The local well was running low; people were dying from dehydration and waterborne illnesses; and the survivors were desperately searching for a fresh source of water, rationing what little they could find. In the midst of it all, Idris prepared for a cold morning bath.
It may have seemed cruel on the surface, but Idris wasn’t thinking of himself. His priest had given him specific directions to save his wife, and Idris knew that as surely as his neighbors would die without drinking water, she couldn’t live unless he bathed in it.
Wife Sick for 12 Years, Baffles Doctors and Priests
Idris’ wife, Chaitaly, had first fallen ill 12 years before, and her list of symptoms had continued to grow since: a low blood count, feeling weak, a burning sensation and swelling all over her body and constant pain in her abdomen.
Idris and Chaitaly visited several hospitals and many witch doctors and temples, but no medication or ritual could heal the suffering woman. Eventually, Chaitaly’s condition deteriorated to the point where she could no longer get out of bed or even talk.
Finally, a priest suggested Idris adopt the life of a holy man to heal Chaitaly. Ready to try almost anything, Idris decided to take the advice.
Idris’ new role carried a long list of rituals and regulations: He wasn’t allowed to eat meat or visit places where meat was served; he couldn’t cut his hair; and he had to wear certain clothing and mark his forehead with ashes. Despite the area’s water scarcity, he also had to take a cold bath every morning and wear wet clothing while performing rituals for his deities.
Idris’ need for water had now increased, but he was determined to do whatever it took to heal his wife—even though he knew his fellow villagers often went without.
Sick Neighbor Asks Pastor for Prayer
Elsewhere in the village lived a woman whom water couldn’t help even if she’d had an unending supply. Like Chaitaly, Lajita had been sick for years with no diagnosis in sight.
For seven years, evil spirits had attacked her on the night of each new moon, giving her terrible nightmares and inflicting her body with a burning sensation, dizziness and a constant fever. Even if her husband, Taraprashad, brought her water, she was unable to drink it or eat any food.
Like Chaitaly, Lajita went to hospitals and witchdoctors, finding all of them useless, but she had one more resource that Chaitaly didn’t. Her brother-in-law was a Gospel for Asia pastor in a nearby village, and when Lajita and Taraprashad were out of other ideas, they finally decided to contact him.
By then, Lajita was in critical condition, but Pastor Mandal prayed for her through the night. The next day, Taraprashad and Pastor Mandal brought Lajita to the church, where all the believers gathered to pray for her. After a week of intercession, Lajita was healed.
Amazed by the Lord’s power, Lajita, Taraprashad and their family began to follow Him faithfully, attending Pastor Mandal’s church each Sunday and regularly inviting him into their home for Bible study.
As Pastor Mandal visited, he began to notice the village’s severe water deprivation, and he realized he could do something more to help the 60 families starving for water.
Well Miraculously Draws Water in Dry Land
When Pastor Mandal brought people to drill a Jesus Well, the workers doubted whether they would be able to find water. The village already had a deep well, and its low water levels were the reason for the village’s crisis. Still, Pastor Mandal asked that they drill by faith.
To the workers’ surprise, they found water at 40 feet, and they drilled a further 210 feet to ensure an ample water supply during any season.
While the workers continued installing the well, Pastor Mandal, Lajita’s family and the workers began praising God for His provision. The noise drew in other villagers until the entire community had come to see the miracle—including Idris.
The new well offered plenty of water for Idris’ rituals, but as he watched Pastor Mandal give thanks, he came up with a better idea. His life as a holy man had brought neither healing nor peace to his wife, but perhaps the God who had provided this miracle could save her.
Jesus Heals Wife, Couple Embraces His Love
At Idris’ request, Pastor Mandal went to Chaitaly and prayed for her healing. He returned regularly to pray for and encourage the family, this time with Taraprashad by his side. After 12 years of illness, Chaitaly’s condition began to improve, and both she and Idris put their full trust in Jesus Christ.
Within two months, Chaitaly was healthy enough to make the 11-mile walk to Pastor Mandal’s church. Now, she and Idris never miss a Sunday.
As Chaitaly, Idris, Lajita and Taraprashad grow in the Lord, the other villagers continue to celebrate the end of their drought.
“This Jesus Well is a real blessing to our lives here in this village,” one villager said. “We were starving for water earlier, but now sufficient water is available. Thank you very much for the immense help to this village.”
Remembering the water’s source, other villagers have begun to ask Pastor Mandal for prayer, and they willingly listen as he shares about the God who delivered them from death.
Nearly 1 billion people have no access to clean water. Providing it through a Jesus Well not only saves an entire village from dehydration and waterborne illnesses, but it also shows them the unfathomable love, power and provision of God. Help open their eyes today.
Originally published: March 2014