Have you ever felt forgotten, left out? Maybe somebody forgot your birthday or you were the last person picked for a team. Loja is often referred to as the “Forgotten Province” of Ecuador. According to Operation World, only 0.1% of the people there know Jesus as their Savior. While the church in some areas of Ecuador is growing and maturing, the church in Loja is still struggling.
One small town in the Loja province – Vilcabamba – has received a lot of attention, because it is common for people there to live over 100 years. It is often called the Valley of Longevity. There are a number of theories to explain why people live so long in Vilcabamba. Some attribute it to diet & lifestyle. Others say the roots, herbs and fruit of the area offer some of the strongest anti-oxidant protection in the world. In his book, “The Secret to a Youthful Long Life”, Dr. Morton Walker proposed that the mineral rich water of the area was the secret to the long life and health the people of Vilcabamba enjoy. If you tell an Ecuadorian you went to Loja, the response will almost always be, “Did you visit Vilcabamba and drink the water?” There is even a company that bottles and sells water from there.
It is so ironic that the province of Loja is well known for the water of Vilcabamba, yet only 0.1% of the population understands Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman, found in John 4:13-14, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
So the next time you enjoy a bottle of water, please pray:
– for the people of Loja, that God would put within them a thirst for the living water that only He can give.
– for us, as we prepare to equip leaders in Loja to share the living water with the people of the “Forgotten Province.”
Thanking God for the living water that wells up to eternal life,