Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana Page 27

"With you, Rabbi," said John.

"Yeshua, I beg you," James said softly. "The Lord gave us the Law on Sinai. What do you mean - do you mean you will go now to roam through villages and towns? To cure the sick by the side of the road? To work wonders such as this in a tiny hamlet like Cana?"

"James, I love you," I said. "Believe in me. Heaven and earth were made for you, James. You'll come to understand."

"I fear for you, Brother," he said.

"I fear for myself," I said. I smiled.

"We are with you, Rabbi," said Nathanael. Andrew and James bar Zebedee said the same. My uncle nodded, and let the others come between us with their clamoring, their outstretched arms.

My mother had appeared sometime during all of this and she stood far off, listening perhaps, or simply watching. I did not know. Little Salome, my sister, was there, with sleepy Little Tobiah by the hand.

Beyond them and far to the left, on the farthest margin of the garden away from us, amid a small grove of shining trees, there stood a tiny robed figure with her back to us, rocking from side to side, her veiled head bowed.

Tiny and alone, this dancer, seemingly watching the rising sun.

Little Salome came forward. "Yeshua, we must go home now to Capernaum," she said. "Come with us there."

"Yes, Rabbi, come back to Capernaum," said Peter.

"We'll go with you wherever you go," said John.

I thought for a moment and then I nodded. "Get ready to leave," I said. "And those of you who will not, we must say, for now, our farewells as best we can."

James was brokenhearted. He shook his head. He turned his back. My brothers clustered around him in perplexity and misery.

"Yeshua," said Jason, "do you want me to come with you?" His face was filled with innocent urgency.

"Can you give up all you have, and follow me, Jason?" I asked.

He stared at me, blankly. And then slowly he frowned and looked down. He was hurt and torn.

I looked away again at the small distant figure.

I motioned for them to stay behind me here and I went across the garden towards her, the little dancer who appeared to face the light rising above the wall.

I walked the full length of the house, past the curtained rooms of the women. I walked over the scattered petals where earlier many had danced.

I came up behind the little figure who was swaying with the thump of the distant drums.

"Hannah!" I said.

She started. She turned around. She looked at me, and then her eyes moved in all directions, up to the birds in the tree branches above her, to the doves chortling on the tiled roof. She stared at the house, still so full of light and movement and noise, lovely insistent rhythmic noise.

"Hannah," I said again and I smiled at her. I put my hand to my chest. "Yeshua," I said. I opened my hand and pressed it to my heart. "Yeshua."

I placed my hand gently on her throat.

She struggled, eyes wide, and then she whispered it:

"Yeshua!" She was pale with shock. "Yeshua!" she said hoarsely. Then loudly. "Yeshua." Yeshua, Yeshua, Yeshua.

"Listen to me," I said as I put my hand on her ear and then on my heart - the old gestures. " 'Hear O Israel,' " I said, " 'the Lord Our God is One.' "

She started to say it. I repeated it, this time with the gestures she'd seen us make for her as we prayed it every day. I repeated it once more and then the third time she spoke the words with me.

Hear O Israel. The Lord Our God is One.

I held her in my arms.

And then I turned to join the others.

And we started for the road.

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