The unknown water worker in South Birmingham

Last week the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ roared across the UK.

Social media went berserk with snow-glazed streets and stories of burst pipes.

Mr Cadbury wasn’t the only Brummie to be hit by a burst pipe. It seemed as though that one pipe served the City’s southern region.

My mate Dan included. His house had no water.


He told me about the normal Armageddon-like drama. From frenzied supermarket shoppers diving for Highland Spring multipacks to the question of what to do with sauce-splatted kitchen surfaces.

Dan rehearsed the common lines about how we don’t realise how blessed we are to have running water.

He explained how you could hear the cheer over the fence when it came back on.

But he said something else that stuck.

Work means water

“While we were all sleeping, there was a worker out there, digging up concrete, using their skills to fix a burst pipe.”

For me, water is just there. I forget that it’s there because of work.

Professors research the best materials for pipes. Workers install them. A panel are considering improvements to avoid future bursts.

Work makes things work. Work means water.

Unsung Heroes

I thought about that worker, labouring throughout the night. I imagine they didn’t get any special recognition or thanks.

I guess they were ‘just doing their job.’

Perhaps nobody sees what we do. Maybe it feels thankless and lacks value. We’re under-paid, under-valued. We feel our work does no real good.

But all work done under the sun – or moon – serves people. Be it a water worker or web designer, waitress or wildlife ranger.

Like the unknown water worker doing unseen labour, our work serves people. So God has given it purpose.

We should remember that come Monday.