I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with it, unless you're looking at the point of view of the priest in the story. Catholic missionaries had established missions in the area, and were attempting to train the natives in their way of thinking and believing. When the natives wished to bury Teofilo without a proper Catholic funeral mass, it made the priest very upset.
However, the natives were following their own culture. In their system of belief, should a deceased member of the tribe enter the next world with holy water, they could send much needed rain. For this reason, the natives wished to have the priest give them holy water for their own, cultural rite. It makes sense when considering their way of life and their unique system of beliefs.