A 73-year-old Christian man from Zimbabwe has reportedly died after isolating himself in the wilderness from his family and friends in an attempt to show his devotion to Jesus Christ by imitating Him by fasting for 40 days and 40 nights without food, water and all nourishment, various media reported.
However, Khulu Reinfirst Manyuka, who left home on July 15 to cut all ties with wordly possessions and preoccupations, lasted only 30 days on his attempt to reenact Christ temptation in the desert.
After about a month, the lifeless body of Manyuka was spotted by a local who wandered into the wilderness who alerted authorities, said Softpedia.com.
"He was a very spiritual man. It's unfortunate he had to die this way," close relative, requesting anonymity was quoted as saying by Nehanda Radio.
Manyuka was described by his family and neighbors as "a very spiritual person who faith could move mountains." Apparently, the man told his family that he wanted to pray and redirect his focus to God. The 40-day fasting was intended to emulate Jesus Christ, which Manyuka believed, would take him closer to God by following His son's footsteps.
"After a month we got the sad news of his death. He was a healthy and religious old man who did not even look his age," said one family member.
Local police said Manyuka is not the first person in the area to die from fasting, with "numerous" similar other cases reported to authorities, said WND. It was learned that many Zimbabweans are practicing fasting and meditation by retreating into the wilderness.
A spokesperson for the Zimbabwean police said, "We have received such reports before, but we cannot stop the public from fasting." But the spokesperson said the police could not prevent people to practice their believe even if it had resulted to people getting ill because of the practice.
WND said perhaps Manyuka and the others before him, were inspired by the story of Jesus who fasted for 40 days in the desert where he was also tempted by Satan to abandon his fasting. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred," the Scripture states in Matthew 4:1-2.
"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:2-3)
The Old Testament also narrated the story of the prophet Ezekiel who survived 40 days without eating, "And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God." (1 Kings 19:7-8)
It is also written in the Old Testament that Moses survived fasting for 40 days twice every time he ascended from Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God.
Moses explained: "When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water." (Deuteronomy 9:9)
Moses went fasting again to ask God for a replacement of the tablets containing the Ten Commandments that he smashed on the ground in anger. "And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger." (Deuteronomy 9:18).