Zaruba knelt before the tidal pool, feeling more than seeing the darting fish that eddied just below the surface. The minnows were little more than bait to the wizened fisherman, but the challenge of capturing them fascinated him.
With devilish twists and turns, the silvery minnows evaded even his shadow. But Zaruba was infinitely patient, knowing that sooner or later one would tire and he would have it in a spashing instant.
So focused was Zaruba on awaiting that moment, he scarcely noticed the stranger striding along the shore. Nor did he apprehend the shared glances between Simon and Andrew as they hurried to hang up dripping nets and scurry away.
A sudden splash, and Zaruba was grinning at a wriggling minnow in his calloused hand, gills barely visible between two fingers.
"Too quick for ye again," he chortled, then let the minnow drop back into the water.
Heading back along the beach, Zaruba sensed something wrong -- too little activity for what promised to be a good fishing day!
There was the boat of James and John, bobbing unattended on the swells.
It wasn't long after that when Zaruba began hearing about the prophet. He was a healer, a man of immense wisdom, so the story went.
Zaruba shrugged. He had no time for such things. He had business to attend to.
It was business, in fact, that drew him to Gadarenes. He was to purchase a dozen pigs to be sold to the gentiles. Having traveled all that way, he was greeted with the incredible story that this prophet, this Jesus, had cast demons from a man into the swine and the whole herd had run into the sea and drowned.
Then it was on to Jerusalem for more trading. Nearly broke, he slept in the garden of Gethsemane, only to have his slumber interrupted as soldiers rousted some rabble from the area.
Then Jerusalem was in an uproar over some political battle between the Jews and the Romans. Zaruba skirted the area, hoping to get some trading done while others were distracted.
The profits barely paid for the cost of his travel and food, so Zaruba was downcast as he returned to the Sea of Gallilee.
He squatted by the tidal pool once more, pondering the flashing minnows, settling his mind. For an instant, he wondered why his fisherman friends had not returned.
Something was different, as if a huge storm was passing just outside his view.
Zaruba focused his mind, pausing, waiting for the right instant, then plunged his hand into the pool.
He didn't know it then, but he would never catch another fish.
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