Do we, the church, still heal?
Recently, my Bible study group and I were reading through the Book of Acts to revisit some of the hallmarks of the early church. As I read how the apostles healed the lame, the sick, the paralyzed, I began to wonder – are we, “the church,” still empowered to heal in the name of Jesus?
I don’t know anyone who has healed fever and dysentery by laying their hands on the sick (Acts 28:8). Or anyone who has successfully commanded the lame to walk (Acts 3:6-8). But I do know people, many people, who have healed and been healed by their involvement with Living Waters for the World.
In preparation for the first LWW installation in Cuba, the water team began a conversation with their friends at the ecumenical seminary in Matanzas. They asked, “What causes people to miss work here?” Their Cuban friends answered, “Nothing.” The American friends probed further, “Does anyone have diarrhea or dysentery?” Their Cuban friends responded, “Yes, of course, that’s normal.” Having to go to work while coping with the discomforts of waterborne illnesses was just part of day to day life. Today, the people in this neighborhood of Matanzas have access to pure water.
Leticia Ramos (left) is the pastor of La Playa Principe de Paz Church in Matanzas – the location of the fourth LWW system installed in Cuba. She is with her daughter outside the church.
Volunteers from Transylvania Presbytery introduced us to Diego who lives in Maya Balam, Mexico. He suffered the devastating loss of his youngest son to cholera in the mid-1990s. About ten years later, his community installed a Living Waters for the World water purification system. Today his granddaughter Natalie lives the healthy, full life he wished for his son.
Natalie (left) poses with her grandfather Diego holding cups of clean water.
In Azacualpa, Honduras, I and a team from the Presbytery of Northern Kansas and Collierville Presbyterian Church met a young family. The mother approached us with her three young children. Through our translator she asked if we had any medicine to help her youngest child who was sick with diarrhea. We didn’t have any medicine to offer. But we did have hope for healing. We invited her back in two days when her son could drink from Azacualpa’s first batch of purified water.
This mother held her sick son in her arms as she told us about his stomach ache. We did not have medicine, but we did have the promise of clean water to prevent waterborne illnesses in the future.
The stories of physical healing from drinking clean water go on and on. But, with Living Waters for the World, it’s not just about the water. It’s also about God working through relationships to heal us all.
Hope Anderson is the Yucatan Network Moderator, a water team leader, and Clean Water U instructor from Pennington, New Jersey. She lives in the city where she grew up, just up the road from her childhood home. For a long time, Hope considered herself an unlikely candidate for international mission work. Yet, it was Hope that God called into healing relationship with people living in Mexico. “I cannot help but wonder, how did God know to send me, of all people, to the Yucatan? I am forever changed by my friends there and the ministry of Living Waters for the World.”
Hope Anderson (white blouse and red skirt) hands out a certificate to a young participant in her church’s partner community of Sacalum, Mexico.
Sometimes the healing is physical. Other times it’s spiritual. Sometimes the healing is visible within a lifetime. Other times it shows a generation later. But always, and often, people are healed by clean water and true relationship. Praise be to God who invites us to be both healers and healed through our involvement with Living Waters for the World.