I flew into Nashville this afternoon after being delayed a day by heavy rains and catastrophic flooding in middle TN. Thankfully my home and neighborhood were spared, but others were not so lucky.

As my plane made its descent I could hear audible gasps coming from all over the plane. Passengers stood and leaned over other passengers while everyone tried to view the devastation below.

The thing is – Nashville isn’t in a typical flood zone, but after receiving over 13 inches of rain within two days there was nowhere left for the water to go. Other areas of TN received as much as 21 inches over the two-day period.

Thankfully the rain has stopped, but not before claiming 10 lives in the Nashville area, and 18 statewide. Over 14,000 households have no power tonight and thousands more have been displaced from their homes. Downtown Nashville, Opryland, and many area businesses remain underwater at this time. Area schools are closed with 23 having sustained water damage.

But perhaps the area of greatest concern is the availability of clean water. I find it a strange idea – even the thought of being surrounded by water, but unable to drink it. One of the two water treatment centers for Davidson County is completely submerged. *Update* According to Scott Potter with the Metro Water Services, “The water is safe.” News Channel 5 reports that Nashville residents are being asked to cut their water consumption in half at this time. Potter continued, “I need everyone to use one-half of the water they would normally use, if everyone does this – we will be able to get through this crisis satisfactorily. If we don’t do that – we will have a problem”

I received two calls from my TN water utility company today. The first I received while in FL at the airport. A recorded voice informed me of the dire need to conserve water due to multiple water main breaks in our community and a small water reserve. Another call mentioned the possibility that we would be without water for three days!

I have never been faced with a scenario like this, and honestly, it caused a substantial amount of anxiety. It also caused me to consider how greatly I take our most precious resource for granted. At this point I couldn’t help but consider Haiti and the plight of individuals in so many third world countries who desperately need a consistent clean water supply. And here I was worried about three days!

According to a 2006 United Nations Human Development Report over 1 billion people live without access to clean water. This number is staggering and leaves me feeling almost helpless. What can we do in the face of such an overwhelming reality?

We can help one community at a time.

I continue to be impressed with organizations like World Vision and the Global Orphan Project who are invested in building self-sustaining communities and digging fresh water wells to serve those living in poverty all over the world. We can be a part of helping these organizations and others like them meet real needs of real people. The question is will we follow through with our time and money.

We must reach out to those around the world with the love of Christ while helping to meet their practical and most basic needs. We can do this while continuing to serve those neighbors within our own communities. It is not either or it is both and.

Nashville has been hit hard and many lives have been turned upside down, but we will recover, and we will have access to clean water in a few days if not tomorrow. But others in countries like Haiti may wait indefinitely.

Please continue to pray for those in Nashville and all of Middle TN who have suffered loss, but also pray about how you might get involved in bringing clean water to communities who don’t have their own well.

I can personally recommend The Global Orphan Project as a quality and effective organization. Our family and church is personally invested with this amazing group to help bring water, medicine, food and housing to families in Haiti. To get your church or family involved visit www.theglobalorphanproject.org.

To join cleanup efforts in the Nashville area please visit www.hon.org or www.longhollow.com/flood. I pray that the aftereffects of this flooding would serve as a sobering reminder of what we have been blessed with and prompt us to care for those who live their entire lives without access to the necessities that we frequently take for granted.

  1. I’m glad I moved from central OH to central TX last month instead of waiting until this month to make the move, since the route went thru Nashville (and the route thru IL would’ve added a few hundred to the cost).
    .-= John Hitchcock´s last blog ..I Have Issues =-.

  2. Very well said, JP. I agree with you! We all take everyday things for granite! We were without water for weeks this past winter up here! Due to the pipes freezing. So I can only imagine what half of Tennessee is going through! My thoughts and prayers are with yall!

  3. This reminds me of 2008 when Cedar Rapids flooded. I wasn’t personally impacted with loss from it except the water rationing. Its amazing how dependent we can become on our “creature comforts” I know many people who lost everything. Fortunately (and miraculously) there was no flood related loss of life. With the river at ~32 ft (flood stage is around 16) that was so amazing. Our cleanup is ongoing even nearly 2 years after the fact. Prays going up for you and everyone in the area.

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