Darash stood on the viewing side of a one-way barrier of separation. A rainbow of colors danced through the mother-of-pearl interior that surrounded him and shimmered in the light shining off the glass-like veil. He was so intent in his study of the subjects on the other side, that he didn’t notice when his mentor approached him and touched his arm.
“Quite intriguing, aren’t they?”
“What? Gavriel. I didn’t realize you had..." Darash stumbled through his thoughts before he answered, "Yes, they are.”
“Have you figured them out yet?”
“I’m not sure,” he answered. “There’s so much I don’t understand about their customs, which seem harsh at times, but there are two in the group that I’m inclined to focus on, much more so than the others. Something about them...”
Gavriel folded his arms and stood in the never-ending play between color and light. “You’ve been observing their behavior for some time now. What have you learned?”
Darash thought for a moment before he pointed, “I’ve been drawn to that pair, over in the east end. They were once joined to a small group who appear to have cast them out because of her condition. Watch when she looks this way. There! Can you see it in her eyes? Pure devotion. She never wavers in her trust.”
“That sounds more like speculation on your part,” Gavriel challenged.
Darash quickly defended his position, “No, it isn’t. Look at her. I can tell by the way the others act that she is ridiculed and mocked, but her countenance never changes. She has a look of quiet confidence and joy, no matter what comes her way, even when her mate seems distant and doesn’t defend her.”
“Rejection isn’t that hard to overcome,” Gavriel countered.
“Maybe not, but the others act offended whenever she comes near, and yet she bears the brunt of their obvious accusations without answering back. In the midst of it all, she maintains her gentle spirit.”
Gavriel seemed impressed. “Your observations about her are keen and insightful,” he said, but as they watched, several members of the hostile group suddenly converged upon her.
Darash’s face paled when he saw that they carried stones. He placed his hands over his head. “What is she doing? She’s putting her life in danger by standing there and not saying anything. Why doesn’t she defend herself? She has every right...”
He turned to his mentor. “Where is her mate? He must know what happened; he can explain. Or, or allow me to go. I can tell them what she’s like...”
Gavriel shook his head. He kept his arms crossed while Darash wrestled with the scene unfolding before them.
When Darash finally spoke, his voice choked with emotion, “She isn’t wavering.” He nudged his mentor, who had turned his head away. “You’re missing it. Look...”
Gavriel turned back to see that her mate had come to her side and had wrapped his arms around her. It was a strong testimony to his belief in her innocence as he prepared to shield her from the custom of stoning for being with child before their marriage. In the wake of his affirmation of love and acceptance, her accusers fell silent. One by one, they placed their stones on the ground and walked away.
Darash pressed his hands against his eyes. “I think I’m beginning to understand why she’s so special, but I want to get closer so I can find out more; I want to be her Guardian.”
Gavriel placed his arm around Darash’s shoulder, “I thought you might have a desire to get involved once you saw how much this couple emulate the heart of our Creator, but they are already being watched over. Her name is Miryam and his is Yusef. I was given the privilege of telling her she would bring forth The One.”
“Miryam,” Darash murmured. He saw her turn sideways, “I know you don’t need me now, but it looks like you will soon.” With Gavriel’s permission, he left the light and vanished through the veil.
Miryam lifted her jar from the water in the spring and stared at the colors of the sunset as they danced on the ripples left behind. She closed her eyes in a moment of thankful prayer. “You have protected me, Adonai. Please watch over and protect my son.” That’s when she felt a gentle touch, as soft as the fluttering of angel wings.
Darash ~ Hebrew: To inquire, to seek out, or long for the Lord
Author’s note: according to the customs of the day, Mary could have been stoned for adultery, unless Joseph had come to her defense and married her. It is a testimony to Mary’s faith, for she knew this when she accepted the Lord’s proposal and carried His Son in her womb, and to Joseph’s faith for believing the angel of the Lord who came to him in a dream.
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