Jesus in Engannim and Naim
From the inn on the hill Jesus proceeded to Engannim, which was not far off. He was accompanied by Saturnin, by the son of the bridegroom of Cana’s maternal aunt, and by the son of the widow of Obed of Jerusalem, a youth of about sixteen years. Jesus had some distant relatives in this place. They were Essenians of Anne’s family. They received Jesus very respectfully and as an intimate friend. They dwelt apart at one side of the city, and led a very pure life, many of them being unmarried and living together as in a cloister. They, however, no longer strictly observed the ancient discipline of the Essenians; they dressed like others and frequented the synagogue. They supported in Engannim a kind of hospital that was full of the sick and suffering of all sects, and where the poor were fed at long tables. They received all that presented themselves, supported them, and cared for them. In the dormitories of the sick, they always put the bed of a bad man between two good ones that, by their exhortations, they might try to make him better. Jesus visited this hospital, and healed some of the sick.
Jesus taught the whole day in the synagogue of Engannim. Crowds had come thither from the country around, and because the synagogue could not accommodate them all, they remained in troops outside. When one crowd came out, another went in. Jesus taught here as at other places on this journey, only not so severely since these people were well disposed. It was then as now, the people of the different localities being well or ill-disposed according to the good or bad dispositions of their priests.
Jesus told them that He would cure the sick after the instructions. He taught of the nearness of the Kingdom and of the coming of the Messiah, citing passages from the Scriptures and the Prophets and proving that the time had arrived. He mentioned Elias, his words and his visions, giving the date of the latter, and telling His hearers that the Prophet had raised an altar in a grotto to the honor of the Mother of the future Messiah. He made a calculation of the time which could be no other than the present, warned them that the scepter had been taken from Juda, and recalled to them the journey of the Three Kings. Jesus referred to all these facts in a general way, as if speaking of a third person, making no mention at all of His Mother and Himself. He spoke also of compassion, recommending them to treat the Samaritans kindly, and explained the Parable of the Samaritan, though without mentioning Jericho. He told them of His own experience of the Samaritans, that they were more willing to assist the Jews than the Jews them. He related the circumstance of the Samaritan woman, of her giving Him to drink (a piece of courtesy that a Jew would not so easily have shown a Samaritan), and how well her people in general had received Him. He taught here also of the chastisement in store for Jerusalem and the Publicans, of whom some dwelt in the country around.
While Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, numbers of sick from the city and the whole surrounding district were brought thither. They were laid on litters and cushions under awnings all along the streets by which Jesus was to pass, their friends standing by them. It was the rule that all sick of the same disease should be placed together. It was like a great fair of suffering people.
Jesus came out from the instruction, passed along through the sick, who humbly implored His aid, and while instructing and admonishing cured about forty persons, lame, blind, dumb, gouty, dropsical, fever stricken, etc. I did not see any possessed here. As the multitude was so great, Jesus went upon a little hill that was in the city, and there taught; but the throng at last became such that the people pressed into houses, mounted to the roofs, and even broke down the walls.
Seeing this confusion, Jesus disappeared in the crowd, left the city, and took a steep byway into the mountains where there was a solitary place. His three disciples followed, but after long seeking found Him not till night. He was praying. They asked Him how they, too, should occupy themselves in prayer, and He gave them in few words some petitions of the “Our Father,” for instance: “Hallowed be Thy Name! Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us, and deliver us from evil!” He added: “Now say these words and put them in practice,” and He gave them on this point some admirable instructions. They were very faithful in following His injunction whenever He did not converse with them or when He walked alone.
The disciples always carried with them now some food in pouches, and when other wayfarers passed, even off on the byways, they hurried after them in obedience to the words of Jesus, and shared with them, especially if they were poor, whatever they needed.
Engannim was a Levitical city. It was built on the declivity of a valley that extended toward Jezrael across the claw of a mountain range that ran in an easterly direction. A brook flowed northward through the valley. The inhabitants carried on spinning and the manufacture of cloth for priests’ vestments. They made also tassels, silk fringes, and balls for trimming the borders of these robes, upon which the women sewed. The people here were very good.
Jesus passed Jezrael and Endor, and toward evening arrived at Naim. He went unnoticed to an inn outside the city.
The widow of Naim, the sister of the wife of James the Greater, had been informed by Andrew and Nathanael of Jesus’ near approach, and she was awaiting His arrival. With another widow she now went out to the inn to welcome Him. They cast themselves veiled at His feet. The widow of Naim begged Jesus to accept the offer of the other good widow, who wished to put all she possessed into the treasury of the holy women for the maintenance of the disciples and for the poor, whom she herself also wanted to serve. Jesus graciously accepted her offer, while He instructed and consoled her and her friend. They had brought some provisions for a repast, which along with a sum of money they handed over to the disciples. The latter was sent to the women at Capharnaum for the common treasury.
Jesus took some rest here with the disciples. He had on the preceding day taught in Engannim with indescribable effort and had cured the sick, after which He had journeyed thence to Naim, a distance of about seven hours. The widow, lately introduced to Jesus, told Him of another woman named Mary who likewise desired to give what she possessed for the support of the disciples. But Jesus replied that she should keep it till later when it would be more needed. This woman was an adulteress, and had been, on account of her infidelity, repudiated by her husband, a rich Jew of Damascus. She had heard of Jesus’ mercy to sinners, was very much touched, and had no other desire than to do penance and be restored to grace. She had visited Martha, with whose family she was distantly related, had confessed to her her transgression, and begged her to intercede for her with the Mother of Jesus. She gave over to her also a part of her wealth. Martha, Johanna Chusa, and Veronica, full of compassion for the sinner, interested themselves in her case, and took her at once to Mary’s dwelling at Capharnaum. Mary looked at her gravely and allowed her to stand for a long time at a distance. But the woman supplicated with burning tears and vehement sorrow: “O Mother of the Prophet! Intercede for me with thy Son, that I may find favor with God!” She was possessed by a dumb devil and had to be guarded, for in her paroxysms she could not cry for help and the devil drove her into fire or water. When she came again to herself, she would lie in a corner weeping piteously. Mary sent in behalf of the unhappy creature a messenger to Jesus, who replied that He would come in good time and heal her.
JESUS’ TEACHING MISSION IN THE COUNTRY OF GENESARETH AND ON THE BANKS OF THE JORDAN
The Messengers of the Centurion of Capharnaum
From Naim Jesus, leaving Nazareth on the left, journeyed past Thabor to Cana, where He put up near the synagogue with a Doctor of the Law. The forecourt of the house was soon full of people who had anticipated His coming from Engannim, and were here awaiting Him. He had been teaching the whole morning, when a servant of the Centurion of Capharnaum with several companions mounted on mules arrived. He was in a great hurry and wore an air of anxiety and solicitude. He vainly sought on all sides to press his way through the throng of Jesus, but could not succeed. After several fruitless attempts, he began to cry out lustily: “Venerable Master, let Thy servant approach Thee! I come as the messenger of my lord of Capharnaum. In his name and as the father of his son, I implore Thee to come with me at once, for my son is very sick and nigh unto death.” Jesus appeared not to hear him; but encouraged at seeing that some were directing Jesus’ attention to him, the man again sought to press through the crowd. But not succeeding, he cried out anew: “Come with me at once, for my son is dying!” When he cried so impatiently, Jesus turned His head toward him and said loud enough for the people to hear: “If you see not signs and wonders, you do not believe. I know your case well. You want to boast of a miracle and glory over the Pharisees, though you have the same need of being humbled as they. My mission is not to work miracles in order to further your designs. I stand in no need of your approbation. I shall reserve My miracles until it is My Father’s will that I should perform them, and I shall perform them when My mission calls for it!” And thus Jesus went on for a long time, humbling the man before all the people. He said that that man had been waiting long for Him to cure his son, that he might boast of it before the Pharisees. But miracles, Jesus continued, should not be desired in order to triumph over others, and He exhorted His hearers to believe and be converted.
The man listened to Jesus’ reproaches without being at all disturbed. Not at all diverted from his design, he again tried to approach nearer, crying out: “Of what use is all that, Master? My son is in the agony of death! Come with me at once, he may perhaps be already dead!” Then Jesus said to him: “Go, thy son liveth!” The man asked: “Is that really true?” Jesus answered: “Believe Me, he has in this very hour been cured.” Thereupon the man believed and, no longer importuning Jesus to accompany him, mounted his mule and hastened back to Capharnaum. Jesus remarked that He had yielded this time; at another time He would not be so condescending.
I saw this man not as invested with the royal commission, but as himself the father of the sick boy. He was the chief officer of the Centurion of Capharnaum. The latter had no children, but had long desired to have one. He had, consequently, adopted as his own a son of this his confidential servant and his wife. The boy was now fourteen years old. The man came in quality of messenger, though he was himself the true father and almost indeed the master. I saw the whole affair, all the circumstances were clear to me. It was perhaps on account of them that Jesus permitted the man to importune Him so long. The details I have just given were not publicly known.
The boy had long sighed after Jesus. The sickness was at first slight and the desire for Jesus’ presence arose from the feeling entertained against the Pharisees. But for the last fourteen days, the case becoming aggravated, the boy had constantly said to his physicians: “All these medicines do me no good. Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth, alone can help me!” When the danger had become imminent, messages had been dispatched to Samaria by means of the holy women, while Andrew and Nathanael had been sent to Engannim; and at last the father and steward himself rode to Cana, where he found Jesus. Jesus had delayed to grant his prayer, in order to punish what was evil in his intentions.
It was a day’s journey from Cana to Capharnaum, but the man rode with such speed that he reached home before night. A couple of hours from Capharnaum, some of his servants met him and told him that the boy was cured. They had come after him to tell him that if he had not found Jesus, he should give himself no further trouble, for the boy had been suddenly cured at the seventh hour. Then he repeated to them the words of Jesus. They were filled with astonishment, and hurried home with him. I saw the Centurion Zorobabel and the boy coming to the door to meet him. The boy embraced him. He repeated all that Jesus had said, the servants that accompanied him confirming his words. There was great joy, and I saw a feast made ready. The youth sat between his adopted father and his real father, the mother being nearby. He loved his real father as much as he did the supposed one, and the former exercised great authority in the house.
After Jesus had dismissed the man of Capharnaum, He cured several sick persons, who had been brought into a court of the house. There were some possessed among them, though not of the vicious kind. The possessed were often brought to Jesus’ instructions. At first sight of Him, they fell into frightful raging and threw themselves on the ground, but as soon as He commanded them to be at peace, they became quiet. After some time, however, they seemed no longer able to restrain themselves, and began again to move convulsively. Jesus made them a sign with His hand, and they again recovered themselves. The instruction over, He commanded Satan to go out of them. They lay, as was usual on such occasions, for about two minutes as if unconscious, and then, coming to themselves, thanked Jesus joyfully, not exactly knowing what had happened to them. There are such good possessed, people of whom the demon has taken possession by no fault of their own. I cannot clearly explain it, but I saw on this occasion, as well as upon others, how it happens that a guilty person may, by the mercy and long-sufferance of God be spared, while Satan takes possession of one of his weak, innocent relatives. It is as if the innocent took upon himself a part of the other’s punishment. I cannot make it clear, but it is certain that we are all members of one body. It is as if a healthy member, in consequence of a secret, intimate bond between them, suffers for another that is not sound. Such were the possessed of this place. The wicked are much more terrible and they cooperate with Satan, but the others merely suffer the possession and are meanwhile very pious.
Jesus afterward taught in the synagogue. There were present from Nazareth several Doctors of the Law, and they invited Him to return with them. They said that His native city was ringing with the great miracles He had wrought in Judea, Samaria, and Engannim; that He knew very well the opinion prevalent in Nazareth that whoever had not studied in the school of the Pharisees could not know much; therefore they desired Him to come and teach them better. They thought by these arguments to seduce Jesus. But He replied that He would not yet go to Nazareth, and that when He did, they would not obtain what they were now demanding.
After the instruction in the synagogue, Jesus was present at a great feast in the house of the father of the bride of Cana. The bride and bridegroom with the widowed aunt of the latter were there. Nathanael the bridegroom had joined Jesus as a disciple on His coming to Cana, and had helped to keep order during the instruction and the curing of the sick. The bridegroom and bride dwelt alone. They carried on no housekeeping, for they received their meals from the parents of the latter. Her father limped a little. They were good people. Cana was a clean, beautiful city on a lofty plateau.
Several highways ran through it, and one straight to Capharnaum, about seven hours distant. The road inclined a little before reaching Capharnaum.
After the feast, Jesus returned to His abode and again healed several sick persons who were patiently awaiting Him. He did not always cure in the same way. Sometimes it was by a word of command, sometimes He laid His hands upon the sick, again He bowed Himself over them, again He ordered them to bathe, and sometimes He mixed dust with His saliva and smeared their eyes with it. To some He gave admonitions, to others He declared their sins, and others again He sent away without being cured.
Jesus in Capharnaum
When Jesus, with the disciples who had accompanied Him to Cana, left for Capharnaum, He was followed by Nathanael, whose wife with her aunt and others had already gone on before. The road, about seven hours in length, was tolerably straight. It ran by a little lake like that of Ennon, around which lay country seats and gardens. The magnificently fruitful region of Genesareth began here, and in many places there were watchtowers.
When Jesus approached the environs of Capharnaum, several possessed began to rage outside the gate and to call into the city: “The Prophet is coming! What does He want here? What business has He with us?” But when He reached the city, they ran away. A tent had been erected outside. The Centurion and the father of the boy came out to meet Jesus, the child walking between them. They were followed by the entire family, all the relatives, servants, and slaves. These last were pagans who had been sent to Zorobabel by Herod. It was a real procession, and all cast themselves down before Jesus giving thanks. They washed His feet and offered Him a little luncheon, a mouthful to eat and a glass of wine. Jesus spoke some words of admonition to the boy, laying His hand on his head as he knelt before Him. He now received the name of Jesse, whereas he had before been called Joel. The Centurion’s name was Zorobabel. He earnestly besought Jesus to stay with him while at Capharnaum and to accept a feast in His honor. But Jesus refused, still reproaching him with his desire to see a miracle in order to vex others. He said: “I should not have cured the boy, had not the faith of the messenger been so strong and urgent.” And thereupon Jesus went on His way.
But Zorobabel had a great banquet prepared to which all the servants and laborers of his numerous gardens around the city were called. The miracle had been related to them, and all deeply moved believed in Jesus. During the entertainment the domestics and many of the poor, to whom presents had been made, intoned a song of praise and thanksgiving in the entrance porch.
The news of the miracle soon spread throughout Capharnaum. Zorobabel sent an account of it to the Mother of Jesus and the Apostles. I saw the latter again busy at their fisheries. I saw the news taken also to Peter’s mother-in-law, who was then lying sick.
Jesus went around Capharnaum to His Mother’s dwelling, where about five women together with Peter, Andrew, James, and John were assembled. They went out to meet Him, and there were great rejoicings at His coming and His miracles. He took a meal here, and then went straight back to Capharnaum for the Sabbath. The women remained at home.
A great concourse of people and many sick were gathered at Capharnaum. The possessed ran crying about the streets as Jesus approached. He commanded them to be silent, and passed along through them to the synagogue. After the prayer, a stiff-necked Pharisee by the name of Manasses was called upon, for it was his turn to read the Scriptures aloud. But Jesus told them to give Him the roll, that He would do the reading. They obeyed, and He read from the beginning of the First Book of Moses down to the account of the murmuring of the Children of Israel. He spoke of the ingratitude of their fathers, of the mercy of God toward them, and of the nearness of the Kingdom, warning them to beware of acting as their fathers had done. He explained all the errors and crooked ways of their fathers by a comparison with their own erroneous notions, drawing a parallel between the Promised Land of those far-off times and the Kingdom now so near. Then He read the first chapter of Isaias, which He interpreted as referring to the present. He spoke of crime and its punishment, of their long waiting for a Prophet, and of how they would treat Him now that they had Him. He cited the various animals, all of which knew their master, although they, His hearers, knew Him not. He spoke of the One that longed to help them, picturing to them the woeful appearance He would present in consequence of their outrages upon Him, also of the punishment in store for Jerusalem, and of the small number of the elect when all this would take place. The Lord would, nevertheless, multiply them while the wicked would be destroyed. He called upon them to be converted, saying that even were they all covered with blood, if they cried to God and turned from their evil ways, they would become clean. Again He referred to Manasses who had given so much scandal, who had committed so much iniquity before the Lord; therefore had God permitted him in punishment to be led away captive to Babylon, where he had been converted, had cried to God for pardon, and had received a share in the Promise. Jesus then opened the Scriptures as if by accident at Isaias1, and read the passage: “Behold a virgin shall conceive,” which He applied to Himself and the coming of the Messiah.
He had given the same explanation at Nazareth some time before His baptism, whereupon His hearers had mocked, saying: “We never saw Him eating much butter and honey when with His father, the poor carpenter.”
The Pharisees and many others of Capharnaum were not well satisfied at Jesus’ having spoken to them so severely about ingratitude; they had expected some pleasant, flattering words on the score of the good reception they had extended to Him. The instruction lasted tolerably long and, when Jesus was going out of the synagogue, I heard two of the Pharisees whispering to each other: “They have brought some sick. Let us see whether He will dare to heal them on the Sabbath.” The streets had been lighted with torches, and many of the houses illuminated with lamps. Some, however, were dark; they were the homes of the evil-minded. Wherever Jesus passed, He found sick in front of the houses and lights by them; some had been carried to the door in the arms of their relatives, while near them stood others bearing torches. There was great bustling to and fro in the streets, and shouts of joy were heard on all sides. Many of the possessed cried after Jesus, and He delivered them with a word of command. I saw one of them with a fearful countenance and bristling hair springing toward Him in rage and fury, and crying out: “Thou! What dost Thou want here? What business halt Thou here?” Jesus repulsed him, saying: “Withdraw, Satan!” And I saw the man dashed to the ground as if his neck and every bone in his body were broken. When he rose up, he was quite changed, quite gentle, and he knelt at Jesus’ feet weeping and thanking. Jesus commanded him to be converted. I saw Him curing many as He thus passed along.
After that Jesus went with the disciples to His Mother’s. It was night. On the way Peter spoke of his household affairs: He had neglected many things connected with his fishery, from which he had been so long absent; he must provide for his wife, his children, and his mother-in-law. John replied that he and James had to take care of their parents, and that was more important than the care of a mother-in-law. And so they bandied words freely and jocosely. Jesus observed that the time would soon come when they would give up their present fishing, in order to catch fish of another kind. John was much more childlike and familiar with Jesus than the others. He was so affectionate, so submissive in all things, without solicitude or contradiction. Jesus returned to His Mother’s; the others, to their homes.
Early next day Jesus left His Mother’s, which was about three-quarters of an hour from Capharnaum in the direction of Bethsaida, and went to the first-named city with His disciples. The road was at first somewhat of an ascent, but near Capharnaum it began to decline. Before reaching the gate of the city, the traveler came to a house belonging to Peter, who had allotted it to Jesus and the disciples and placed in it a pious old man as steward. It was about an hour and a half from the lake. All the disciples from Bethsaida and the country around were gathered in Capharnaum, whither also Mary and the holy women had come. Numbers of sick were ranged along the streets by which Jesus was to pass. They had been brought the day before, but had not been cured. Jesus healed a great many on His way to the synagogue in which, during His instruction, He related a parable. When He left the synagogue, He still continued teaching, and several persons threw themselves at His feet begging pardon for their sins. Two of them were adulteresses who had been put away by their husbands, and there were four men, among them the seducers of those women. They burst into tears and wanted to confess their sins before the multitude. But Jesus replied that their sins were already known to Him, that a time would come when the open confession of them would be necessary, but at present it would only scandalize their neighbor and attract upon them persecution. He exhorted them to watch over themselves that they might not relapse into sin, but if they should be so unhappy as to do so, not to despair, but to turn to God and do penance. He forgave them their sins, and when the men asked to which baptism they should go, to that of John’s disciples, or wait for His own, He told them to go to the former.
The Pharisees present wondered very much that Jesus should undertake to forgive sin, and called Him to account for it. But Jesus silenced them by His answer, that it was easier for Him to forgive sins than to heal, for to him that sincerely repents, sin is forgiven, and he will not lightly sin again; but the sick who are cured in body often remain sick in soul, and make use of their body to relapse into sin. Then they asked Him whether the husbands of those women whose sins had been forgiven should take back their once-repudiated wives. Jesus answered that time did not permit Him to discuss that point, but later on He would instruct them upon it. They questioned Him also upon His curing on the Sabbath. Jesus defended Himself with the query: “If one of you had an animal that should fall into a well on the Sabbath, would you not draw it out?”
In the afternoon Jesus retired with all His disciples to the house outside Capharnaum, where the holy women were already assembled. They partook of an entertainment, which the Centurion Zorobabel had provided. He and Salathiel, the father of the boy, reclined at table with Jesus and the disciples, while Jesse, the boy, served. The women sat at a separate table. Jesus taught. They brought the sick to Him, making their way into the house, yes, even crowding with cries for help into the dining hall. He cured many. The meal over, Jesus returned to the synagogue, and I heard Him discoursing, among other things, of Isaias and his Prophecy to King Achaz: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son,” etc. ( 7:14).
When He left the synagogue, He cured numbers on the streets, and that until night had closed. Among them were many women afflicted with a bloody flux. Sad and mournful, they stood at a distance enveloped in their veils, not daring to approach Jesus or the crowd around Him. Jesus knew their suffering, turned toward them, and healed them with a glance. He never touched such sufferers. There was some mystery in the prohibition to that effect which I cannot now express. A fast day began on that evening.
When Jesus returned with His disciples to His Mother’s, the question arose as to whether they should go with Him next morning to the lake, and I heard Peter excusing himself on account of the bad state of his barque.
The people whose sins Jesus had forgiven were clothed in penitential garb and enveloped in large veils. From the last Sabbath but one, the Jews wore black and the whole time was a season of penance commemorative of the destruction of Jerusalem, hence the severity of Jesus’ words when speaking of the chastisement awaiting that city. On leaving Capharnaum, the road ran by a large building surrounded by water. Here the dangerous possessed were shut up at night. As Jesus went by, they raged and cried: “There He goes! What does He want? Is it that He thinks to drive us out?” When Jesus responded: “Be silent, and remain until I come again. Then it will be your time to retire,” they became quiet.
When Jesus left the city, the Pharisees and magistrates held a meeting at which the Centurion Zorobabel was present. They deliberated upon all they had seen, upon what they should do, what line of conduct they should pursue with respect to Jesus. They said: “What commotion, what agitation this Man creates! Peace is no longer found in the land! The people leave their daily avocations and follow His menacing speeches. He is constantly talking of His Father, but is He not from Nazareth? Is He not the Son of a poor carpenter? Whence comes it that He has so great assurance and audacity? Upon what does He rest His titles? He heals on the Sabbath, thus disturbing its peace! He forgives sins! Is His power from On High? Has He some secret arts? How has He become so familiar with the Scriptures, so ready in explaining them? Was He not reared in the school of Nazareth? Perhaps He is connected in some way with foreigners, with a strange nation! He is always speaking of the approaching establishment of a kingdom, of the nearness of the Messiah, of the destruction of Jerusalem. Joseph, His father, was of illustrious birth; but perhaps He is not Joseph’s Son, or He may be the supposititious Child of some other, of some powerful man who wants to get a foothold in our country, and thus become master in Judea. He must have some great protector, some secret resources upon which to count, else He could never be so bold, so audacious, He would never act with such disregard of legitimate authority and established customs, just as if He had a perfect right to do so. He absents Himself for long periods at a time. Where and among whom is He then? Whence has He His knowledge and His skill in working miracles? What must we do about Him?” And so they went on discharging their wrath and interchanging conjectures. The Centurion Zorobabel alone remained calm; he even had some influence in pacifying the rest. He urged them to patience. “Wait,” said he. “If His power is from God, He will certainly triumph; but if not, He will come to naught. So long as He cures our sick and labors to make us better, we have reason to love Him and to thank Him who sent Him.”
Early next day Jesus went with about twenty of His disciples toward the lake, not by the direct road, but off to the south around the height upon which Mary’s house stood toward the west. That elevation, though separated from it by a valley, was only a projection from the foot of a mountain chain running northward. Jesus chose this route as being better suited to teaching. There were many beautiful brooks running down from the height into the lake, and the little river near Capharnaum flowed along in this direction. This part of the country was watered and fertilized by the numerous streams that flowed around Bethsaida. Jesus paused several times with His disciples to rest in those pleasant spots, and often stood still to teach of the tithes. The disciples complained of the great severity with which the tithes were levied at Jerusalem, and asked whether it would not be well to suppress them. Jesus answered that God had commanded the tenth part of all the fruits of the earth to be given to the Temple and its servers, in order to remind men that they had not the propriety, but only the usufruct of them; even of vegetables and green things, the tenth part ought to be given by abstaining from their use. Then the disciples spoke of Samaria, expressing their regret for having perhaps hurried His departure thence. They did not know, they said, that the people of Samaria were so anxious to receive His teaching, so disposed to receive Him well; had it not been for their importunity, He might have remained longer among them. To this Jesus replied that the two days He had spent in Sichar were sufficient, that the Sichemites were hot-blooded and quickly roused, but of all that had been converted, it was likely that only about twenty would remain steadfast. The coming great harvest He would resign to them, the disciples.
Touched by Jesus’ last instructions, the disciples spoke compassionately of the Samaritans, recalling to their praise the history of the man that had fallen among robbers near Jericho. Priest and Levite had passed by, the Samaritan alone had taken him up and poured wine and oil into his wounds. This fact was generally known. It had really happened in the neighborhood of Jericho. From their compassion for the wounded man and their rejoicing over the kind dispositions of the Samaritans, Jesus took occasion to relate to them another parable of the same kind. He began with Adam and Eve, and recounted their Fall in simple words, as given in the Bible. They had, He said, been driven from Paradise, had sought refuge with their children in a desert full of robbers and murderers, and like the poor man of the parable, lay there struck and wounded by sin. Then did the King of Heaven and earth make use of all means in His power to procure help for poor humanity. He had given them His Law, had sent them chosen priests and Prophets with all that was necessary to cure their ills. But suffering humanity had been helped by none of these aids, it had even at times rejected them with contempt. At last the King sent His own Son in the guise of a poor man, to help the fallen race. And then Jesus described His own poverty, no shoes, no covering for the head, no girdle, etc., and yet He pours oil and wine into the poor traveler’s wounds in order to heal them. But they who with full power had been sent to cure the wounds of the sufferer, had not had pity on him; they had seized the King’s Son and put Him to death, killed Him who had poured oil and wine into the sufferer’s wounds. Jesus related this parable to His disciples that, reflecting upon it, they might express their thoughts, and He might clear up any misconceptions they might have concerning it. But they did not understand Him. Noticing that He had described the King’s Son under characteristics that belonged to Himself, they began to entertain all kinds of thoughts and to whisper among themselves: “Who can that Father of His be of whom He is always speaking?” Then Jesus touched upon the solicitude they had expressed on the preceding day for the loss experienced by the neglect of their fisheries, and compared it with the disposition of the King’s Son. He had abandoned all things and, when others in their abundance had left the wounded man to die, He had anointed him with oil and wine. And He went on: “The Father will not abandon the servants of His Son. They shall receive all back with a rich reward when He gathers them around Him in His Kingdom.”
In the midst of these and similar instructions, they reached the lake a little below Bethsaida, where lay the barques of Peter and Zebedee. A part of the shore was entirely fenced in, and up on the bank were little mud cabins for the fishermen’s use. Jesus went down to it with His disciples. On the ships were the heathen slaves, but no Jews were engaged in fishing because of the fast day. Zebedee was in one of the huts on the shore. Jesus told those in the ships to discontinue their fishing and come to land. He was at once obeyed, and then He gave them an instruction.
Jesus afterward proceeded up the lake toward Bethsaida, a half-hour distant. Peter’s license to fish embraced about an hour’s distance along the shore. Between the harbor and Bethsaida was a little bay into which emptied several streams, branches of that which flowed from Capharnaum through the valley, and which received in its course other rivulets and creeks. It formed a great pool outside Capharnaum. Jesus did not go to Bethsaida. He went to the west and then by the north side of the valley to Peter’s house, which stood on the eastern side of that high ground upon whose opposite side was Mary’s dwelling.
Jesus entered with Peter. Mary and the other holy women were already there. The other disciples did not go in. They waited nearby in the garden, or went on ahead to Mary’s. As Peter entered the house with Jesus, he said: “Master, we have had a fast day, but Thou hast fed us.” Peter’s house was very neatly built with forecourt and garden. It was very long, and on the roof, one could promenade and enjoy a beautiful view toward the lake. I saw neither Peter’s step-daughter nor his wife’s sons. They may have been at school. His wife was with the holy women. Peter had no children by her. His mother-in-law was a tall, thin woman, so weak and sickly that, in going around the house, she had to lean against the walls for support.
Jesus held a long conference with the women on the subject of the house they had hired up on the borders of the lake, where He intended often to be. Be warned them against extravagance and indiscretion, though they were to guard likewise against anxiety and solicitude. As for Himself, He said, He needed very little, it was chiefly for the disciples and for the poor they should provide. Leaving Peter’s, He crossed with His disciples to His Mother’s. There He con-versed for some time and then went out alone to pray.
The stream of Capharnaum flowed along by Peter’s house. He could in his little boat, in the middle of which was a seat, sail down to the lake with his fishing tackle.
When the holy women heard from Jesus that He was going to Nazareth for the coming Sabbath, a distance of nine or ten hours, they did not like the idea. They begged Him to remain where He was, or at least to come back soon. Jesus replied that He did not think He would stay long at Nazareth, since the inhabitants would not be very well pleased with Him for not complying with their wishes. He mentioned several points upon which they would reproach Him, and drew His Mother’s attention to them, adding that He would let her know if things turned out as He said.
Jesus in Bethsaida
From Mary’s, Jesus went with the disciples along the north side of the valley to the declivity of the mountain which stretched on to Bethsaida, distant not quite an hour. The holy woman also left Peter’s house and went to that of Andrew at the northern extremity of Bethsaida. It was in good condition, though not so large as Peter’s.
Bethsaida was a little fishing place. Only the central part of the city extended some distance inland; the two extremities stretched around the lake like slender arms. From Peter’s fishery, one could see it lying off toward the north. The inhabitants were made up for the most part of fishermen, blanket weavers, and tentmakers. They were people, simple and untutored, reminding me of our turf cutters. The blankets were made of goats’ and camels’ hair. The long hairs from the camel’s neck and breast fell over the edges and shone so beautifully that they looked like fringe and lace.
The old Centurion Zorobabel had not come to Bethsaida. He was too infirm for so long a walk. He might indeed have gone on horseback, but then he would have missed Jesus’ instructions on the way; besides, he was not yet baptized. Bethsaida was full of people from the surrounding towns and villages, along with strangers from the other side of the lake, from the country of Corozain and Bethsaida-Julias.
Jesus taught in the synagogue, which was not a very large building, He spoke of the nearness of God’s Kingdom, saying in very plain words that He Himself was the Monarch of that Kingdom, and arousing the usual amount of wonder in His disciples and hearers. As on the preceding days, He taught in general terms and cured many sick who had been brought and laid outside the synagogue. Several possessed cried after Him: “Jesus of Nazareth! Prophet, King of the Jews!” He commanded them silence, for the time had not yet come to make Him known.
When Jesus had finished teaching and healing, He went with His disciples to Andrew’s to get something to eat. But He did not go in—He said that He had another kind of hunger. Taking with Him Saturnin and another of the disciples, they went up the shores of the lake about seven minutes’ walk from Andrew’s. There in a lonely hospital were some poor lepers, simpletons, and other miserable, forlorn creatures languishing, quite forgotten by the rest of the world; some of them were entirely nude. No one from Bethsaida had followed Jesus for fear of contracting impurity. The cells of these poor creatures were built around a court. They never left them, their food being given them through an aperture in the door. Jesus commanded the superintendent of the hospital to bring out the miserable patients. The disciples covered all in need with the clothing they had brought with them. Then Jesus instructed and consoled them, going from one to another around the circle, and healing many by the imposition of His sacred hands. He passed some in silence, others He commanded to bathe or fulfill different prescriptions. The cured sank on their knees before Him, giving thanks with abundant tears. It was truly touching. These people were utterly neglected. Jesus took the superintendent back to Andrew’s to dine with Him. As they were leaving the hospital, the relatives of some of the cured presented themselves from Bethsaida bringing them clothes. They took them joyfully first to their homes and next to the synagogue, to give thanks to God.
There was a grand dinner prepared at Andrew’s consisting of fine, large fish. They ate in an open hall, the women at a separate table. Andrew himself served. His wife was very active and industrious, rarely leaving the house. She carried on a kind of trade in net weaving, employing a number of poor girls for the work. The greatest system and order reigned throughout her establishment. Among those so employed were some poor, fallen women, once honorable wives, but afterward repudiated for misconduct. They had no place of refuge, and so the good mistress, pitying their distress, gave them work, instructed them in their duty, and prevailed upon them to implore the mercy of God.
That evening Jesus taught in the synagogue, and then recommenced His journeying with the disciples. He passed many sick, but without curing them, for, as He said, their time had not yet come. After taking leave of His Mother, He returned with all His disciples to the house near Capharnaum that Peter had placed at His service. Jesus conversed there a long time with His disciples, and then left them to go spend the night in prayer on a hill, which tapered to a point and was covered with cypresses.
Capharnaum lay in a half-circle up on a mountain. It had numerous vineyards and terraced gardens. On the top of the mountain grew wheat, thick and stout as rushes. It was a large and pleasant place. It had once been still more extensive, or another city had stood in the vicinity, for not far off I saw all kinds of ruins like tokens of a destructive war.