By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
Joy El Camps and Retreats in PA has struggled to have sufficient potable water during late June and July for the past few years. With the hot summer temperatures and the increased summer camp registrations, we have experienced the convergence of two trends. One is a very good trend: more campers. The other hasn't been good. It has been a decrease in water supply.
Although our water source has been strong during the year, it has significantly decreased during the summer. We often had to put in significant measures to curtail water usage. Additionally we had to have water delivered via truck several times daily.
We knew that this was not a long-term solution. We needed to make some changes.
Last year we began getting quotes and talking with experts to find an additional well on our property. We were praying for a well that would consistently produce 30 gallons per minute year round. Yet we knew that 50 would be even better.
Very quickly God provided the estimated funds. Then we needed to go through the permitting process. The township and DEP all needed to agree. Although the original location wasn't deemed appropriate, we received approval for the second, third and fourth locations.
We drilled at the first approved location. The result: 5 gallons per minute. Insufficient.
We drilled at the second approved location. The result: 2 gallons per minute. Insufficient.
We drilled at the third approved location: 8 gallons per minute. Better than the first two combined, but still insufficient.
We were at a loss for what to do. We prayed hard and asked the professionals at Negley's http://negleys.net/ what options we had. We learned about a process called electrical resistivity testing. It was a complicated process that came with a high fee. So after doing our due diligence we contracted with an engineer to test our land.
He anticipated a whole day of testing. After he was completed with a half-day he shared with me that he was pleased with his results and would be sending me his report (and reducing our rate).
After receiving the report I discussed the findings with the well driller and we determined the best location to drill.
There were a few hurdles in the approval process. Both the DEP and township had reasons to believe that this site might not be approved due to regulations.
And so we continued to pray hard.
We believed Isaiah 41:18: “I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.”
We pleaded Isaiah 43:19: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
And God moved in pretty amazing and immediate ways.
We received the approval to drill. A week later the well drilling rig returned to Joy El.
Within 80 feet of drilling they were receiving about 25 gallons a minute. They drilled deeper and by the time they reached 200 feet we were getting about 35 gallons per minute! The driller asked me if we wanted to go deeper.
After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the shale ground that we have, we decided to drill to 300 feet deep. The result? We received 50 gallons per minute!
But there were still more tests that needed to be done. Because we are a public facility, the well needed to produce that amount for six hours straight.
And so the testing and waiting began again. About halfway through the process I checked in with Ray, who was testing the water. He told me, "Aaron, this is some of the best water that I've seen. It is producing at 88 gallons per minute!”
“Praise the Lord!” I said.
It is rare that the six-hour test produces a higher yield than that of the well-drilling rig. Therefore the DEP required additional tests to make sure that the water was good. Like a child looking at the Christmas gifts wrapped under the tree, all of our camp staff looked at this great well that had the ability to produce 88 GPM of water while children were gathered at camp.
And so we prayed for the administrative red tape to be cut.
And soon it was. The DEP has the authority to approve how high we are able to draw water from this well. And were told they might approve it at 40, 50 or 60 gallons a minute.
And so we prayed.
We received word that all of the tests came back great. And the DEP chose to approve the well at 88 gallons per minute! Unbelievable. Amazing! Only God! Our Christians camps in PA now had water! I loudly say, “The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” (Psalm 118:23-24).
We are so thankful that God has provided the funds and the water to minister to children at Joy El! This Christian camp and retreat centers in PA is truly blessed.
You see, this physical water is needed to share the eternal water. We want all campers to drink both. “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (John 4:13-14).
We love it that campers find eternal water at Joy El, a Christian Camp and Retreat Centers in PA!
If you would like to bring your own group for a retreat (and some eternal water): http://joyelcamps.org/pennsylvania_christian_retreat_center
To learn more about the programs that Joy El has to offer: http://joyelcamps.org/
Read a devotional on the wells of Salvation: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-wells-of-salvation-and-the-work-of-missions