Vihiga’s ’Jesus Christ footprints’ could disappear before you say amen

Locals at the top of Gavere stone in Itenji Village believed to have the footmarks of Jesus.[Mumo Munuve,Standard]

A foot imprint on a rock in Matsigulu village, Vihiga County, has for decades been hailed as that of “Jesus Christ”.

However, exposure to the vagaries of nature has nearly had the foot print obliterated, an occurrence that now worries residents who hold the site in awe in the belief it has religious connotations. Villagers have for many years believed that Jesus could have passed there on his way to Egypt as it has been told in the  book of Matthew.

According to them, the imprints that were once conspicuous is enough evidence that Christ could have passed through Kenya and to be specific, Vihiga County at one point while he was alive. Known locally as Gevera stone or the ‘foot of Jesus’, the  site is located off the Mbale-Gisambai and Mudete-Kivagala roads at Itenji Village.

It bears footprint marks believed to be those of Jesus Christ and imprints of a machete and a padlock. Also on it are marks of numbers 2, 5, 14 and 17 and some wordings in what looks like roman symbols that locals say have a biblical significance as they “were left behind by Jesus.

They believe that given that Egypt was close to Abyssinia now modern Ethiopia, Jesus and his parents might have found themselves in modern Kenya. According to Mama Rasoah Kavai,89, and the owner of the parcel of land on which the stone is located, the discovery symbolises blessings.

Some believe this could be the reason Vihiga is home to many indigenous churches. Kavai said, a man  only identified as Peter, who was a pastor at Pentecostal Assemblies of God church from Kisa in Kakamega County visited Gevera stone in 1965 for solitary moments with God.

“When the preacher came, he told us the numbers are related to prophetic teachings in the Bible’s book of Revelation and that the footprint was holy,” Kavai.

Much narration about the stone is given by Kenya Divine Christian Church Bishop, Philip Mugasia who also holds that stone is miraculous. The 75-year-old bishop said he has witnessed several unexplained events at the stone that makes him believe that the place is holy.

“When Jesus was born, his journey stretched to Africa in Egypt and he moved to some place in Abyssinia. His visit to Kenya might have not been recorded well but the proximity to Ethiopia make us believe he reached here,” said Mugasia.

The vicar says his beliefs and that of other Christians were strengthened during one night in 1969 when they saw people praying and singing at the stone. The men, all white spoke strange language.

“On the same night, we heard commotion and sounds around the stone, everyone in this village woke up. We found so many people singing on this stone in a strange language,” said Mugasia.

The strangers went on with singing and worshiping paying little attention of hundreds of villagers.

“They would walk away at dawn without uttering a single word, but their white robes meant they were not ordinary human beings.”

It was then that the whole village started believing what Pastor Peter of PAG had told them four years earlier. To the villagers these were angels sent by God to manifest the importance of the stone.

“After that incident I started to believe that those were people sent by God and from then every Saturday and Sunday people started praying at the stone,” said Mugasia.

The cleric explained that many people have been visiting the place to witness the mystery and the marvelous and miraculous foot. “We believe that the place is holy and Jesus stepped here.”

Some of the footmarks in Gavere stone in Itenji Village.[Mumo Munuve,Standard]

All the numbers scribbled on the stone are biblical and no one has been able to interpret them. Mugasia believes the padlock imprint symbolises the narrow path which the Bible says Jesus will use when going to free his people from bondage at the end of time.

The place has seen Christian pilgrimage during the Easter holidays who come to pray at the site yearly. People who pray at the site carry some of the water from a spring near the stone because they believe the water is holy.

“In some instances people carry water from the site which they believe solves their spiritual and marital problems and in a way perform miracles on those that have strong faith in it,” said Mugasia.

Apart from the healing miracles they tend to believe the stone has power where some people believed to have read the markings have turned mad.

“Some of those who have managed to discern the writings and the imprints get mad and end up loitering at Mbale and Chavakali trading centres,” claimed Mugasia.

The stone which runs for about 50 meter to River Gevera has also a symbol that looks like human buttocks which according to locals could be a place where the writer who was documenting Jesus journey sat while washing hand at the nearby spring.

“You could see when the writer finished writing on the stones he could go back to the river and sit down somehow without clothes. This is evident by the marks that were left behind,” said Mugasia.

The miraculous stone is said to be mysterious as sometimes it would even hide the markings when a person thought to be unholy turns up and only manifest to those thought to be righteous.

“In old days, some of the visiting tourists could not see anything but people who came without appointment could see all the marks clearly,” explained Mugasia.

The bishop agrees that the stone is a mystery to them. He, however, adds that only believers will understand the importance of the stone and the markings “and only the holy of the holiest can interpret the message.”

 “We as the custodians of this miraculous stone would love to see someone come out and read the wordings on it because God could be communicating to us and we need to know what he is saying,” said Mugasia. 

“We are getting worried because erosion is almost sweeping away the foot imprint, writings and other marks, this could be dangerous because the work of God ought to be persevered ,” said Jane Andamba, a local.

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