God Who Heals the Waters
In a hillside village on the slopes of Mount Hanang, our pastors training seminar took a “detour” when our hosting pastors warned us not to drink the water. We had assumed that they had a fresh spring from the mountain; thus, puzzled by the caution, we leaned in for a few more details.
There is a fresh spring flowing from the mountain to supply surrounding villages for miles and miles. However, many villagers suffer from strange sicknesses: rotting teeth, rapid-onset goiters, and bouts of explosive anger that mimic drunken rage from merely drinking the water! It was clear to us that this was not simply a physical problem, but a spiritual one! Thus, we spoke with the pastor and asked him to gather a handful of trusted prayer-partners to join us in the morning.
The next morning, we gathered in the village and hiked the path into the woods. The spring bubbled to the surface at the roots of a massive tree, spilling into a small pool of water where it was collected to be piped to the community. Skins and unknown matter hung from the tree’s branches, and black sacrificial remnants were smeared on the trunk’s bark. The pastor was quick to caution us not to touch the tree, for there was danger to anyone who did so. Local tribes come regularly to offer ritualistic sacrifices at this very place. We heeded the pastor’s warning but agreed that we all needed to ask God for a solution to this problem. We encouraged this team to pray and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit; then we agreed to do whatever God indicated in our prayer, worship, and Scripture reading together. As we began, we prepared our own hearts first, asking God to reveal any “un-aligned” way within us and dedicating ourselves as His servants and ambassadors for this time. Then turning to listen for His instructions, one team member felt strongly that we were to lay our hands on the tree…in contrast to the commonly understood wisdom of the area. We all were in unity, however, and so we prayed for God’s protection and anointed our hands with oil. All of us laying our hands around the tree’s trunk, we prayed in unity, repenting for the pagan rituals performed there, and in Jesus’ name breaking the power of curses from the sacrifices repeatedly offered to other gods. We dedicated the land back to God, speaking the truth of Psalm 24:1 over that place: “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell therein.”
Having completed everything that God had prompted us there, the local pastors were moved to also lay their hands on the pipes that carried water to the villages below. They prayed openly that these pipes which had carried the curses and sickness throughout this land would now deliver the blessing and healing of God! Amen!
Suddenly, we realized that the time had flown by! We were late for our own seminar! Quickly we hustled to our vehicles and drove 20 minutes to the church and the crowd that awaited our final day of teaching. During our lunch break, we noticed animated chattering among the leaders. We asked the translator if there was a problem. He went to investigate, returning with the news: the word in the village is that the waters are healed!!! Chuckling to ourselves we countered him, “But we were only there just a couple hours ago. We didn’t even tell them why we were late. How would they know the waters are healed?” Why would we doubt it?! We followed exactly what He prompted us; we prayed what He directed us to speak. And yet, we remained a bit skeptical, wondering if our hosts perhaps were exaggerating the success.
Fast Forward ONE WEEK… We return to Mt. Hanang area to check in with our pastor friends. “Tell us, how are things now in the village? Have you seen any results from our prayer time together at the spring?” Yes, of course! The waters really are healed! When pressed for more details, the pastor began to recite the changes: no new goiters; no more rotting teeth; but best of all, the fighting had stopped! The entire community was noticing the change. In fact, the pastor was surprised to have local tribesmen come to his church looking for him. They were not there to hunt him down, however; they came to ask questions. “We know about the witchdoctors and the gods who bring curses and death. But who is this god who heals the waters?!” They came looking at the church for THE GOD WHO HEALS THE WATERS!