Ruth hurries along the street, her mind on her appointments for the day. She is heading to the market where she will buy the flour to make bread for her family; she must prepare the laundry and bake those cakes for the sick neighbour. But she is tired of this life, the constant demands of the family and the neighbours. If only she could rest for a day, have a chance to do something for herself for a change.
She hears the cry as she hurries along the highest point of the city. A brightly dressed woman sits at the door of her house. She is energetic and loud and Ruth is intrigued.
“Come, come,” the woman cries. “Come in here for waters that are sweet. Come to me for delicious food. Come and take your rest.”
The offer is irresistible. Ruth joins the throngs who flock to her house. Perhaps I will just take a little time to rest, she thinks, perhaps there will even be enough food that I can buy some to take home, which will save time later.
She relaxes and eats. She doesn’t know the water is stolen and the food is contaminated. My husband won’t know I had a little diversion, she decides. She is jostled as she reaches for more of the delicious food. Far better than my baking, why can’t I cook like this? She feels herself sinking into a deep sleep.
She rouses suddenly. What alarmed her? The crowd has disappeared, the loud woman is no where to be seen. With difficulty she rises. I must go home, she thinks, but where is home? Everything is hazy. What has happened?
She sees a narrow passage and starts to go along it looking for a way out. There are no doors and she goes on and on, how long will this passage continue, will there ever be a way out?
At the end there is a wide door, slightly ajar. She peeps inside and what she sees horrifies her. Row upon untidy row of human bodies lie piled high as people have come this way and tipped over the edge. She notes a curious fact - all the bodies have their hands over their faces as if horrified at the bitter fate they suddenly see as they fall into the pit.
She tries to pull back but can’t. A voice whispers “You have eaten in secret and drunk the stolen waters; it is too late, too late for you now.”
“No, no,” she cries in anguish clinging desperately to the side of the doorway to stop herself from falling.
Another door appears beside her. She heaves it open and tumbles through. She is falling, falling through a long chute and lands plop in a garden. When she looks around and gets her bearings she realises she is at the bottom of the hill and not far from her home. She buries her face in her hands, aghast at the fate she so narrowly escaped.
With relief she rises. She never got to the market and has nothing, but she is safe.
Based on Proverbs 9:13-18
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