+JMJ+ Welcome to part 24 of A Journey. Jonah is on a journey with a certain tentmaker, searching for the body of the false messiah, convinced that it was stolen by some of the dead rabbi’s disciples. They travel north, passing through Nazareth, where they pause for Shabbat. While there they receive some news.
And now the journey continues.
A Journey – Part 24
Sixth and Seventh Day for the Second Time, Friday and Saturday
We traveled as far as we could today before evening caught up with us. There are houses on this road where we could have spent the Sabbath, but I do not intend to show my temporary companion their locations. He seemed to be waiting for me to offer us a place to stay for the evening but I pretended to be busy catching up on some business communications. If he was expecting anything unlawful and exciting, I hope I bored him thoroughly. I know I bored myself. At one point I dozed and when this accursed cart bounced me awake, I am certain he was trying to read a letter that had fallen open and face up on my lap. He looked away when he saw that I was awake but he knows I saw him. I said nothing, though. For now.
When we set out I wondered which way we would follow and, indeed, where the tentmaker was headed. He spoke of the number of disciples and hangers on the rabbi had in many towns and villages, but he had followers from every town and village so that did not tell me much. He seems to think that wherever he had (and still has) the greatest number of followers, those people could possibly be working with the fugitive Council members to hide them and hide the body they have stolen. He is convinced, in any case, that they have stolen it.
I do not know if any of these people still believe in the rabbi or that they have the courage to face the wrath of the Council for trying to deceive them. I would not want to and I am a member of it. If I have not been removed for failure to attend and for not voting to execute a man who may have deserved it. But there is no denying that he was loved by many. I wonder if they still love him so furiously now that he is not here to give them miraculous bread.
I noticed that the tentmaker is also a maker of notes. Everywhere we go, we stop and water the beasts, and the note taker makes notes of bits of conversation that tickle his ears. When he comes back, he pieces them together and searches for patterns. He is hoping that someone will say something that gives away their plot. He is always bragging about his network of spies but maybe they are not quite the spies he wants people to think they are. Or they have gone over to the rabbi and are feeding him lies and half-truths. At this realization I hid a half-smile behind another business letter in which I suddenly became intensely interested.
We are headed to Nazareth. He has pieced together the idea that those who appear the least interested in the worker of miracles, are only disguising their interest, to protect themselves or him or both. I find this rather far-fetched but I do not care what they do in Nazareth. Nothing good has ever come from it, has it? All I want is to free my sister and take her home.
He thinks they are lying because of the way they act when he questions them. Not one for subtlety, he blurts out what he means and they realize right away that they have a potential enemy in their midst. And they were not sympathetic to the rabbi when he himself stood among them. Why anyone would think that these people were hiding him now–it is absurd. He thinks he has frightened them. They think he is mad.
But at last someone offers to share their home with us for Shabbat. Habitual hospitality finally won over their unaccustomed reluctance. And I am relieved to be out of this wagon of woes until we can travel again.
Blessed are You, O Lord, King of the Universe, You have given us the Sabbath and have allowed me respite from this weaver of webs of insanity, at least for a few hours. Let him bend another’s ear for a time. I will take my rest and keep watch through the night, studying Thy Law, O Adonai, studying Thy precepts until dawn.
Some of his spies are still on the job. I heard noise in the middle of the night. Two men fitting the description of the fugitives were spotted in Nazareth a few days ago, but they were passing through. On their way to where? Maybe Capernaum. Wherever they were headed, someone saw a strange box among their baggage. Yes, they carried bags or trunks, it was unclear from the report exactly what they had taken with them. Whatever it was and wherever they were going, they appeared to be prepared for a long trip or they were taking something with them to trade or sell. There is no way to tell unless and until we catch up to them.
First Day, the Third Time, Sunday
The tentmaker could barely force himself to wait to get on with our journey. The very moment it became lawful to travel, we were off again, on the trail of the runaway apostates. For that was what he called them now. In his mind he had already investigated, tried and sentenced them. I reminded him that they had to stop for Shabbat, too, so they are not as far ahead of us as they might be. He brightened at that and I instantly regretted cheering him up because the only thing worse than a sulking tentmaker is a cheery one, and both kinds are annoying to an impossible degree with the added bonus of the cheery one being ridiculously chatty, too.
On one of our many stops later that day–gathering bits and clues for the tentmaker– and nearing evening again, I have observed that we are being followed. If he has noticed, he has not said anything or given any sign that he has noticed it. Very well, then, I will not give any sign, either. Yet.
End of Part 24
Other parts of the story are linked on the Fiction page.
Thank you for visiting and reading. I hope you’ll join me again. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and remember, we are all on the journey to the heavenly city. So don’t be like this stubborn rich young man, but pick up your cross daily and follow Him, so you can become who you were meant to be: a SAINT! May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Image in the cover: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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