Jesus Goes to Africa
Jesus stood in the middle of a small African village with his hands raised. The villagers cheered and bowed to him — some in prayer, others in sheer astonishment.
Although it cost a nice chunk of change, the Chief figured Jesus would be worthwhile entertainment. They were celebrating squashing a recent attack from a rebel militia, and they wanted a good night of fun to go along with the victory.
Jesus was worth the price. “For my final miracle,” he began, “I will turn the water in this lake into wine. Behold!”
POOF. In less than an instant, the water was now wine — a drink most of the villagers had rarely seen, let alone tasted. They danced and cheered, and some ran to the banks of the lake and cupped the wine in their hands, bringing it to their thirsty mouths.
“It tastes like heaven!” one villager exclaimed.
Jesus quipped, “Even better: it’s Veneto.”
The good times rolled on for hours, but then the Chief of the village approached Jesus. “Thank you so much for your kind performance, Mr. Christ.”
Jesus shrugged. “Well it’s a good thing to be good every once in a while. And I know the kids love it.”
“Yes, yes they do.” The Chief paused. He took a breath and looked past Jesus to see his people, who were all drinking wine and laughing over the good times. “It’s just… I must ask of you a favor, sir.”
“I’d be glad to help in any way I can.” Jesus smiled.
“I know, and that’s why you’re such a great man.” The Chief made sure no one else was listening. He leaned in and asked, “Would it be too much of a hassle to… turn the wine back into water?”
“Huh? Why would you want that?”
The Chief explained, “The lake was our only source of water. We’ll die of thirst if we don’t get the water back.”
“Oh…” Jesus sighed. “Chief… It doesn’t work like that.”
“I can’t just turn it back. It’s wine now. Forever. Usually that’s people’s favorite miracle. That, and the magic ping pong ball trick.”
“The what?” The Chief was perplexed.
“It doesn’t matter.” Jesus waved it off. “It’s for an… adult crowd. Maybe another time.”
“But you don’t get it.” The Chief shook his head. “If you don’t give us our water back, we’re all going to die. Or we’ll have to relocate.”
Jesus put a hand on the Chief’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, brother. I don’t make the rules. It’s water into wine. That’s how it’s always been, and that’s how it’ll always be.”
The Chief’s heart sank. “So let me get this straight… You can change water — literally the most precious resource in the world — into an alcoholic grape drink? But you can’t just change it back?”
“Well when you say it like that, it sounds awful.” Jesus thought about it. “It’s usually a big hit.”
“You fucking killed us!”
“Whoa, easy, Chief…” Jesus reached into his pocket. “Here, I’ll give you your deposit back.” He pulled out a wad of cash and handed it to the Chief.
The Chief swatted Jesus’ hand and the money. “I don’t want the deposit back. I want our water. Give us our water!”
Jesus sighed. He checked his watch. “Listen, I’ve gotta catch a flight to Cairo in an hour, and I haven’t even packed, so…”
“Just go! Get the fuck out of my village! I never want to see your face here again! Get out!” The Chief was red in the face. He shoved Jesus.
Jesus stepped back. “Okay, okay. I’m sorry… I’ll get my things and I’ll be on my way.”
The Chief shook his head. “Now we have to relocate. The Elders won’t be able to make the trip. We should’ve booked Carrot Top. Or Seinfeld. Fuck you! You know how many lives will be lost because of you?”
Jesus shrugged. “I said I’m sorry… Do you want bread? Or fish? I can get you a bunch of that.”
“We have no bread. And every fish we had is probably dead now!”
“Why do you say that?”
The Chief screamed, “BECAUSE YOU FUCKING TURNED THE LAKE INTO WINE! We’ll starve and die of thirst because of you!”
Jesus just raised his eyebrows at the thought of his mistake. “Yikes…”
“Just get out!” the Chief bellowed.
Jesus packed up his things and left the village. As he prepared to hail a cab, he noticed a bleeding man on the side of the road. “Oh dear…” Jesus said to himself. He crouched down next to the man and asked, “Who are you, my child?”
The man responded through short breaths, “I… am… a soldier.”
Jesus felt terrible. He was charging the people of the world to see his miracles, and he was supposed to be this messiah everyone looked up to. Now, here was this soldier — a real hero with a real story and real problems. Jesus did not feel like a hero as he looked into the dying man’s eyes.
Jesus took the man by the hand. “Son… Close your eyes and pray…”
The soldier did as he was instructed. Miraculously, his wounds slowly healed. He smiled, “Thank you, sir. You… You’re amazing.”
“No, soldier,” Jesus responded. “You’re the amazing one.”
Jesus helped the man stand to his feet and watched as he walked away. Maybe Jesus couldn’t help the villagers he’d doomed, but at least he could give life to a man whose lease had almost run out. He felt accomplished and boarded his plane to Cairo with a newfound sense of pride and purpose.
As Jesus slept soundly in first class, the soldier he saved was rallying more rebel troops, as they plotted to storm the village and slaughter all of its inhabitants.