I asked again if I should get a translator. And she shook her head firmly, "No."
She swallowed hard and we settled into the shade of the building, with the well visible just beyond the fenceline.
Sun glaring, heat radiating from the dry ground, and the musical sound of water splashing, women talking and toddlers laughing.
As we watched, Simret's eyes continued to well up with tears. I pulled her closer and said, "It's ok, tell me when the words come to you."
She started again ...
It was a familiar story, one I had heard bits and pieces of before, but there was more ...
Simret had left a good government job to come out into this arid, desert-like place alone. To care for children, for orphaned and destitute children. No running water at the time. And no electricity.
The government had an abandoned property, with broken and dilapidated buildings that could be refurbished over time. A well was once drilled on the property but it had been abandoned, filled in and vandalized.
In broken English, starting and stopping and searching for the right words she explained ...
"I awoke one night to hear the voice of God.
Telling me to care for His children.
Children in this remote area that needed care, needed help. Beautiful, precious children made in His image, who He loves.
And the local villagers too.
Widows and families living in such poverty with no hope.
Poverty in spirit too, without knowledge or understanding of God."
Her voice hitched in her throat again and tears ran down her face as she gestured to the well.
Water gushed and flowed from the taps.
"He told me," she said. "He told me ... they will come to you for water."
And they have. Trees of Glory has become an oasis, a sanctuary, in this dry desert place.
In this area that is predominantly muslim or animist (those who assign spirits and divinity to natural or inanimate objects like animals or trees or rocks or rivers), the CarePoint's Christian foundation was not always greeted with acceptance or warmth.
Initially there was some hostility, and some families removed their children when they found out Simret's Christian beliefs. Choosing hunger, dirty water and no education rather than have their children exposed to Christian teachings.
But that was early, when the CarePoint was first being established.
Now with so many benefits for the surrounding villages ... clean water, access to medical care, counseling for young mothers, incredibly valuable education for children along with milk, chickens, eggs and produce becoming available in the local markets to supplement their own nutrition ... and Simret's respectful, gentle nature ... the surrounding communities have embraced the CarePoint and have befriended Simret as one of their own.
The women at the well turn and wave to Simret, cross their arms over their shoulders and give a little bow, a bob in her direction. To me it looks like they are sending her a hug. She puts her hands together as if to pray and gestures toward heaven. They grin and nod and raise their own hands to heaven.
Simret gestures toward the little mud and stick structure being built at the center of the CarePoint. A small building with a traditional thatch roof and a mud bench around the perimeter inside. She is building a church because families have asked to be able to come and worship together here.
And then she goes on to finish what she is trying to tell me. Something very personal and profound ...
She continued, "It has been fulfilled. God told me ... "They will come to you for water...but I will give them LIVING WATER"."
Goosebumps rippled on my arms,
my throat closed up
and tears welled up in my eyes and spilled over.
It HAS been fulfilled.
As these families come to the CarePoint for water, Simret is sharing and living and demonstrating the Gospel to them and it is LIVING WATER ...water that doesn't just quench thirst once, but living water that fills and fulfills and flows like a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her,
13 Jesus answered,