Mahek and I sit on the stone steps of a quiet retreat center on the outskirts of noisy, bustling Kolkata. She explains her background to me–Muslim, not Hindu–and how it affects her decision to follow Jesus. Her co-workers had engaged her in conversations about Jesus, the Son of God over months until she believed in Him. Her brown eyes light up, and she tells me, “I am loved by Jesus. He chose me. I am His.” Her ardent enthusiasm draws me in.
At seventeen, I had heard the gospel of Jesus a few times, and having been raised by church-going parents, I knew bible stories. Still, when Julie, another seventeen-year-old, asked me if I wanted to pray to Jesus, I felt bewildered. How? I wasn’t sure that I knew what to say or how to do it right; but, over the next few weeks, I knew that I wanted to. Eventually, my pastor led me in a prayer. A spiritual door opened somewhere inside of me. Jesus told a Samaritan woman that the living water He could give her would become a thirst-quenching spring inside of her, welling up to eternal life. That Sunday, I felt the bubbling spring pouring out, satisfying my thirst.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him” (John 3:16 Phillips).