A Day in My Life: A Precious Commodity

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Our dry backyard…and it’s only June! Imagine it by autumn.

Once you’ve lived through a drought, you never take water for granted.

California is in a severe drought this summer–the snow pack is only 18% of normal. After three dry summers, we are in a dire situation–not only dryness, but a lot of risk of forest fires. Some communities are facing more shortages than others, but all Californians have to cut back on water use by at least 20%. Even in restaurants, you have to ask to have a glass of water.

In our home, Steve and I have always used buckets in the showers during the summers (old habits from previous droughts are hard to shrug off), we only run full loads of washer and dishwasher . . . and this year I’ve added another way to save water. I have a big plastic bowl in the kitchen sink. Amazing how much excess water (normally going down the drain) there is to toss on plants and grass! Maybe this is one of the reasons why farmwives used to have kitchen gardens right out the back door.


Our church is sponsoring water wells in a village in Ethiopia. Each time I empty a bucket or bowl of excess water in the garden, I pray for this African village. It’s become a lovely link to prayer . . . and I feel a kinship to women around the world, through the centuries, who schlep water from a well. Imagine how carefully you would use water if you had to haul every bucket to your house.

You might be living in a state where water is abundant. (If so…lucky you! Oh…to have green grass, summer rains, fresh air.) Still, it never hurts any of us to remember that water is a precious commodity. It sustains our bodies and nourishes our souls. I love the role water plays in Scripture. The next time you’re thirsty, on a hot and dusty day, stop for a moment and imagine hearing these words from our Lord:

“Jesus said to her, ‘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).

Do you have any water-saving tips of your own to share? Please do! One lucky person will receive a copy of Amish Values for Your Family. Winner will be announced next Wednesday.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Donna Ratliff says:

    I live in Campbell, so experience what you have shared. I will put buckets in our showers and bowl in my sink, turn faucets off when brushing teeth when not using the water, same with washing of hands. Wet, shut off faucet, soap, and rinse.
    One question: If soap gets in the buckets, does it hurt plants or lawns? I’m thinking it may even be healthy for them??? What little water we do use on lawn or fruit trees, we do so in the early evening when the sun will not evaporate. Probably everyone does these things. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Donna!
      If water is soapy…I’ve tried to toss it on the grass (not the plants)…just because grass is somewhat sturdier. If it’s super soapy…you might want to dilute it or hose it a little. That’s what we’re doing, anyway. Let me know if you have more tips!

  2. Kira S. says:

    I find it rather ironic to read your blog entry. Right now, in Minnesota we have received so much rain over the past two weeks that dams have washed away, crops have drowned, and we are all slowly mildewing. Everyday we get what feels like torrential amounts of rain.

    I wish there was some way of “sending” some of our standing water your way.

  3. Francesca Burgess says:

    Have lived in Alaska in places where we had no water or electric and was necessary to haul water. It’s very precious. You use every drop possible. Also lived in California and one truly appreciates water there too. All good things are from God. Maybe it’s a reminder to appreciate every moment God gives us and live it thankfully. I fail at that more than I should.

    I so appreciate your books, Suzanne! So looking forward to reading The Revealing, really enjoy learning about Amish folks. You do an awesome job as an author! God bless you and your family richly always!!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Francesca–thank you for your encouraging words! And so interesting to read your comment about life in Alaska. I learned an interesting fact yesterday–that “effective use of indoor water” = 45 gallons a day, per person. Imagine that, hauling bucket by bucket!

  4. Renee says:

    We turn off water when brushing teeth. Sometimes I turn off the shower, too, while I lather. If someone leaves water in a glass, I use it to water plants.

  5. Charise says:

    I am doing the same things as you Suzanne. The one other thing I do is when I cook veggies, I scoop them from the water and then let the water cool. I use that cooled water for plants. I also have let plants go this year and am only keeping the ones that have sentimental value (eg the azalea from my wedding).

    • Suzanne says:

      Charise–I have an azalea from my wedding, too! It’s in the garden. As for leftover veggie water…if I’m not mistaken, I think that water is filled with minerals! Good for plants.