India's Water of Life

Rachel Chimits

One man’s terrible illness becomes a story of hope to his entire village.

According to an international survey and study organization, “Diseases due to poor drinking-water access, unimproved sanitation, and poor hygiene practices cause 4.0 percent of all deaths and 5.7 percent of all disability or ill health in the world.”

For perspective, 4 percent of the world’s 7.7 billion people equals over 300 million deaths due to bad water. This is compounded by pollution coming from fertilizers and pesticides in farming areas.

For someone like Aadarsh* in rural India, it would take clean water to heal his illness but something more to heal a despairing heart. 

Living in Pain

Aadarsh was 22 years old and had been sick for 11 years with intense, chronic stomach pain.

The physician at the nearest medical center was unable to diagnose what was causing his illness, and there was no way Aadarsh could afford the trip to go to a hospital in the nearest big city. 

Feeling they had no options left, his family took him to a local witch doctor.

The witch doctor examined him and chanted a few mantras, but the pain remained untouched. Perhaps Aadarsh had been cursed by another more powerful witch doctor. Perhaps he had offended a spirit who was afflicting him. Perhaps this constant agony was simply the result of bad dharma. In any case, there was nothing more the witch doctor felt he could do. 

Aadarsh went home with the crushing news that he could not be healed. 

His stomach pain increased to the point where he could no longer walk and hardly eat. He gradually became bedridden, waiting to die. 

A Cup of Water

A World Challenge community training team entered Aadarsh’s village to conduct a survey and see what the people of the town felt they needed to improve their situation. They got wind of Aadarsh’s circumstances and visited him.

His condition was clearly serious, and the team members were concerned. 

They encouraged him by explaining that his condition was not because of any curses or bad dharma. Then they showed him a simple way to purify his own water and advised him to drink warm water, to not use any spices in his food and—if he was able to—eat as many green vegetables as he could. 

Simple advice, perhaps, but for the first time in years, Aadarsh felt as if there might be hope.

He began carefully preparing and heating a cup of water. 

Healed Inside and Out

Within one week, Aadarsh was already beginning to feel better. He was able to get out of bed and walk.

Immediately, he headed down the road to the nearby church where the leaders were holding a health training based on what they had learned from the World Challenge team. 

The training kept pointing back to a God who cared deeply about his children being well, who had healed many people. Aardarsh decided to attend the Sunday church service. 

“Something seemed very different there,” he explained. “That Sunday, I felt peace enter my heart.” 

Not only was he given peace, but Aardarsh’s body was healed. He was well for the first time in 11 years. 

A Leader of Reform

For the next three months, Aardarsh attended health trainings and carefully paid attention to how God renews people’s lives, spiritually and practically. 

When the World Challenge team returned to the village, they were astonished by Aardarsh’s incredible recovery and the change in his demeaner.

They weren’t the only ones who’d been surprised. 

Aardarsh’s family had seen his healing and the transformation he had gone through, and they had begun attending the church as well. 

The World Challenge members and church team consulted and decided to take the next step. One partner said, “We are proud to say that Aardarsh has been chosen as a team trainer for his village.” 

Now he will be working as part of his local church to help others learn more about God through better health practices and sharing his own incredible story of healing and redemption.

*For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.