From his boat in the deep end of the lake, Ravi watched the small group gather on the beach. He snorted in disgust seeing that they were Dalits, the lowest of the low. Ravi pulled up his net hand over hand, more interested in those entering the water. There were no fish in the net but Ravi didn’t care. The people stood waist deep. One of the men spoke to the other men, women, and children. He took one and held his head under the water. As Ravi had suspected, they were Christians performing baptism. Ravi hated them for their blasphemy.
For the next three weeks on the same day a group came to the lake to perform the same ritual. Ravi watched each time from the deep end and made a plan. He spoke to his brother, father, and two friends telling them what he had witnessed. They all agreed, these people showed disrespect for the gods of the Hindu people and should be punished.
The following week Ravi took his accustomed place. A group came and entered the water. Ravi stood, shouted, gestured, and his brother, father, and friends rushed from the bushes. Machetes in hand they waded into the lake toward the assembled people. Ravi rowed furiously and jumped into the fray as blades flashed in the harsh sunlight. Blood flowed. Limbs floated. Water turned a crimson stain. The attackers taunted and laughed. The victims screamed and cried for help.
Ravi’s helpers fled, leaving the water littered with mutilated flesh. For some reason Ravi pulled his boat to the shore and remained there for several minutes. One of the survivors, an arm missing, his blood spurting, a terrible gash in his neck, did his best to drag bodies to the beach. Somehow he wrapped his bloody stump and kept going. Ravi walked over to the man and stood over him as he panted between rescue trips into the water. He searched Ravi’s hate filled face. Ravi spit on him and walked away. A faint voice followed him. He turned. “What?” He couldn’t believe it. The man repeated, “Jesus loves you. I forgive you.”
Some months later Ravi’s son became ill. His wife moaned and flogged herself as the doctor pronounced a death sentence. The boy had been so healthy, the love of his life. What would he do if his son died? He cradled his son’s pale head in his hand and sobbed.
In despair he entered the bathroom with nothing to do but shower and grieve. He called out to Dhanvantari, the god of healing, “Where are you? Why will you not heal my only son?”
A light appeared and a voice spoke to his heart, “I gave My only Son to this world that all might live. Do what the next man says who comes to your door.” Peace came over him.
The next day his wife spotted a beggar walking up the path toward the house, a few scraps of firewood under his arm. She commanded Ravi, “Send that thief away.”
At the man’s knock, Ravi opened the door. He recognized the man. Wood was tucked under the only arm he had. A massive scar ran down his neck. He was a Dalit.
Ravi remembered the voice he’d heard and his conflicting emotions. The man before him said, “God wants you to know: trust in Jesus. He will heal your son.” The man placed the firewood by the door, turned, and walked away.
The world spun. Ravi stumbled and fell to the ground. “Oh God! Are You real, Jesus? I believe, yes, I believe!” He lost consciousness.
His next moment of awareness came with his wife shaking him. “He’s healed! Our son. Dhanvantari healed him.”
Ravi knew in his heart the truth. “No, not Dhanvantari.”
“What do you mean? Of course it was.”
Their boy, perfectly well, burst through the door. “Can I play, Papa?”
Ravi nodded and their son ran off to find his friends. He took his wife’s hand in his and repeated, “No, not a Hindu god.”
She looked at him, questioning, uncertain.
“It was Jesus, God’s Son, who has healed him. And I am now His follower.”
The next week Ravi wasn’t in a boat in the deep end of the lake scheming destruction. He was among those being baptized.
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