Tuesday, October 6, 2009


The elephants are the largest living land animals. They have a regular requirement of a large amount of water for their survival. The elephant drinks by sucking up water into its large trunk, poking the open end into its mouth and then blowing out to release the water into the mouth as a spray. A big elephant bull may hold up to 10 litres of water in its trunk and may drink even up to about 200 litres per day.

During a summer season, there was a severe drought in a forest. The ponds, rivers and streams became dry. Animals ran frantically in search of water. A bull elephant and his loving partner, a cow elephant were wearily wandering about in search of some water in the scorching summer sun. They came near the sandy bed of a dried up river. The bull elephant dug a deep hole and found a little water. He lovingly invited his partner to drink the water. But the loving cow elephant insisted that he may drink it alone, pretending that she was not very thirsty. They argued for a while and finally decided to drink the water together. They immersed their trunks into the water and pretended to drink by raising their empty trunks to their mouths frequently, but the level of water in the hole did not drop as none of them had really drawn the water into their trunks to drink. Later they realized the strength of their mutual love and embraced each other using their trunks. The animals in this story were displaying true sacrificial love, the greatest form of love.

Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), the renowned evangelist was passing through a forest. He came to a place which was destroyed by a wild forest fire. He could see charred plants, trees and animals everywhere. He saw a burnt bird and touched it with a stick. The charred body of the large bird fell down and then, from within the burnt body of the mother bird, some chicks came out. He could trace the events easily. The mother bird had flown into the raging fire in an attempt to save her chicks, but finding that she was unable to move them away, she covered them completely in an earnest embrace and received the burns on her own body, saving the chicks by sacrificing her own life in the fire. She had obviously voluntarily offered her body to be burnt alive! The evangelist used to quote this incident as an example to explain the virtues of sacrificial love.

Jesus Christ offered his life as a sacred sacrifice to save humanity from the clutches of sin and Satan. His Passion redeemed us and opened the gates of heaven to man. Jesus demonstrated God’s infinite love by suffering public humiliation, agonizing pain and death on the Cross at Calvary to redeem humanity.

"He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly; he never said a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered, like a sheep about to be sheared, he never said a word" {Isaiah 53:7}.

Jesus taught us, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them” {John 15:12, 13}.

St. John reminds us, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” {1 John 3:18}.

St. Paul advises, “Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God” {Ephesians 5: 1, 2}.

By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 162 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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