One of my favorite parts of Jesus’ earthly ministry is his interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. That particular portion of John’s gospel (chapter 4) has spoken to me over and over again this year. During their encounter at Jacob’s well, he offers her the gift of living water, a gift that keeps on giving. It’s ultimately the gift of himself, a well that never runs dry.
Christmas is a season where we celebrate Jesus, so our gifts should ultimately celebrate him. Jesus, our living water, the continual giver of good gifts, provides us with a great model for giving. He gives gifts that are never used up; they can be enjoyed forever.
I’ve come across a few noteworthy gift ideas that keep giving back to the recipient. When you give one of these gifts, it’s not a one time deal, but it’s something that can continue blessing them for years to come.
In honor of Jesus, the living water, you can contribute to clean water projects in areas of the world where drinkable water is hard to come by. The Grammy award winning band Jars of Clay has an organization devoted to providing clean water for people in Africa, in addition to serving those with AIDS. For more information about the work they are doing and for ways to contribute, visit the Blood:Water Mission website (click here). WorldVision also has several types of water projects, from purchasing a well to contributing a smaller sum of money to their general clean water funds (click here to read about all their projects).
Americans might balk at the idea of finding livestock under their Christmas tree (I can just imagine a pig with a bow on its head under mine), but that’s exactly the kind of gift that would richly bless many people who live in agrarian societies across the world. World Vision gives you opportunities to donate a goat, which can provide milk and cheese to feed a family or to sell at market (click here for more information). You can buy an Alpaca for countries such as Peru and Ecuador, where people can raise them and earn money from their wool (click here for more information). There are many other animals available for purchase, which you can read about on their website.
Just keep in mind that if you decide to give this sort of gift to a family member or friend, it might be nice to check with them first. Before giving them a cow or a horse, it’s nice to know if they have a pasture…or if they like cows or horses.