Bitter Sweet

By Ray Majoran, CEO of Radiant

Last month I had the privilege to travel to India and Nepal with Vision Nationals. While my primary task was to take pictures for the ministry and help them chronicle their story visually — which is something I love to do — I also carved out a little bit of time to write about what I was seeing, feeling, and learning along the way.

The following story was my second journal entry in India, and it captures a small, yet significant piece of what God is doing in the rural villages where Vision Nationals does so much amazing work. It also provides some backstory for something Tom wrote about just a few weeks ago.

Mohandas Gandhi once noted in a conversation with E. Stanley Jones, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ. If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.”

As I write this blog, there are so many things going through my mind; so many emotions that I’m feeling; so many stories to be told. Today, I’ll tell one.

On Monday I had the opportunity to visit a number of villages on the eastern coast of India. God is doing amazing things in each one of them. In 2001, in Srikakulam District, a Vision Nationals pastor by the name of Pastor Raju was called to plant a church in a village that had never heard about Jesus before.

Fast-forward 14 years later and Pastor Raju decided it was time to dig a well. As it stood, women were walking 2 to 3 miles just to get fresh water.

There were two confirmed wells in town. The problem though was that each time a well was drilled, all they found was undrinkable, contaminated water. It just so happens that the church was built in the middle of the two wells, roughly 100 feet from each one.

There was extreme skepticism from the villagers. What sense would it make to dig another well in the middle of two contaminated wells? With God, anything is possible.

Rewind to Exodus 15:22-26 for a moment:

Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

Pastor Raju prayed over the area and the bore hole (where the well was to be dug) that it would produce good water.

And it did.

Skepticism turned into joy. Bitter water was made sweet.

The villagers said, “Your God must be great if he can turn the bitter water, sweet!”

I think back to that conversation between Gandhi and Jones. Oh, what it would look like if Christians lived out their faith; lived out the gospel.

1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” God helping me, I desire to do this.

I’ll leave you with a few photos from two of the wells we visited (including the one from this story), along with a song by Bethel songwriter and worship leader, Amanda Cook. Indeed, He does turn the bitter into sweet.

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Since 1992 Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for India’s most vulnerable. Donations to support our work are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be designated to the ministry, fund, or project of your choice.

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