chugging my coffee (though I was smart enough to start mixing it with decaf), drinking my juice, and even having the rare glass of wine. I knew what was coming. But I didn’t know how hard it would hit. Actually, that is a lie. I was expecting it, I just didn’t like it, which makes me think it would be better for it to have been a surprise.

I have had the headache. I am even a little nauseous from caffeine withdrawals. I was yawning so much I fell asleep on my bed, just before five p.m. And I only drink about two cups of coffee a day! I was cold, so I started looking forward to my afternoon cup of coffee, savoring it in advance. Then I would remember I couldn’t have it. So then I would think “Oh, I will just have tea instead.” Then I would remember again that I can’t have ANY drink, get mad and proceed to eat random junk food because, hey, at least I could have that. But apparently that was NOT what I wanted.

Little did I know how bad I fell for coffee, years ago, when I first tasted him.

I think its ironic that I am giving up everything but water to glean some meager amount of money to give to people to help them have access to clean water. But when I really think about it, all these other good drinks are only possible because of the water that makes them exist. Water is connected to life. The cows who give us milk drink it and the plants where our juice, tea and coffee come from can’t grow with out it. Even after just one day on this project, I am much more thankful for water.

In fact, I was even a little proud, like I earned it, when I put the slips of paper in my “Water Fund” jar on the counter today. The idea is that I will count up the amounts of times I would have had something other than water to drink, figuring the combined worth of all those drinks. At the end of my two weeks I will then write a check to the water charity of my choice. I would be surprised if it ends up being a lot more than $20, but it sure feels cool to work for that $20, rather than having my Starbucks while writing out my check. That is like eating your cake and keeping it. Which I apparently usually can do successfully.

Pathetically, I think I am slightly beginning to understand what those without clean water might feel- desire. Sometimes it’s probably just healthy to be in touch with the emotion of longing for something you can’t have.

As you embark on your own little similar project, please remember there are a lot of good water charities out there. Click on this post, to help you choose one to donate to. And if you do this project, please share about your experience in the comment section. I don’t want to be the only one out there doing this!

Good luck!

See how this story ends by clicking here: Action: Only Drinking Water Pt. 2


i decided to take it a step further and join with Blood:Water Mission for Lent as I do this (Yes, even though I am still not Catholic). One thing that is cool about doing it with Blood:Water is that they have a drink tracker, to help you keep tabs on how much money you are saving by giving up drinks!  Action: Only Drinking Water Pt. 2 describes how I kept tabs on this last last year, which I am still employing for drinks under $1 as the Blood: Water Mission tracker doesn’t count these. Still,  I am excited to see what it’s like doing this with a community of other people!


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About Elisa

We all have labels. For example, I'm a wife, a mom, a follower of Jesus. I've worked for non-profits. I am a reader and a writer. Can I give you more labels? I'm an adventurer! I'm a creative! An extrovert! How do you define yourself? We all have our labels, but the one thing we have in common is that we are simply people trying to love others and are learning how to do that well. Together, the love bursting and flowing (or sometimes fighting) from us is changing the world!