By Mark Ellis
Eliyamma Mathai, the woman in India rescued as a young woman by a man with “nail-scarred hands,” died January 16th of natural causes. She was 101-years- old.
A steadfast follower of Jesus, she eagerly awaited her meeting with the Lord she loved. Until her passing, she read her Bible daily, prayed for others, and glorified Jesus as a living witness.
Eliyamma lived in a forested area of Kerala State following her marriage to Mathai, when she was 13-years-old. At the time, child marriage was common. Mathai died 39 years ago; they leave behind 67 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
When she was young, Eliyamma’s family subsisted in a mud house with no electricity or running water and no local market to buy food.
Her father worked hard to reclaim the forest for their small farm, where they cultivated coffee and spices such as pepper and cardamom. Very often their crops were eaten or destroyed by wild pigs, elephants and other animals.
When Eliyamma was 27-years-old, she went one day to the river to fetch water. They had no wells or pipes to get suitable drinking water to their house, and this was part of a woman’s daily chores.
While she bent over at the water’s edge with her pot, something terrible happened. A wild pig charged out of the underbrush and brutally attacked her. She fought back, and used the vessel as a defensive shield, swinging at the head of the pig.
But as she fought, the animal became even more enraged and fierce, and his sharp teeth ripped at her legs and arms. Eliyamma knew she was in serious jeopardy when a copious supply of blood began to flow from her torn body.
During the attack she cried out for help but there was no one nearby.
Suddenly, however, a man appeared out of nowhere. He drove the pig away from her, then knelt down beside Eliyamma to attend to her wounds. When his hands touched the torn places on her body, she was immediately healed.
Still in shock, Eliyamma’s eyes grew wide with astonishment when she saw the palms of his hands. The hands that healed her were nail-scarred; He carried the markings of crucifixion.
Reverence and awe filled her heart. Eliyamma had only one response when she recognized who attended her. She prostrated herself on the ground and said, “My Lord and my God!”
She was face-down in the soil for a few brief moments, which was damp near the edge of the river, mingled with her blood. When she slowly raised her head, her Rescuer was gone.
After this dramatic incident, Eliyamma had an insatiable hunger to know more about Jesus, and accepted Him as her personal Savior. As a result of her testimony, her entire family believed.
They pray together regularly, and continue to cultivate the land, living boldly for the name of Jesus.
Eliyamma’s village has changed dramatically since her youthful encounter with the risen Christ. Now her town has electricity, good wells, a market place and a church where she can worship her Rescuer and Redeemer.
Until her passing, Eliyamma was the senior-most member of Paul Ciniraj Ministries.
Paul Ciniraj Ministries concentrates on evangelizing India and other developing nations through preaching, teaching, charitable works, and distributing Bibles. The ministry also helps plant underground churches for Christian converts who frequently face persecution from Islam, Hindu, and other religions.