It was an ironic turn of events. The very people who had forbidden Christians to draw water from their well, forcing them to walk for miles to gather water at a mountain stream, now found their “Hindu-only” well had gone dry. The Christians, however, now had their own well, provided by Heaven’s Family. Would the believers in Budamaha village treat their persecutors as their persecutors had treated them?
You may have read in world news or in our past magazines about the 2008 uprising of radical Hindus in the remote mountains of Orissa, India. Their stated goal was to drive every one of the thousands of Christians from their region, and they launched a bloody rampage from which believers fled for their lives into the surrounding jungles. Some were killed and many were injured, businesses and possessions were confiscated, and 10,000 homes were destroyed. [See Overcoming in Orissa in our June magazine.]
After spending months hiding out in the jungle and surviving by foraging for food and drinking the dew off of plant leaves, the followers of Jesus in Budamaha cautiously returned—under promises of government protection—in order to rebuild the charred remains of their homes and businesses. Frustrated by their inability to chase the Christians away, the hostile Budamahans refused them access to their “Hindu” well in the village, forcing the believers to walk miles each day to gather water from a mountain stream.
Last March, a team of us from Heaven’s Family had the privilege of visiting many of the survivors in Budamaha. We did our best to encourage them, and through gifts to the Persecuted Christians Fund, we ultimately helped 26 Christian families rebuild their homes. We also learned how desperate they were for a local source of safe water, so we quickly agreed to fund a well that would be drilled on the grounds of their burned-out church that they are rebuilding.
In June, I received word that their “Friendship Well” was operational, and a joyful dedication had taken place. I also learned why they had given it that name. In a bold decision to love their enemies, they dedicated the use of the well to any who might need it, including Hindus. At the time, the gesture was mostly just a statement of goodwill—one which they didn’t realize would soon be tested.
During the summer, the “Hindu-only” well stopped producing water. The same villagers who had launched their murderous assault a few years ago now had to turn to their victims for mercy. Humbly, they began coming to the Friendship Well…with the full blessing of the Budamaha believers. Those believers were, as Scripture teaches, “pouring coals on the heads of their enemies” and “overcoming evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Now, some among those who previously persecuted the Budamaha believers have also received Living Water from heaven—and are attending the very church they once tried to destroy.