In haunts of wretchedness and need,
From tender childhood’s helplessness,
The cup of water given for thee,
O Savior, from the mountainside
Till all on earth shall learn thy love
Frank Mason North, 1903; alt.
Methodist minister Frank Mason North was Corresponding Secretary for the New York City Missionary and Church Extension Society when he was asked to write a missionary hymn for the Methodist Hymnal of 1905. He had never written a hymn before, but this one came out of a sermon he was writing on Matthew 22:9 - Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the feast. The "partings of the highways" became the first line of North's hymn, which he followed with images found in cities around the world.
North went on to writeseveral more hymns, though in later years he claimed in a letter that he was "not a hymn writer, as that term is ordinarily used." Perhaps he meant that he was not as prolific as many, or that it was not a primary avocation of his, but this one hymn at least-- the first one he wrote -- has crossed over to many hymnals and denominations in the last 100 years.