The mother paused from gathering firewood in a forest in southern India when she saw an anthill.
She poured some milk on the anthill, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and began murmuring something. As she spoke, a king cobra slithered out of the anthill and headed directly for her.
The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, with a length up to 19 feet, or 6 meters.
Hissing, the snake climbed her left leg and buried its fangs into her skin.
Only then did the astonished woman cry out for help.
“Mother never expected that,” her daughter, Lakshmi, told me. “To her, the snake was her god. She screamed for help.”
No one heard her except Lakshmi, who remembered that teachers at her Seventh-day Adventist boarding school often prayed to Jesus for help.
“Mommy, you don’t worry,” she said. “Just say, ‘Jesus save me.’”
With the snake still clinging to her leg, the scared mother repeated over and over: “Jesus save me. Jesus save me. Jesus save me.”
The snake slowly slid down her leg and disappeared back in the anthill.
Relieved, the mother tore a strip of cloth off her sari, the traditional dress worn by Indian women, and tied a tourniquet on her leg in an attempt to prevent the venom from spreading. Then the mother and daughter hurried home.
“When we reached home, she asked many questions about God,” Lakshmi said.
Lakshmi spoke about the God who created the universe.
“I told her, ‘It is nice to worship our God, the Creator, and not created things,’” she said.
The girl also shared all the things she had heard about Jesus during morning and evening devotions and Sabbath School at James Memorial Higher Secondary School.
The mother never suffered any ill effects from the snakebite. It was a real miracle.
“Mother soon shed her unhappy life as a widow and started to rely on God fully,” said Lakshmi, now 18 and in the 12th grade. “Every Sabbath, she now gathers other villagers together to attend her Adventist church.”
Andrew McChesney is editor of Mission Quarterly at Adventist Mission (adventistmission.org).
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