I’m a proud Noongar woman. I belong to this country. And I know how to open the gnamma hole to get water. I know what to sing to the spirits. I shout loudly to tell them that I’m coming. “Kaya! Ngany nidja!” I call, “Hello! I am here! Woolah! Ngany nidja!” I’m about to throw sand down the gnamma hole to purify the water, when this wadulah man appears.
He’s a wadulah and he’s a man. He thinks he knows everything and he thinks he owns our country.
But he waits, back where I called the spirits, and says to me, respectful-like: ‘Can you get me some water, Aunty?’
I’m a bit surprised. I’ve never heard a wadulah ask before. For anything. If they know where the gnamma hole is they rip the top off and help themselves. I’m a bit suspicious too. ‘What wadulah asks a Noongar woman to get him a drink?’ I ask.
‘If you knew who was asking you,’ he says, ‘you would ask him for living water.’
‘Where would you get living water?’ I ask him, ‘You got no gnamma hole and you got no spirits here. Our ancestors told us how the gnamma hole was made, and how the Wagul passed through the country. You’re not greater than the ancestors, are you?’
He said, ‘When you drink your water you get thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give will never get thirsty again. The water I give will be a water-hole gushing up to eternal life.’
I didn’t know whether to laugh or run away from this wadulah. ‘You’d better give me some of your water,’ I says, ‘so I don’t have to come out to the gnamma hole to get it no more.’
So he said to me, ‘Go and get your husband and come back here.’
‘Ain’t got no husband.’
He says, ‘Too right you’ve got no husband. You’ve had five husbands. But the man you’re living with now is not your Law husband.’
I swallowed. ‘Uncle, you must be a prophet. Our ancestors called on the spirits on this mountain and you wadulahs say people should worship in church.’
He replied, ‘Believe me, Aunty, time is coming when you will worship the Father not on this hill nor in church. You worship spirits you do not know. We worship God because he brings salvation. But time is coming when true worshippers will worship the Father in a real true spirit. The Father is looking out for people to be his true worshippers. God is spirit.’
I says, ‘The Mission told us Christ will come and when he comes, he will tell us everything.’ Then he turns to me and puts it to me: ‘I, this one talking to you, I am he. ‘
Just then, his followers came back. They looked shocked to see him talking to me, but they didn’t say to me, ‘What are you after?’ or to him ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ I dropped my water-can and ran down into the camp shouting to everyone, ‘I’ve met someone who’s told me everything I’ve ever done. Could he be Christ? Whoever he is, he’s made me proud of being me!’