“And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
I wonder if the two evangelists from North Ireland ever learned of the full effects of the meeting they held in Inverary, Scotland, in November of 1859. For in their audience sat a wild young man of eighteen who came to break up the meeting but found himself compelled to accept their offer of Living Water. Because of hearing the call to come, this young man, James Chalmers, was saved a few days later.
Born in a small fishing village in Scotland in 1841, young James loved adventure and welcomed danger. In this we see God preparing Chalmers for the pioneer missionary work awaiting him. After his salvation, he knew he must tell others of the Living Water that had quenched his thirst. James and his wife, Jane, set sail for the South Sea Island of Rarotonga on January 4, 1866. The Chalmers worked there for ten years, but James’ heart was set on preaching Christ in unreached regions. So, in September of 1877, James reached his permanent field of service—Papua New Guinea.
His work was slow, but not unfruitful. Many natives, after hearing the preaching of the Gospel, laid aside their pagan beliefs and the gory rites of cannibalism to drink of the Living Water that Jesus gave. However, danger was predominant in this savage land. On one occasion, while traveling with a native teacher, Chalmers was followed all day by two bands of cannibals. Chalmers asked the teacher what they were saying. “They are saying they intend to kill us. Let us kneel and pray!”
“No, no!” James answered. “Let us walk and pray.” One cannibal followed directly behind James, his club ready to fall, but God protected his missionary, and the native never struck.
Chalmers served our Lord faithfully until he was killed and eaten on April 8, 1901, while working to quench the thirst of the cannibals he loved. Thousands of souls today are still thirsting. Let us follow the footsteps of James Chalmers, and give our all to take the Water of Life to the uttermost parts of the earth!
NOTE: Chalmers was born in 1841, and died in 1901. He served on the field from 1886 until 1901.