By Jonni Sliver
I was just recently in Curitiba with Paul and Becky Abel, always a precious experience, but this time God had a special Blessing for me.
A young man named Igor was in the car when Paul and Becky picked me up from the bus stop. He is a member of the church family and lives in the neighborhood down the hill from the ARCA; he had gotten a ride with the Abel’s to the dentist. As he got out of the car Becky asked him to tell his mom that they were working on the water, a curious statement. We had gone maybe two blocks when a lady stuck her head out of her window and called out “how is the water coming?” Becky responded “soon, we hope”. Becky explained that there was a problem with the pump for the artesian well at the ARCA and everyone was high and dry – but what did that have to do with a whole neighborhood a good mile from the ARCA. Well, it is a lovely story.
Eighteen years ago Paul and Becky had a shallow well on their property which augmented the water they received from the city – the problem was it wasn’t enough water for them and the ARCA. They decided to dig a deeper artesian well. The project was costly, involving the digging of the well, the installation of a pump and the purchase of the water tank. The Abel’s were blessed when an American supporter contacted them to say God had laid it on her heart to provide the pump and its installation. She couldn’t know at the moment how many lives she would touch with her generous gift.
Originally the retreat center, the care takers, and Paul and Becky were supplied with crystalline water from this well. Within a short time the Bateias Church moved from a limited area in the city center to a larger property that allowed for growth, just a stone’s throw from the ARCA – and it had water. With the move of the church, the pastor and several church members moved to properties that bordered the ARCA, and all of them had water.
More than a decade ago, a new community sprang up not far from the ARCA. Poor families began building on land just outside of the city on cheap, untitled land. The community grew. Then a few families came to Paul and Becky asking if they could receive water from their well. Eventually the neighborhood grew to approximately 100 families. All of them receive water from the same well. The pump that was installed 18 years ago has blessed not just the ARCA and its workers, not just the missionaries, not just the church, but a whole community of people who found grace when they knocked on Paul and Becky’s door.
Maybe you are thinking about the same story I am – Jesus sitting beside a well, offering living water to a woman desperately in need of it. She went to the well to satisfy her thirst; Jesus met her there to satisfy her spirit. Paul and Becky have been offering the same words of hope, together with the blessing of clean, clear water for nearly two decades thanks to the obedience of one precious sister. Only the Lord knows how far His blessings will reach!