- Hadn't I seen those motions before, this wrapping himself in his cloak, this
wordless leaving? Then I realized: he was the one from the Jordan. Who was
he though, this special one whom you couldn't overlook?
Why didn't I run after him that time either?
I saw him disappear through the reeds and the bushes. Where did he go?
The fishermen had pulled their nets on shore. A fine catch, nets in good
shape despite the storm.
I spoke to one of the fishermen: Who was the man in this boat?
Who got out and walked away. Is he one of you, a fisherman?
He? If you mean Yeshua, he's a rabbi, not a fisherman.
Do you know him?
Why shouldn't I?
And you? Who are you?
You were lucky to have escaped safely.
Luck, you say. Luck? That's not luck, young lady.
Shimon looked up at me. What do you know, he said, you weren't with us out
No, I only saw how you were about to capsize and the storm abated.
Yes, and how it abated. Like a dog lies at its master's feet when the master
orders it to.
What's that supposed to mean?
Why are you asking? Don't you see I have work to do?
I left him alone. He was hiding something. But what?
I asked someone from the second boat: Tell me what happened out there.
What then? We were rescued. Isn't that enough?
But another one said: If the rabbi hadn't been with us we would never have
made it to land. Have you ever seen such a storm or how it abated?
Oh sure, I said, such things happen. They go as they came.
He looked at me angrily. That's what you think? he asked.
I got no more out of him. But it was clear to me: they believed this rabbi
had stopped the storm. Fools, miracle-addicts. What power they attributed to
But why had he, the rabbi, gone out with the fishermen? What did he have to
do with them? He was no fisherman, nor the son of a fisherman. He was from
Nazareth, Shimon had said.
From Nazareth. From Nazareth. And I remembered: the boy! That one! It's him.
It must be him. I wove the threads to a yarn: he had gone to the Essenes and
returned. He came back to life. It is he! And now he was a rabbi and went
out to sea with the fishermen, with the poor. A rabbi, a scholar who cared
about the poor fishermen.
Could he be one of the secret rebels? But what did he have in common with
that penance-preacher? That didn't make sense. Either one or the other.
What was unclear made me angry. What do I care, I thought. What do I care
about this rabbi? The miracle-rabbi of whom the lepers spoke, was this him?
Now that: a miracle worker. A sectarian. One of the hundreds of prophets who
wander around the land. Or even one who thinks he's the Messiah.
No, no, I wanted nothing to do with him. I felt the dagger under my cloak.
It had become warm against my flesh. That was sound, that was a clear
Before going to seek a rebel group, I went home to Magdala and put my house
in order. What I didn't need, I gave away, as the Essenes did, something
that was in the air and affected even me, though I didn't understand it. I
took something with me though, although it seemed very foolish to take just
that: three small alabaster flasks, fused closed so that none of the
valuable fragrance could be lost: ointment for the king. Each of the flasks
was worth a fortune. In any case, I thought, I can sell them some day, which
would mean a lot of money for the rebellion.
Frank Thomas Smith
- I didn't tell anyone about my plan, nor did I take any of the servants with
me. I let two go, richly endowed; two I kept, the most conscientious. Keep
the house in good condition until I return.
So I left, flasks and dagger under my clothing.
I wandered around and no one was surprised. They had become accustomed to
me, as they would to a beggar, leper, wandering preacher or minor prophet.
Everything was possible in our land in our times.
Once a group of wandering men approached me in a narrow pass. The path was
narrow, one could only go through single file. Who would make way? I, still
the Jewish woman, still habit formed, stood aside to let the men pass. It
wasn't proper to look strange men in the face. I adhered to such rules -
But one of them forced me to break the rule: it was a look that gripped me
and wanted reciprocation. What a look. My heartbeat stopped, I saw a flash
of lightning and fell unconscious.
This is the basis for the story of the curing of the possessed one, of the
expulsion of the seven or eight demons.
When I regained consciousness, the sun was down. I found myself under a
cover of branches and leaves beyond the pass. I had been brought there and
put in a safe place. Beside me lay some bread and a small flask of wine. No
one was to be seen. I felt strange. When I stood up I felt as light as a
handful of grass, and I saw that the earth was beautiful. That was it: I
Then I went to sleep. I awoke amazed and felt as though I had been cured of
a long, serious illness.
HE. And once again he had disappeared.
He couldn't have got very far in one night. I deceived myself: I had lain
there for three days and three nights in a deep sleep. But Yeshua told me
that much later. I asked the early workers in the fields and all the
pilgrims on the road if they had seen a group of men. Finally two soldiers
on horseback stopped me. I said boldly: I got lost and can't find my
brothers, have you seen them?
Luckily I said: six.
Probably they thought: six against two, we better let the woman go.
They went that way, your people.
Apparently they said that to have something to say.
I took it as a sign. That way. Your people.
So they are my people.
Henceforth and forever mine.
The riders had pointed to the northeast. The road led again to the sea, and
along the sea to Kefarnachum.
And there I found him, and this time the decision between us was made.
Frank Thomas Smith