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When Water Well Drilling Fails

Sometimes, despite the best planning and efforts, a water well drilling fails.  We do our very best, yet still come up empty. So what comes next? The short answer is we try again. The long answer is it’s heartbreaking.

When a Village Needs Clean Water

If Set Free is in a village to drill a new bore well, it’s because that village desperately needs clean water. As a part of our well drilling process, we do a water assessment. Where do they currently collect water? Is this source reliable year-round? People cannot live without water – so our crew can always find some source of water. This gives them a clue how far down they’ll need to drill. If there’s a stream running a couple miles down the road or an open well has water in it 75 feet down, chances are good that if we drill to that level – we will hit water as well.

Once Set Free enters a village to drill their well, it’s quite a lengthy process. The equipment has to be set up. Water to fill the pits, clean the drill bits, and mix the concrete has to be collected. The villagers are an active part of the process. It’s not every day a drill rig comes to your village, so many people come to hang out and watch the work. You can feel the excitement in the air as the drill bores lower and lower into the earth.

African water well drilling crews

When Water Well Drilling Fails

And then, despite our best efforts, sometimes a water well drilling fails. If you drill deep enough, you will find water. But, in some places this water might be salt. That’s a fail. The water table is sometimes located in clay. This means that the soil isn’t permeable enough for water to fill the pump adequately for the village’s needs. Another fail. Sometimes the soil is too permeable and collapses in on the drill steel. Fail again. Sometimes we simply don’t know why. We drill down to where the water should be. The soil looks good. But a water well drilling fails still. And it’s heartbreaking.

Set Free’s presence in a village brings a new hope. We come on a mission to solve their water problems but also to show the love of Jesus through clean water. When a water well drilling fails, it can cause doubt.

Did God choose for this to happen?

Where is this God you proclaim?

On a practical level, it also means that days of labor and toil have been for nothing. But just like Isaac in Genesis 26, we will drill as many wells as it takes to bring God’s people clean water. Set Free does not give up – we pick up our equipment, move to a different location in the village, and try again. God’s love doesn’t run dry, and neither will we.

drill rig hits clean water

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