Christians Tweet to Donate Drinking Water

Hundreds of twitterers and bloggers have been skipping their morning Starbucks runs and afternoon sodas, drinking only water for five days to help save lives.

Among the less-caffeinated bunch is Shawn Wood, Experiences Pastor at Seacoast Church in South Carolina, who launched a water initiative called "5 Days In May" to help provide clean water to those in developing countries who do not have access to the basic resource.

"Simply put, 5 Days in May is an opportunity to drink nothing but water for the first five days in May and then, as a celebration, give what you would have spent on other drinks to give water to people who do not have clean drinking water," Wood told Collide magazine. "Drink water to give water."

A Diet Mountain Dew drinker, Wood has turned the initiative into a viral movement, spreading the word only through social networking sites like twitter and facebook.

There are over 200 people on the 5 Days In May facebook page and some 400 twitter followers. Moreover, bloggers are posting the announcement on their sites and encouraging their readers to join.

"Just contributed $300 to @5daysinmay," says one tweet by "jerryminer."

Followers began skipping non-water beverages on May 1. The fifth and final day coincides with Cinco de Mayo, one of the highest alcohol consumption holidays of the year.

"Here it is Cinco de Mayo and I'll be drinking water all day ... But it is so worth it," "scbubba" tweeted Tuesday.

Wood of Seacoast Church was spurred to start the initiative after realizing the amount of non-water beverages that will likely be consumed on Cinco de Mayo would probably be more than the amount of clean water available in most third-world countries, he told Collide magazine.

The finger wasn't just pointing at Cinco de Mayo fans.

"[A]s soon as I was thinking bad thoughts about all those non-water beverage consumers, God reminded me that I drink a lot of Diet Mountain Dew," he said to the magazine.

He decided to lay off his favorite highly caffeinated soda and donate the money he would have spent on it to Water Missions International, a nonprofit, Christian organization which builds water systems in developing countries and disaster areas.

Wood stresses that the initiative is not about kicking a habit or even fasting but solely about raising money for the millions suffering without drinking water.

"At the end of the day if everyone fasts and drinks nice clean water but does not give money to buy clean water for people who need it, I am not sure if it would be a success," Wood told The Christian Post in an e-mail.

According to the Seacoast pastor, the average American drinks 420 ounces of canned soft drinks a week and spends $43.75 a week on non-water beverages. That amount could provide five people with safe, sustainable drinking water for the rest of their lives.

One in six people do not have access to clean water and every 15 seconds, a child dies because of the lack of clean water.

"5 Days in May has the potential to provide millions of people with clean, safe water for life," said Wood in a statement. "But the picture I cannot get out of my mind is that three-year-old little girl who will not be drinking out of a ditch come May 6."

Wood has not set a specific monetary goal but says $25,000 would outfit an entire village with water.

Although 5 Days In May ends Tuesday, Wood encourages ongoing donations to Water Missions International.

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