Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: SCUTTLEBUTT (rumor or gossip)( 10/03/19)
| TITLE: Did You Hear? |
By Marlene Custer
| ~ 2nd Place |
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“My goodness, friend, you look like you are on a mission,” Mara exclaimed.
“Oh, Mara, I am. I am.” Nomi’s troubled eyes searched Mara’s face. “Have you seen Avia? I’m hearing rumors that she is chasing around the countryside, following that teacher who is stirring things up all over Galilee.”
Mara’s eyes grew big and her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, my! No, I haven’t seen her lately. What have you heard?”
“Not much.” Nomi leaned in closer to Mara. “Her family is pretty tight-lipped. But one of the young children slipped and mentioned the strange Teacher. I came here to see if she was selling honey today.”
A young woman stepped over to Nomi and Mara. “I couldn’t help but hear you mention the traveling Teacher. He has quite a following. Why I heard,” she leaned in closer as she continued, “that Mary from Magdala is among His followers. That tells you something about the kind of riff-raff he is attracting.”
Nomi’s chest tightened as Mara nodded her head. “It is rumored that she is quite deranged.”
“Not a pretty sight I’m sure. I am so worried.” Nomi’s furrowed brow mirrored her distress.
Returning home Nomi took the route past Avia’s home. A gasp escaped her lips and her eyes widened to see Avia putting a few pieces of laundry out to dry. “I’ve been so worried about you.” Nomi ran to embrace her friend.
Avia chuckled as she shook a tunic. “No need to worry about me, my friend. I’m doing fine.”
“You know little about this Teacher, yet you are following him all over Galilee. And according to some in the market place, many of his followers are of questionable character.” Nomi wrung her hands.
“A bunch of gossips, they are,” countered Avia. “They talk without knowing anything about what they say. Come with me, Nomi. I want you to meet Him, too,” Avia pleaded.
“Your business must be suffering with you away so much. I’d like to know where this teacher is getting His financial backing.” Nomi stood back with arms crossed.
“No need to worry about my business. My brother, Benjamin, is selling the last jars of honey. The new harvest is a few weeks away.” Then with a twinkle in her eye and a slight smile Avia added, “The Teacher has His supporters.”
“He is coming near here the first of next week. Please come with me.”
* * * * * *
Nomi hung back somewhat as Avia worked her way through the large crowd gathering by the Sea of Galilee. “Oh, there He is! Hurry, Nomi.”
Jesus looked over and caught Avia’s eye. He nodded, then turning towards Nomi, He smiled tenderly and spoke.
Nomi’s heart thundered in her chest. Did Avia tell Him she was coming? “He just spoke my name. How did He know my name?” She mused.
Nomi quickly laid her mat out on the ground. Jesus stepped into one of the nearby boats and pushed out a little ways. With her eyes riveted on Jesus Nomi’s skepticism turned to intense interest. He was easy to listen to. He spoke of farmers, lamps, mustard seeds—things that were familiar. Her heart yearned to know more.
Stepping back on shore, Jesus was quickly thronged by those seeking healing. Nomi watched quietly. As she took in the scene she noticed an attractive, vivacious woman stop to talk with Avia. Their animated conversation indicated they were friends.
“She looks well-to-do. I wonder who she is,” Nomi pondered.
Nomi turned when Avia touched her arm. “Nomi, this is my friend, Mary. She is from Magdala. She has quite a story.”
Nomi’s eyes widened as her hand clutched her throat. Then she stammered, “I...I would love to hear it!”
This story is based on Luke 8:1-3 (NIV) “...Jesus traveled about...The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;...and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
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