If the new dam keeps water from flowing to Egypt, farmland will dry out and become useless. If you went to Egypt and met four people, at least one of them would probably be a farmer. Multiply that fraction by the huge number of people in Egypt. A new dam could mean a lot of people out of work for a time—and even more running out of drinking water and food. But if no dam is built, needy people in Ethiopia will continue to go without electricity. Can the two nations compromise?
It is very hard to reach an agreement. Some people even fear the countries will go to war over it. In a compromise, each nation sacrifices a little of what it wants for the good of the other one. That can only happen when two nations trust each other. Ethiopia and Egypt don’t.
To have a friend, you have to be a friend. You must be willing to look out for the needs of others. (Philippians 2:4) Egypt already gets more Nile water than Ethiopia does. Some think Egyptian officials should have been more willing to share water earlier. If they had, would Ethiopian officials make a compromise now?
No one knows for sure. In the end, Egyptian and Ethiopian authorities are worried most about their own national interest. That’s a good thing. They are responsible to the citizens of their own countries first. The Bible calls human governors servants of God. (Romans 13:4) All the power they have comes from Him. He wants them to use it to protect and do good for the people they rule. They are also called to make sure people use earthly resources well.
Can government officials act kindly toward neighboring countries while caring for their own? That takes a lot of work—and wisdom.