By Jennifer Earl
Published April 23, 2019
Hundreds of people paused to pray underneath a gum tree after it began leaking water on Good Friday — a mysterious occurrence many claimed to be divine intervention.
The "weeping" tree that was dubbed the "fountain of youth" was located in a suburb of Perth, Australia.
At first, many believed the large tree stump was just leaking rainwater it collected after a heavy pour last week. But when the water continued to flow nonstop through Sunday, many questioned whether it was something altogether more miraculous.
Over the course of three days, locals and tourists alike flocked to the scene on McKimmie Road to witness the overflowing tree — some even drinking and bathing in the "holy" water, according to WAtoday.
"I’ve either found the fountain of youth or a burst water main in Palmyra," a WAtoday reporter tweeted, along with a 15-second clip of the dripping water.
Jacqui Bacich, who lives down the block from the gum tree, said she was surprised to see a man strip down to wash off in the tree water.
“What made it exciting yesterday a man decided to take all his clothes off and have a shower," she told 9News. “We’ve had hundreds of people stop here, we’ve even had people try to pray here.”
But after a lengthy investigation, the Water Corporation for Western Australia discovered the true source of the leak on Tuesday: a cracked water pipe.
The roots of the gum tree were squeezing a water pipe located about a foot below the dirt, according to 9News, causing it to crack and fill the hollow tree trunk with water. It's unclear when exactly the pipe burst, but the water didn't stop until a construction crew dug up the roots and replaced the broken pipe.
"It's still bizarre," a local identified as Jason told WAtoday, joking that officials should have turned it into a "full-time venue."
Local officials said they'd continue to monitor the tree to ensure it's stable and there are no other piping issues.