On The Road
The dusty, rock-strewn path they referred to as a road, wound away to the south and dropped out of sight. The boulders of the cliff on the left could be hiding an army of men or a pack of hunting animals, for all any man could see. Well, the day was already bright with sunlight so that worry could wait a while.
He kept his eyes on the ground before him as he picked his way along the ridge toward that grove of scrub trees. His lips and throat were dry, the dust of the past few miles settled into the shimmering sweat he wore, and an ache burned in his belly, so he meant to have a drink and look about for something to eat. He was traveling light, with nothing actually. He strayed off to the right and climbed down the slope moving through rocky passages and abruptly stepped onto a ledge overlooking a shaded pool. “As King David once said ‘O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise’” Elezar spoke his thoughts aloud.*
He swung off the shelf onto the damp sandy ground at the edge of the pool, put his face in and drank deeply. Fresh and sweet that tasted. He glanced around quickly and then flung himself right into the water. He slid beneath the surface feeling his pores open as the road grime washed free and then with his lungs nearly bursting, he shot up out of the water flinging droplets in a rainbow arc toward the ledge. A scream pierced the air and sent a stab of fright through Elezar’s heart as he whirled to the sound bringing himself into a defensive stance as best he could.
He gasped for breath and his heart pounded wildly as he scanned the edge and found a young boy crouched near the waterline, frozen in place, a vessel lying below his open hand. A smile began to pull at his lips and gave way to a laugh as he felt the release of tension. He laughed until tears spilled down his face and his side hurt so that he had to bend over and catch his breath. The boy rose slowly keeping his eye on Elezar, still chuckling at the vision that had caught the boy off guard.
“Thirsty, boy?” he choked out. “You go ahead and drink and then we’ll talk.”
“We live near Lydda and we’ve heard and seen strange things around here, sir,” the boy said as he leaned into the pool again.
Elezar wiped his face with his garment and settled onto the ground near the boy to dry himself in the sun. They spoke of their family ties and home villages and the difficulties with the Roman soldiers in the land. Akim, as the boy was called, was keeping goats in a nearby field. He told Elezar of seeing a grown close-cousin healed of a twisted leg he’d had since birth, when they were visiting in Arimathea.
“These are exciting times, Akim, the Messiah is in Jerusalem now. His name is Jesus, the Nazarene.” One day near the marketplace, a crowd of people moved toward the outside stall where he was buying a loaf of crusty bread. Mostly men, some in richly colored fine fabrics and others in plain spun cloth, a few women of high station and some street children, all gathered together to see something. They stopped and in the quiet, a man’s voice could be heard from inside the crowd but Elezar couldn’t see him. He heard another man say, “I want to see, Lord.” The man said that he was born blind and Elezar felt pity for him. When the crowd shifted he saw the Teacher touch the man’s eyes and he fell down shouting. It seemed that he was hurt, but he was praising God for his sight. Elezar would never forget the wonder in the man’s face. He followed Jesus everywhere after that and became his disciple.
He spoke to Akim, “The Pharisees came to the lesson at the temple. There were a few of them looking closely at each of us as if they would know us later. Some men worried and slipped away, but Jesus spoke freely and with great emotion. He will tell his good news to everyone who will hear him and we will help spread the word.”
“Would you like to know the way to the kingdom of God?”
*Psalm 51:15 NIV
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