The Water Buffalo Substitution


The Baiku Yao used to eat the flesh of the deceased but don’t any longer.

An old Baiku Yao legend explains why. One day, a little boy caught sight of a mother cow in labor. Through the day and into the night, he cared for her and saw how much work and pain the mother endured to give birth. He asked his own mother “Did you suffer as much in giving birth to me?” His mother replied “Every mother on earth suffers that much to give birth to her child.” After hearing this, the little boy resolved to not let anyone eat his mother’s flesh after she dies.

When she finally did die, villagers came looking for her body. The boy refused to give them her flesh and explained that if she suffered that much on earth, no one should eat her body. The villagers still demanded a meal, since the boy also had eaten from all of their relatives before. To satisfy their demand, the boy offered to provide a water buffalo instead. The villagers accepted this substitution, and since then, the Baiku Yao tradition calls for a water buffalo sacrifice every time someone dies.


“We have been sanctified though the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9)


  • Pray that many Baiku Yao will be saved through the single offering of Jesus Christ made once for all.
  • Pray that Baiku Yao hearts will see clearly that Jesus is the better sacrifice for all the peoples of the world.
  • Pray that this redemptive analogy found in Baiku Yao folklore will be an effective means to share the gospel with the Baiku Yao.

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