December 21, 2013
Jesus! He Turned Wine Into Water
According to the Bible, Jesus Christ once turned water into wine at a wedding after all the wine had run out. These were the kinds of things that made Jesus special, when the rest of us mere mortals would have just sat around not turning water into wine and complaining about the lack of preparation and service considering the cost of weddings.
Now, a modern day miracle worker is reversing the process and turning wine into water. Wedding-goers absolutely hate him. Actually, the process isn’t that direct; ‘CNN Hero’ Doc Hendley is the founder of a non-profit named Wine to Water, which takes advantage of the developed world’s love of wine in order to generate funds for his mission to provide clean water to the more than one billion people worldwide who don’t currently have it.
Doc is a former barman who spent time in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan and now aims to help people across the world have access to clean, safe water. One of his current focuses is Syria, where the war has meant that access to water, like so much else, is being increasingly reduced. His organization has so far helped to provide clean water to more than 150,000 people in 17 countries.
The fundraising involves wine-tasting events, appeals to bar staff to donate their tips for a short period (bartenders from 16 countries did so as part of the project in April) and selling wine on the Wine to Water website. He says that his regular customers in the bar have taken up the idea and run with it. Raising awareness is as much a part of the aim as raising funds.
Doc says, “Diarrhea kills more children under 5 than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. And 88% of (those) deaths are caused by poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene.” He points out that many of us fail to realize the scale of the world’s water problems because we can’t identify with them. Even if most of us in the West will never get Malaria, we can still identify with anyone’s child getting sick from some illness or other. But we almost can’t comprehend the idea of drinking water being a six-hour walk away, and even then it not being sanitary.
So far Wine to Water has installed more than 500 wells across the globe, and distributed 25,000 filters. As well as the crisis in Syria, Doc has been helping out in the Philippines, where the typhoon recently caused massive damage and disruption. Countries in South and Central America, Africa and West and East Asia have all benefited from the efforts of a barman from Raleigh, North Carolina.
As Doc says himself, “You can be a bartender in Raleigh, North Carolina; you can be just a regular anybody. And you really, really can change the world. You can touch thousands of lives. I’m walking truth of that.”
Image Credit: Chaowat S / Shutterstock