- Days, nights, weeks, months: I thought about the same thing: I would go to
the desert monks and demand my brother back, who betrayed his duty to manage
father's house, business and inheritance. That's what I'd say. Duty is duty.
And I would also say: you have also stolen Yeshua of Nazareth from his
family. Hs mother lives without his help. Is that right? Does the Law allow
One day I was ready: I had coins sewn into my clothing, took the strongest
of my servants with me, chose the strongest two donkeys, and was on my way.
An adventure. A crazy plan. Sure. But that's how I was: once decided and
begun, I carried it through.
We rode for many days along the Jordan. Where to now, my servant asked, and
she didn't want to continue.
To Bethany, I said. It's not much farther. When I said that we were near
Yerushalayim is there, the servant said, in the west, Bethany is over there,
why are we riding farther south?
Why? I didn't know.
You go to Bethany, I said, go to my relatives, to Martha, Miryam and
Lazarus, I'll come afterwards.
Where are you going?
I didn't answer. I didn't know. I rode on. Sand and thorns, snake tracks,
fox dung: the desert. Then the dull smell of dead water: the salt-sea. And
then I saw the desert lodgings in the hills: lions' caves rather than human
dwellings. Fortresses, unconquerable, unapproachable. Like a city of the
dead. And my little brother was there. I was sure of it. And Yeshua too? I
wasn't sure of that.
What to do? I stood there, close to the goal and far from the goal. A
Then I saw, yellow in the desert sand, between the salt-sea and the hills,
some nomad tents. I would get information here. I got none.
As soon as I got close, two figures with their faces hidden came out of a
mountain gap. With outstretched arms they motioned me away. But I went
closer until they could hear me, and I cried: you up there, you stole my
brother. Give him back to me! Give him back his life!
No answer. Only the echo. The men stood like stone figures, they were
terrible, custodians of death, guardians of the black threshold. I cried:
robbers of men, you living dead! You hold my brother and my lover prisoners!
From where did the word lover come to me? The echo brought it back to me.
Frank Thomas Smith