Malchius skipped down the road. Sturdy lad as he usually was, free of care. He wasn’t invited, but he did not want to miss the dinner for the world, not that he was hungry. Simon’s house in Bethany must be full tonight. He could already smell Martha’s lamb stew, and the baking of bread. Or was the savory smell that filled the air coming from every household--busily cooking in preparation for the Passover feast in the next six days?
He whipped his switch made of plaited rushes. Malchius remembered that he just ran off with excitement without thanking Papa for taking over in the tending of the sheep so Malchius could go visit that day.
“Your favorite jolly old cousin, Lazarus will be there, I’m sure?” Papa teased.
Just two months ago, cousin Lazarus had been dead. Lazarus never stopped talking about “his Bestfriend who made him alive again.” Jesus, had been the talk of the town and among his relatives. Malchius' curiosity awakened. “Jesus is going to be at the supper. I’m going to see Him there. May I go, Papa?”
Malchius recalled the pat on his shoulder his Papa usually gave him when he’d seen favor in his father’s eyes. Followed by a wave of his father’s hand to bid him off, the lad hurriedly turned his face from his Papa’s
bearded face. “Very well, son. Tell me all about your visit when you come back
tonight.” His Papa’s voice trailed with him in the wind. Malchius’ heart leaped as fast as his feet carried him.
It felt cool under his bare feet. Fragrance of flax blossoms filled the air. Around the bend of the terrain, Malchius sighted the fig tree, which Jesus said to wither. I wonder what Jesus meant by letting the tree
die because it wasn’t giving any fruit? He picked a pebble and shot it out in the wind toward the western ranges.
“Wait up Malchius!” Miriam trotted far behind to catch up. Malchius
forgot that Mama had asked him to take Miriam along. He loved his sister. He
learned to--since the time he and Miriam sat on Jesus' lap, and held His gentle hands. And when Jesus called Malchius by His side, and told the people to be like a little child, to whom the Kingdom of God belonged.
Papa explained to him of what Jesus meant about being like a little child, like him, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Malchius squinted, arched his hand awning his eyes from the western glare above Mount Olivet. Then, he turned his gaze at Miriam.
He realized that Miriam had been smelling and picking flax blossoms here and there by the roadside-- which sloped the walk path towards
Bethany. She picked a handful of barley sheaves. Heads of golden kernels
brushed on her face. It tickled. She cupped the faces of the golden and blue flax blossoms. Malchius reached for his sharpened stone- knife from the deep if his leather scrip, and helped cut the fibrous flax stems.
“They are so pretty. They smell so nice, Malchius. I want to give them to Jesus.”
Clusters of grapes, and sprigs ripening in the vines, hanging in trellises looked tantalizing. Malchius saw the glint on his sister’s eyes when they neared a vineyard. “Okay, I’ll pick a small bunch; you must be hungry, yeh?” Malchius felt the growling in his own stomach.
The leather scrip which hung over his neck had some flat bread leftovers Mama had packed for his morning rounds at the pasture this morning. He shared the morsel of bread, parched corn from roasted wheat with
Two hundred yards to the valley, they spotted Simon’s stone-house. Cousins Lazarus, Martha, and Mary were there. And Jesus and His disciples were
Simon’s special guests.
The gravelled road of Bethany soon winded up at the end of the valley.
“I’ll race you to the house, Miriam!”
“I beat.” Malchius panted.
“Shhh.” Malchius signalled with his finger on his pursed lips.
Malchius inched his way into the open door. Miriam tiptoed behind.
“What a waste of costly ointment Mary poured on the Master.” Judas crooked his palm on his mouth and whispered to disciple John.
Malchius heard John comment, “Mary’s anointing the Master’s head and feet with expensive ointment of spikenard.”
Malchius breathed the fragrant aroma that permeated the house. His eyes caught Jesus’ face.
“Come, Miriam, let’s give your barley and flax to Jesus, and we’ll sit at His feet.”
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