In the Gospel of John, Jesus has an encounter with the Samaritan woman and makes this direct comparison between physical water and the spiritual gifts he offers: “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” (John 4:13-14).
Jesus calls himself the Living Water for a reason. Just as we need water to survive, we must have a relationship with our Lord to experience the fullness of life. That’s why clean water is such a powerful spiritual symbol to those who have lived their entire lives without it — they understand the importance water represents.
Father Glenn Meaux, founder and director of the Kobonal Haiti Mission, has taken to heart this unique intersection between providing clean water and sharing the Gospel in his ministry to the poor. By building wells in communities, he provides a visual example of the blessings provided by Christ. Water cleanses hands and bodies. Christ’s sacrifice and pure life have a cleansing impact on our souls.
When Fr. Meaux arrived in Kobonal in 1989, the bishop told him that the area was “the darkest corner of the Diocese of Hinche.” Voodoo was widely practiced, poverty was rampant, and community morale was extraordinarily low.
Despite the challenges, Fr. Meaux founded the Kobonal Haiti Mission, focusing on meeting the extreme material needs of the poor while he evangelized families living in the area. Now, 30 years later, Kobonal is no longer the darkest corner of the diocese. Instead, it is where the light comes from, serving as an important beacon of hope for the surrounding community.
One of the programs he considers a priority is designed to end local families’ dependence on contaminated water sources by providing them with access to safe, abundant water. It is a program with clear spiritual parallels.
Fr. Meaux’s first well was built just outside of the Mission walls, and people flocked there to fill up their water buckets. It was clear that the need for safe water was even greater than he had anticipated, particularly in some of the smaller communities of the diocese that were a long walk from the Mission’s well.
Fr. Meaux knows that providing material resources to the poor is vitally important — but it is not enough. For the Church to be God’s instrument of mercy and accomplish lasting life transformation, a spiritual awakening is essential and individual hearts must be changed.
To address the needs of those families, the Mission engaged in a strategy to provide clean water all over the Diocese of Hinche, and in the years since that initiative was launched, Fr. Meaux’s team has built dozens of wells and water distribution points for families in need.
Through the years, Fr. Meaux has learned that providing clean water and encouraging the spiritual formation of families are critical parts of this kind of holistic poverty relief plan. Access to water is a vital first step to breaking the cycle of poverty because it frees families’ time and energy to invest in other areas of life — such as education, establishing a small business, or pursuing agricultural ventures.
Spiritual formation takes the family to even greater heights because it heals hearts and sets souls free from the bondage of sin and hopelessness. This newfound faith and optimism helps families build their faith on a firm foundation based on truth. The Mission offers regular Catholic faith-formation activities, encouraging families to draw closer to God through obedience to God’s Word and prayer.
Your support will bring practical material relief and spiritual support to Haiti’s poorest families in the form of water and the truth of the Gospel.
Jerson Antoine walks to this creek to collect water every day for his six children. His rural Haitian community does not have a clean water source, so it’s his only option.
“The source is a small hole where we draw water. We have no other means,” he said. “To get to the source, I walk for more than 50 minutes. Once I get to the spring, there is a crowd there fighting to get some water. It may take more than 90 minutes before I can go home.”
This water makes his family sick, a common problem for poor Haitian families.
“The spring water causes illnesses sometimes like colic and diarrhea. We resign ourselves because we have no other means,” Jerson said.
A well built by the Kobonal Haiti Mission would change his family’s life.
“If donors fund the construction of a well for us, we will be very grateful to them, and we will never stop praying for them,” said Jerson.
A well would answer his community’s prayers, bringing life and giving them an example of the life — Jesus Christ — that springs eternal and will never run dry.
Fr. Meaux’s water program has given many families hope. Still, there are those who remain in desperate need of a safe source of clean and plentiful water. For that reason, he continues to make water projects a priority of his ministry.
Will you help Fr. Meaux and his team at the Kobonal Haiti Mission provide spiritual and physical refreshment? Your support will help build wells that provide abundant and clean water to families like Jerson’s, while encouraging spiritual formation activities that will transform the soul.