In Benin, the struggle for water is a constant part of life, even for missionaries. When we moved out to our farm, we had to haul water to our house in jugs. Then we got money that allowed us to drill two wells—one for the house and the other for the garden/fish project. At first, we used an electric well pump powered by a generator, but the generator used a lot of gas, and it was too small for the pump and finally it burned out.
We then switched to solar-powered pumps. They worked for a while until the one feeding our house went down with an electrical issue. We were dealing with some sickness at the time, so we didn’t get an electrician out to fix it right away. Instead, we connected our two water systems together so we could get water from the garden system. Then one day the pump in the garden well stopped working, too.
This finally motivated us to call the electrician. He discovered that the garden system had a wire disconnected. Cows frequently walk under our solar panels, so we think one of them snagged the wire with its horn. The problem with the house water system was more serious. Rain driven sideways by powerful storm winds had gotten into the pump controls and shorted them, burning out the pump.
When the garden pump wire was reconnected, we heard the most lovely of sounds—water rushing into our empty tank. But later that evening we heard a not-so-lovely sound: water was now gushing out of a large hole in the bottom of the tank. We immediately shut it down. We have since learned from our plumber that this brand of tank is known to have this issue. Oh well. That is why we keep jugs of water sitting in the kitchen and in the bathrooms, so we always have water even with these issues.
But this wasn’t the end of our water story. Amid all this water drama, a few weeks ago Fidel had been praying and asking God for a sign that we are where we are supposed to be. Two Sabbaths ago, we came home from church and found the tank for our house overflowing with water! I thought maybe the electrician had come by and fixed the pump. I couldn’t ask Fidel because he was in the village at the time and didn’t have his phone, and I didn’t have the electrician’s number. It was a hot day, and the boys had a fun time that afternoon playing in the shower of water overflowing the top of the tank. When Fidel came home he called the electrician and found out that he had not repaired the pump. We thought maybe the system in the garden was feeding it, but I had already turned off the pump for the garden, and when Fidel closed the connecting pipe, the water kept overflowing. When we touched the pipes coming out of the well there were no vibrations, and the pipes were warm. There was no water moving through them! We were mystified. I went to bed at 9 p.m., and the water was still overflowing. Fidel went out for one more look at the tank. As he stood beside it, he heard a voice say, “You asked for a sign. Here is a sign.”
Sometime that Sabbath night, the miraculous flow of water stopped. But the full tank of miracle water lasted us through the following week. In fact, we used the last of it right before we went to church the next Sabbath.
Later that Sabbath afternoon, Abraham came into our house all wet. I asked him where he had been, and he said he had been playing in the tank overflow. Yes, the Sabbath miracle of the overflowing tank was back again.
With a grin on his face, Fidel went out by the tank and prayed to God, thanking Him for His providence and saying that was enough for us. Not long after that, the miraculous flow of water stopped. We praise God for confirming that we are where He wants us.