“The only complaint Jesus uttered was when he was being crucified … ‘I thirst,’” observed the 59-year-old Smyrna resident.
Witt kept thinking about how miserable it is to be thirsty and wondered if that could be his way to serve the community.
“I’m not good at getting up and preaching a sermon, but according to the Bible you can be a disciple by setting an example,” he said.
Witt decided he wanted to pass out water at the Cobb Community Transit station off South Marietta Parkway because there aren’t any water fountains there.
He pitched the idea to a member of his Bible study class about a month ago, and that’s when it all began. They donate the cases of water, and he donates the time to pass the bottles out.
“I go six days a week, Monday through Saturday and I stay there until I give out a case of a 24- or 40-pack of water,” Witt said.
In response, Witt will usually get a simple “thank you” from anyone waiting for a bus, but sometimes the bottle of water sparks a conversation, and that’s when he’s able to share his story about Jesus.
“Ninety-nine percent of the problems that people talk to me about are spiritual problems,” he said. “They worry, have anger, low self-esteem. … Those are all spiritual problems.”
As a recovering alcoholic, Witt has experienced many of the same issues people talk to him about.
“In 1999, I lost the love of my life (to a divorce) and instead of turning to the Lord, I started drinking,” he said.
“I only drank for 10 years but went about it very enthusiastically and I drank so much I ended up getting cirrhosis of the liver.”
The drinking almost caused him to lose his life in September 2009. After a two-week coma and with his family and friends beginning to make arrangements for his funeral, he woke up.
“The doctors and family didn’t know what to do with me,” Witt said. “I realized that there was a reason that I woke up and did not die, and it had to do with God, so I decided to start giving back.”
He began his mission by finding a good church. After attending 25 different ones, he landed at Marietta First Baptist off the Marietta Square.
“I’m the wealthiest man you will ever know and I have no money,” he said. “That’s because I have a peace of mind and I’m so happy. You can have a billion dollars but if you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, there is a void in your life.”
The Rev. Bill Ross, who has served as pastor at First Baptist for a little more than five years, said what Witt is doing is part of one of the church’s initiatives they call the scattered church.
“It comes from Acts, where when the church was persecuted, it was scattered, but when it was scattered, that’s when it began to do various things in parts of the known world,” Ross said.
Ross challenges his members to serve in their communities — not just inside the walls of the church or on mission trips around the world.
“Each of us in the church need to be scattered in the community, where we work and where we live,” Ross said.
“I also told our members that they don’t need me to do this. It’s how you feel that God is calling you and what He is calling you to do,” he said.
Ross said he feels this message is what led Witt to start passing out water.
“He has a unique story of who he is and where he’s been and although he’s just handing out water, he is easy to talk to and it’s his opportunity to talk about what God’s done in his life and he’s using this as a venue,” Ross said.
“He’s doing what we’re asking people to do in our church … be the presence of church and our God.”