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Butterflies in the Ravine

Written by Elena Huegel
March 31, 2014

Rev 22:17

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!”

If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!

Many years ago, before the Spaniards arrived in Central Mexico, there were forests and grasslands covering the slopes of the mountains.  The weather was warm and there was plenty of rain.  Then the Spaniards learned from the Zacateco people about the silver in the mountains.  They began to mine the silver, cutting down trees to hold up the ceilings in the mines and to melt the silver.  The weather changed once the trees disappeared and only desert plants and animals survived the cold nights, hot days and frightening lightning storms.

Don Bernardo Castillo was a farmer in the small village of San Antonio del Ciprés, Zacatecas, but his efforts to grow food in the desert were not very successful.    He didn`t know how he or his neighbors were going to be able to feed their families or send their children to school.  Many of the men of the village had to leave their families to go work in the United States where there were large farms that needed hard workers.   Don Bernardo was worried that soon there wouldn`t be any fathers, husbands, sons or brothers in the village. 

Since Don Bernardo had learned at church that he should pray about his needs, every day he walked around the ejido asking God for water.  Once day, as he crossed a ravine, he noticed hundreds of beautiful, tiny butterflies landing on the dirt walls.  “Why are there butterflies here?” he asked himself.   “The dirt must have moisture hidden in it!”  Then he prayed, “Dear Lord, show me how to make this desert bloom like these butterflies that have learned how to find water.”  Don Bernardo was convinced that if a well was dug in that place there would be an abundance of water.  It was very hard to convince others, especially the government officials, that there was water under the Zacatecan desert.  Don Bernardo did not give up.   He went to many meetings, petitioned officials, and talked to his community until the first deep well was drilled.  Today, there are chili peppers, beans, squash, corn and other kinds of vegetables growing where there used to be cactus and thorn bushes.   Many fathers were able to return home and everyone in the community began working together to care for their land.  The desert has bloomed thanks to the butterflies in the ravine.


Zacatecas:  Is the name of a state in central Mexico.  The capital of the state has the same name.  The name Zacatecas is derived from the Zacateco people and has its roots in Nahuatl, one of the important native languages of Mexico. The name means "people of the grasslands."

Don:  in Spanish is title for a respected man.  It is like saying Mr. Bernardo.

Ejido: is an area of communal land in used for agriculture.  The ejido system of farming started when the Aztecs ruled Mexico.

San Antonio del Ciprés:  A village in the state of Zacatecas.  The name translates into English as Saint Anthony of the Cypress  tree.

Song: This is called a “corito” in Spanish.  It is very popular in churches all over Mexico, Central America and South America.  I sang it as a little girl growing up in Mexico, and it is traditional in the Pentecostal Church of Chile, as well.

Yo tengo gozo en mi alma

Yo tengo gozo en mi alma,

Gozo en mi alma

Gozo en mi alma y en mi ser.

Es como ríos de agua viva,

ríos de agua viva

ríos de agua viva en mi ser.


I have joy in my soul,

joy in my soul,

joy in my soul and in my life.

Its like rivers of living water,

rivers of living water,

rivers of living water in my life.

Elena Huegel, a member of Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer, Los Fresnos, Texas, serves the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She is an environmental and Christian education specialist.

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