Water is important and powerful, but why would 16 families gather to have their young babies and children washed clean?
Well, that is exactly what happened on 4 October this year. Over 200 people gathered out in the dust and dry ground beside a spring (gone dry!) to watch this event. They came to celebrate that 85 years ago a massive water event happened at this location. Have you guessed?
Yes, on 1 October 1935, water gravitated over 8 kilometres downhill through 15-centimetre pipes from the Kuprilya Spring northeast to Hermannsburg and started pouring out onto the ground. ‘Kwatja … Kwatja!’ yelled the early-morning milking ladies.
Everyone raced to see the life-saving water. It was true! The water to save the mission was flowing! At last there was good water to use for cooking and tea, and for growing a garden with vegies that stopped various sicknesses, such as scurvy. (Between 1926 and 1929, out of 51 children born, 41 had died.)
Pastor F W Albrecht led the people in prayers of thanksgiving when the water flowed. Now, every year on the first Sunday in October, the people of Hermannsburg gather at Kuprilya Spring for a thanksgiving day.
There are many stories in the Bible about God using the power of water to save his people. Jesus himself told the Samaritan woman at the well that, ‘I am the water of life’. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands his disciples to ‘baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’. That is why 16 families gathered with their little ones at Kuprilya Spring to have them baptised with water in God’s name and to receive all the blessings that God promises.
Oh yes … the spring had been dry for quite some time, but thanks to the NT Government’s Power & Water and a large tanker, many litres of water had filled the spring and brought it to life for the kids to enjoy for the day. Praise God for life-saving water!
Neville Doecke is the Ministry Support Worker for the Western Arrarnta Language Area.