Jesus Visits the Mines Near Chytrus
From Mallep, Jesus, accompanied by the disciples, the disciple recently arrived from Naim and the sons of Cyrinus just come from Salamis (in all about twelve), went to a village of miners near Chytrus. He took a roundabout road to it of seven hours. On the way He paused among the different bands of laborers and spoke of the path of a good life. Jesus had by the family of Barnabas and several people of Chytrus been invited to this mining village, because the Jewish miners of the place were celebrating a feast at which they received from their employers various presents besides their share of the harvest. Jesus took a circuitous route to the village, that He might be able to speak to His disciples without interruption and also that He might not arrive too early. During the journey, He permitted the disciple from Naim to deliver the messages and relate the news with which he had been charged; for although Jesus knew all Himself, He was careful not to let it appear, lest such knowledge might be a source of annoyance or anxiety to those around Him.
The disciple had left Jerusalem on the eve of Pentecost just after the money offering in the Temple, and the execution of Pilate’s plot. He had gone straight to Naim, thence through Nazareth to Ptolomais, and from the latter place to Cyprus. He told Jesus that His Mother and the other holy women, together with John and some of the disciples, had quietly celebrated the feast of Pentecost at Nazareth; that His Mother and friends sent greetings and entreated Him to stay some time in Cyprus, until minds had grown calm in His regard. The Pharisees, he continued, were already reporting that He had run away. Herod also wanted to summon Him to Machaerus under pretext of conferring with Him upon the subject of the prisoners freed at Thirza, but really to make Him prisoner as he had done John.
The disciple told likewise of Pilate’s plot on the eve of Pentecost when the Jews brought their offerings to the Temple. Two friends of Jesus, relatives of Zachary and servers in the Temple, who happened to get mixed up in the tumult, lost their lives. Jesus already knew of the circumstance, and it made Him very sad. The news renewed His grief, as well as that of His disciples. Pilate on the preceding evening left the city, and with some of his troops proceeded westward of the route to Joppa, where he owned a castle. He had demanded the contributions offered to the Temple in honor of the feast, in order to build a very long aqueduct. On all the pillars at the entrances to the Temple he had caused to be placed metal tablets on which were the head of the Emperor and, below, an inscription demanding the tax. The people were roused to indignation at the sight of these pictures, and the Herodians by means of their emissaries stirred up a band of Galileans belonging to the party of Judas the Gaulonite, who had been killed in the last revolt. Herod, who was at Jerusalem in secret, knew all that was transpiring. That evening the mob became perfectly infuriated. They tore down the tables, broke them in pieces, dishonored the portraits, and cast the fragments over the forum in front of the praetorium, crying: “Here is our offering money!” They then dispersed without anyone’s especially resenting the act. Next morning, however, when about to leave the Temple, they found the entrances beset by guards demanding the tax imposed by Pilate. When the Jews resisted and tried to force their way out, the disguised soldiers pressed out along with them and stabbed them with short swords. At that moment the alarm became general, and the two Temple servers running to the scene of action lost their lives. The Jews made a brave resistance, and drove the soldiers back into the citadel of Antonia.
On the way Jesus spoke long to His disciples about the inhabitants of Mallep, their hankering after temporal goods, and how distasteful to them was the suggestion to go to Palestine. He referred to the pagan philosophers who were accompanying Him, and told the disciples how they should behave toward them in Palestine when they found them actually in their midst. Jesus did this because they did not appear to accord rightly with the philosophers in the party, and were still somewhat scandalized on their account.
Toward evening they arrived at the mining village, one half hour from Chytrus. It was in the neighborhood of the mines built around a high, rocky ridge, into which the rear of many dwellings ran. Upon this ridge there were gardens and a place suited for instruction, surrounded by shady trees. Steps led up the ridge, the top of which overlooked the village. Jesus on His arrival repaired to a sort of inn where dwelt the overseer who superintended the miners, supplied them with food, and paid them their wages. The people received Jesus with manifestations of joy. All the entrances to the place and the house of the overseer were, on account of the feast, adorned with green arches and garlands of flowers. They led Jesus and His disciples into the house, washed their feet, and presented refreshments to the Lord, who then went with them to the place for teaching upon the rock. Jesus seated Himself, and the crowd reclined around Him. He spoke of the happiness attendant upon poverty and labor, and told them how much happier they were than the opulent Jews of Salamis, that they had fewer temptations to offend God, before whom the virtuous alone are rich. He said also that He had come in order to prove that He did not despise them, and that He loved them. He taught until night in parables on the
Provisions of all kinds, pieces of stuff for clothing, food and grain were conveyed hither from Chytrus; and on the next day came the father and brother of Barnabas, several distinguished citizens and proprietors of the mines, along with some rabbis from the same place. When the gifts already enumerated had been safely deposited in the public square of the place, where the people were assembled and seated in rows, these visitors entered also. Now began the distribution of gifts: great bowls of grain; large loaves of bread, about two feet square; honey, fruit, jugs of something, pieces of leathern clothing, covers and all kinds of furniture and utensils. The women received pieces of thick stuff like carpet, about one and a half yards square. Jesus and the disciples were present at the distribution, after which Jesus taught again on the rocky height upon which the people had assembled. He took for His subjects the laborers in the vineyard and the good Samaritan, the blessing of poverty and thanksgiving for the same, daily bread and the After the instruction, the people had a feast under the arbors in the open air at which Jesus, the disciples, and the guests of distinction served. Little boys and girls played on flutes and sang. The meal over, they had some innocent games such as children play; for instance, running, leaping, blindfolding, hiding and seeking, etc. They danced, too, in this way: They stood in long rows, bowed here and there, crossed before one another, and then formed a ring.
In the evening, Jesus went to the mines with about ten boys of from six to eight years old. The children wore only a broad girdle with festive wreaths of woolen or feather flowers around their waist or crossed on their breast. They looked very lovely. In their own childlike way, they showed Jesus all the places in which were the best mines, and related to Him all that they knew. Jesus instructed them in words full of sweetness, and made some useful application of what they told Him. He likewise proposed to them enigmas and related parables. The miners were, despite their rough and dirty labor in the bowels of the earth, very cleanly in their homes and festal garments.
I saw Jesus and the disciples accompanying the disciple from Naim to the port about five hours distant. One group went in front and another followed, while Jesus walked between the two with the disciple and some of the others in their turn. Jesus blessed the disciple on his departure, and his fellow disciples embraced him, after which they returned to the miners’ village. The disciple from Naim pursued his journey to the salt regions near Citium. The port was here not so far from the city as was that of Salamis. The sea penetrates far into the land so that the city has the appearance of being built in the midst of the waves. Not far from it rises a very high mountain, and there is a salt mine in the neighborhood. At the quay near the salt mine were only little skiffs and rafts, and a quantity of wood for the building of vessels was floating around.
Jesus Goes to Cerynia, and Visits Mnason’s Parents
When Jesus left the miners’ village with the disciples, He proceeded in a northwesterly direction across the mountains to the port of Cerynia. They left Mallep to the right, went through a portion of the valley of Lanifa, and passed near the village of Leppe. On the way Jesus rested once on a beautiful shady eminence, and there taught. Toward four in the afternoon they arrived to within about three-quarters of an hour’s distance from Cerynia, where they were received by Mnason’s family and several other Jews in a garden set apart for prayer and pious reunions. This garden was a retired spot hidden away in a slope of the mountain. Mnason’s family dwelt at some distance from the road, and one half-hour from Cerynia. His father was an aged Jew, thin, stooped, and with a long beard, but withal very lively and active. He had two daughters and three sons, one son-in-law, and a daughter-in-law, and all had been living here together for about ten years. Before that they used to travel around buying and selling. They received Jesus with many expressions of joy and humility, washed the travelers’ feet in a basin, and presented to them refreshments. This part of the mountain formed a large terrace full of shady walks, and comprised the sacred garden belonging to these people. Jesus taught until near evening, taking for His subjects Baptism, the and the Beatitudes.
After that Jesus accompanied Mnason’s brethren and his father, who was called Moses, to the house, where Mnason presented to Him four children, whom He blessed. Then his mother and sisters came forward veiled, and Jesus addressed to them some words, after which the whole family took a meal together under an arbor in the open air. The table was spread with the best they had: bread, honey, birds, and fruit, the latter still hanging upon little branches. During the meal, Jesus taught. They lodged in a long arbor built of thin, light boards, the exterior entirely overgrown by green foliage. It was furnished with a row of couches.
Mnason’s mother was a strong, robust woman. His father was descended from the tribe of Judah, but his ancestors had been carried off in the Babylonian Captivity and had never returned. Moses had travelled much directing caravans, had lived a long time also near the Red Sea, in Arabia; but having become impoverished, had settled in this place with his family. Mnason went to school in Mallep and later on for the sake of his studies travelled to Judea, where he met Jesus. His father with his grown-up children, Mnason being the youngest, lived in lightly built huts. They were not engaged in agriculture; they owned only a few gardens that lay back of their homes, and which were planted out in fruit trees. Having formerly, as caravan director, had much experience in the transportation of goods, the old man had established himself here as a kind of innkeeper, assistant, and commissioner for the commercial caravans that halted before Cerynia. He owned some asses and oxen with which he conveyed small burdens received from the caravans and destined for places remote from the public road. He was like a porter who had now become an inn-keeper also for others in the same business as himself. He was poor, but he had managed to maintain in his family strict Jewish discipline. For the rest, commerce did not flow toward Cerynia, but rather to Lapithus, which lay a couple of hours westward on the grand highroad.
Next morning Jesus taught again at the place of instruction before an audience composed of several Jews from the city and the people belonging to a little caravan. These latter were inexpressibly happy to find Jesus here, for they had already heard His instructions at Capharnaum where, too, they had received Baptism. On this occasion, Jesus inveighed against usury and greed of gain which made the Jews eager to enrich themselves off the pagans. He then touched upon Baptism, the and the Beatitudes. Toward noon they partook of a meal in common, but Jesus did more serving and teaching around the tables than reclining at them Himself.
One of Mnason’s married sisters did not make her appearance, because her little daughter had died the day before. She sat closely veiled, lamenting near the corpse. The child could not (I cannot now recall on what account) be buried on that day; but on this, the next day, they were expecting the rabbis from Mallep to conduct the funeral, for it was there they had their graveyard. The child had attained a tolerably good size, although it had always been an invalid. It could neither speak nor walk with facility, but it understood all that was said to it. Mnason, who had visited his home from time to time, had spoken to Jesus about it. Jesus told him that it would soon die, and instructed him how to prepare it for death. Mnason prudently followed Jesus’ directions at a time in which the mother was not present. He excited the child to faith in the Messiah, to hearty sorrow for its sins, and to the hope of salvation; he prayed with it, and anointed it with oil that Jesus had blessed. The child died a very good death. I saw it lying on a little bier near the veiled mother, just like a babe in swaddling clothes, its face covered. The casket in which it lay was shaped something like a trough. On its head was a wreath of flowers, and tiny bunches of aromatic herbs were laid closely around it. Its arms and hands also were wrapped in burial bands, but left free from the person. A little white staff rested in its arms. On the top of it was a bouquet made up of a large ear of corn, a vine leaf, a little olive branch, a rose, and foliage peculiar to the country. Several women visited the mother and mourned with her. By the child’s side in the coffin they deposited playthings: two little flutes, a little crooked, spiral-shaped horn, a tiny bow spanned with a string, on top of which in a furrow lay a little wand like an arrow. In each arm, besides, the child held a short, gilded staff with a knob on top.
When the rabbis came to conduct the corpse, the coffin was closed with a light lid which, instead of being nailed, was fastened down with a cord. Four men carried it on poles. A lighted lamp in a horn lantern was borne on a pole and was followed by a crowd of children and grown persons, who all pressed forward with no attention to order. Jesus and the disciples were standing outside the house watching the funeral. Jesus comforted the mother and relatives, and spoke of the Resurrection.
All repaired to Cerynia for the celebration of the Sabbath. The city had three streets facing the sea, the middle one very wide, and these three were intersected by two others. On the opposite side, the land side, it was enclosed by a massive wall, or rampart, in whose exterior were built the houses of the few Jews belonging to the place. Their dwellings were therefore outside the city, but still enclosed by a second wall. In this way, the Jews of Cerynia lived between the two walls of the city, entirely separate from the pagans, who had as many as ten heathen temples, or places dedicated to idols. The Jews of Cerynia were few in number, not very rich, but still possessed of all that was necessary. In one large building they had a school and a synagogue, along with accommodations for both rabbis and teachers. It was high, and had two stories entirely distinct. They had also a beautiful, flowing fountain fed by a stream from another source. The fountain they divided, one part being used for a drinking well, the other being conducted into a delightful garden for bathing purposes.
The Doctors of the Law received Jesus very respectfully at the end of the street and conducted Him first to the school, and then to the synagogue. Here He found seven invalids who had caused themselves to be conveyed thither on litters, that they might listen to His instructions. There were altogether about one hundred men. The Doctors allowed Jesus to teach and conduct the exercises alone. He read from Moses, passages recounting the number of the Children of Israel and their different families, and from the Prophet Osee, a grave and severe lecture against idolatry.
In one of these passages was read the circumstance of God’s commanding the Prophet to marry an adulteress, the children of which marriage were to receive special names. The Jews questioned Jesus on this passage. He explained it to them. He said that the Prophet, in his whole person and life, had to show forth the condition of God’s covenant with the House of Israel, and that the names of the children should be expressive of God’s sentence of punishment. Another lesson to be drawn from this passage was, as Jesus said, that acting under the inspiration of God, the good oftentimes united themselves to sinners in order to arrest the transmission of sin. This marriage of Osee with an adulteress and the various names of the children testified to the reiterated mercy of God and the long continuance of crime. Jesus spoke very severely. He exhorted to penance and Baptism, referred to the near approach of the Kingdom of God, predicted the punishment of those that repulsed it, and prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem.
While Jesus was teaching, the sick more than once cried out in the pauses of His discourse: “Lord, we believe in Thy doctrine! Lord, help us!” And when they noticed that He was about to leave the synagogue, they caused themselves to be carried out before Him. They were laid in the fore court in two rows, and they continued to cry out to Jesus: “Lord, exercise upon us Thy power! Do unto us, Lord, what is pleasing to Thee!” But Jesus did not cure them right away. When, however, the rabbis interceded for the poor invalids, Jesus questioned the latter. “What can I do for you?” He asked. They answered: “Lord, relieve us of our infirmities! Lord, cure us!” “Believe ye that I can do it?” asked Jesus, and all cried out: “Yes, Lord! We do believe that Thou canst do it!” Then Jesus ordered the rabbis to bring the rolls of the Law and to pray with Him over the sick. The rabbis brought the rolls and prayed, after which Jesus commanded the disciples to impose hands upon the sick. They obeyed, laying their hands on the eyes of one, on the breast of another, and so on different parts of the body. Jesus again put the question: “Do ye believe, and do ye wish to be cured?” and again they answered: “Yes, Lord! We believe that Thou canst help us!” Then said Jesus: “Rise! Your faith hath cured you!” and they arose, all seven, thanking Jesus, who ordered them to wash and purify themselves. Some among them had been very much swollen with dropsy. Their sickness was passed, but they were still weak and had to walk with the assistance of a staff.
Several times before in Cyprus, namely at Chytrus, Mallep, and Salamis, I saw Jesus healing in that way, that is, praying with the rabbis and commanding the disciples to impose hands. As these rabbis and Doctors were well-inclined, He caused them to take part like the disciples in this cure, thus to awaken in them confidence. He made use of this new way of curing in order to prepare those that took part in it for the works of the disciples, for there were a great many rabbis among the five hundred and seventy Jews whom Jesus gained in Cyprus.
The cured, along with other Jews from Cerynia, were baptized at the place of instruction near Moses’ dwelling. The water used for the purpose had been conveyed thither from a neighboring well, for the house lay rather high and had no spring near it. But to supply the defect, it had a reservoir in the shape of a large, copper basin buried in the earth and surrounded by a little channel lined with stone, which had an outlet into a stone trough. The water in the basin was perfectly pure, for the washing of feet, linen, etc., was all done in the channel. The stone trough was used for watering the cattle and sprinkling the garden beds. The neophytes stood in the channel and were baptized with water from the basin. First, Jesus gave an instruction on penance and purification through Baptism. The men wore long, white garments with maniples and cinctures ornamented with letters. Besides the seven lately cured, there were only eight other Jews baptized. They spoke separately with Jesus, and confessed their sins. Jesus told them to take advantage of the time of grace and to accomplish the Law according to the meaning of the Prophets, and not to be its slaves, for the Law was given to them, and not they to the Law. It was given to them in order to serve as a means to merit grace.
Among the newly baptized were Mnason’s brothers and brother-in-law. As to his father, pious though he was, still he was an obstinate Jew and would not hear of being baptized. Mnason had all along tried, but in vain, to prepare him, and Jesus too had spoken to him that day on the same subject. The stubborn old Jew, however, was not to be moved. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, and objected with all kinds of plausible reasons in favor of circumcision, to which he held. Mnason was so troubled at his father’s obstinacy that he shed tears, Jesus consoled him. He told him that his father was very old and had in consequence grown obstinate; as for the rest, however, he had always lived piously, he would weep over his blindness at another time and place, when light would dawn upon him. Jesus had blessed the baptismal water into which some from the Jordan was poured. All that remained after the Baptism was carefully scooped out and buried.
During the Baptism, Jesus went to a lovely garden back of the hill upon which was the place of instruction. It was full of fruit trees and fitted up with arbors, and there awaiting Him were from thirty to forty Jewish women, closely veiled. They bowed low before Him. Many of them were in great anxiety and dread lest their husbands, in order to follow Jesus, would forsake them, and they be left helpless. They entreated Him therefore to forbid their husbands’ doing such a thing. Jesus replied that if their husbands followed Him, they too should go to Palestine, where they would find means of subsistence. He related to them the example of the Holy Women, and explained to them the character of the epoch in which they were living. The present was not the time for a life of comfort and ease, for the day was approaching upon which they ought to go forward to meet the Kingdom that was drawing near and receive the Bridegroom. He spoke also of the lost drachma, and of the five wise and the five foolish virgins. The younger women begged Jesus to admonish their husbands not to visit the pagan maidens, since He had in terms so severe discussed that passage in Osee in which the Prophet warns against sinning with the heathens. Most of these young women were, however, tormented with jealousy. Jesus interrogated them upon their own conduct toward their husbands, exhorted them to mildness, humility, patience, and obedience, and warned them against gossiping and making reproaches. After that He closed the Sabbath exercises in the synagogue of Cerynia, and went with His disciples back to Mallep by the shortest route.
Departure From Cyprus
At Mallep, Jesus delivered a long instruction at the fountain. He spoke again of the approach of the Kingdom and of the obligation to go to meet it, of His own departure, and of the short time remaining to Him, of the bitter consummation of His labors, and of the necessity they were under of following Him and laboring with Him. He alluded again to the speedy destruction of Jerusalem and the chastisement that would soon overtake all who rejected the Kingdom of God, who would not do penance and amend their lives instead of clinging to their worldly goods and pleasures. Referring to the country in which they lived, where everything was so pleasant and the conveniences of life so many, Jesus compared it after all to an ornamented tomb whose interior was full of filth and corruption. Then He bade them reflect upon their own interiors, and see what lay concealed under their beautiful exteriors. He touched upon their usury, their avarice, their desire to gain which led them to communicate so freely with the pagans, their violent attachment to earthly possessions, their sanctimoniousness; and He again told them that all the magnificence and worldly conveniences that they saw around them would one day be destroyed, that the time would come in which no Israelite would there be found living. He spoke very significantly of Himself and the fulfillment of the Prophecies, and yet only a few comprehended His words. During this instruction the people presented themselves in bands and by turns, old men, middle-aged men, youths, women, and maidens. All were deeply touched; they wept and sobbed.
Jesus went next with some disciples and others a couple of hours to the east of Mallep, to where the occupants of several farms had begged Him to come, and where He had already gone once before from Mallep. There was, nearby, a shady hill that was used as a place for instruction. The disciple of Naim also had come hither from the port of Citium, to make preparations for his departure from Cyprus.
Jesus here, as at Mallep, delivered a farewell discourse, after which He went around to some huts and cured several invalids who had begged Him to do so. He had already set out on His return journey to Mallep when an old peasant implored Him to go to his house and take pity on his blind son. There were in the house three families of twelve persons, the grandparents, two married sons, and their children. The mother, veiled, brought the blind boy to Jesus in her arms, although it could both speak and walk. Jesus took the child into His arms, with a finger of His right hand anointed its eyes with His own saliva, blessed it, put it down on the ground, and held something before its eyes. The child grasped after it awkwardly, ran at the sound of its mother’s voice, then turned to the father, and so from the arms of one to those of the other. The parents led it to Jesus, and weeping thanked Him on their knees. Jesus pressed the child to His bosom and gave it back to the parents with the admonition to lead it to the true light, that its eyes, which now saw, might not be closed in darkness deeper than before. He blessed the other children also, and the whole family. The people shed tears and followed Him with acclamations of praise.
In the house used for such purposes at Mallep, a feast was given, in which all took part. The poor were fed, and presents were given them. Jesus, finally, delivered a grand discourse on the word which, He said, was the whole summary of prayer. Whoever pronounces it carelessly, makes void his prayer. Prayer cries to God; binds us to God; opens to us His mercy, and, with the word rightly uttered, we take the asked-for gift out of His hands. Jesus spoke most forcibly of the power of the word He called it the beginning and the end of everything. He spoke almost as if God had by it created the whole world. He uttered an over all that He had taught them, over His own departure from them, over the accomplishment of His own mission, and ended His discourse by a solemn Then He blessed His audience, who wept and cried after Him.
Jesus left Mallep with His disciples, Barnabas and Mnason following the next day. They left Chytrus to the right and went straight on across fields, through thickets, and over mountain ridges. Jesus attempted to discharge His indebtedness at the inn with the money brought Him by the disciple from Naim; but when the proprietor refused to receive it, it was distributed to the poor. All those that, either at present or in the future, were from Mallep, Chytrus, or Salamis to follow Jesus into Palestine, were to go by different routes. One party was to cross over from a port northeast of Salamis; and others, who had business at Tyre, were to start from Salamis itself. The baptized pagans went, for the most part, to Gessur.
Arrived at Salamis, Jesus and His followers put up at the school in which, upon His coming to Cyprus, He had sojourned. They entered from the northwest; the aqueduct lay to the right, the Jewish city to the left. I saw them, their garments still girded, sitting in threes by the basin in the fore court of the school. The basin was surrounded by a little channel, in which they were washing their feet. Every three made use of a long brown towel to dry their feet. Jesus did not always allow His feet to be washed by others; generally each one performed that service for himself. Here their coming had been looked for, and food was at once offered them. Jesus had here a great number of devoted adherents, and in their midst He taught for fully two hours. After that He had a long conference with the Roman Governor, who presented to Him two pagan youths desirous of instruction and Baptism. They confessed their sins with tears, and Jesus pardoned them. Toward evening they were privately baptized by James in the forecourt of the Doctors’ dwelling. These youths were to follow the philosophers to Gessur.
Mercuria also sent to beg Jesus to grant her an interview in the garden near the aqueduct. Jesus assented, and followed the servant that had delivered the message to the place designated. Mercuria came forward veiled, holding her two singularly dressed little girls by the hand. They wore only a short tunic down to the knee; the rest of their covering consisted of some kind of fine, transparent material upon which were wreaths of woolen, or feather flowers. Their arms were bare, their feet enveloped in little bands, and their hair loose. They were dressed almost like the angels that we make for representations of the Crib. Jesus spoke long and graciously with Mercuria. She wept bitterly and was very much troubled at the thought of having to leave her son behind her, also because her parents retained at a distance from her her younger sister, who would thus remain in the blindness of paganism. She wept also over her own sins. Jesus consoled her and assured her again of pardon. The two little girls looked at their mother in surprise, and they too began to cry and to cling to her. Jesus blessed the little ones, and went back to the school.
Mnason arrived from Chytrus accompanied by one of his brothers who wished to follow Jesus to Palestine.
After a farewell repast, Jesus and His disciples went to the place where, by His orders, some of the Roman Governor’s people were awaiting them with asses. These they mounted. Jesus rode sidewise on a cross seat provided with a support, and by His side rode the Governor. They passed the aqueducts and, at the rear of the city, crossed the little river Padius. They took a narrow country road shorter than the ordinary route, which wound in a curve near the shore. During the whole of that beautiful night, I saw the Governor generally at Jesus’ side. In front rode a troop of twelve, then came one of nine, followed by Jesus and the Governor a little apart; another band of twelve brought up the rear. Besides this occasion and Palm Sunday, I never saw Jesus otherwise than on foot. When morning began to break and they were still three hours from the sea, the Governor, in order not to attract attention, bade adieu to Jesus. In parting Jesus presented to him His hand, and gave him His blessing. The Governor had descended from his ass, for he wished to embrace Jesus’ feet. Then he bowed low before Him, withdrew a few steps, repeated his obeisance (it must have been a custom of the place), mounted his beast, and rode off. The two newly baptized pagans accompanied him. Jesus then rode on till within about an hour of the place to which He was going, when He and His party dismounted and sent back the asses with the servants. They now journeyed on through the salt hills until they reached a long building where they found some mariners awaiting them. It was a quiet, solitary spot on the seashore. There were few trees around the country, but along the coast an extraordinarily long mound, or dyke, covered with moss and trees. Facing the sea were dwelling houses and open buildings belonging to the salt-works, in which poor Jewish families and some pagans dwelt. Farther on where the shore was steeper, there was a little cove down to which a flight of steps led, and here were anchored three ships in readiness for the travelers. It was easy to land at this spot, and it was from this point that the salt was shipped to the cities along the coast.
Jesus was expected here, and all partook of a repast consisting of fish, honey, bread, and fruit. The water of this place was very bad, and they purified it by putting something into it, I think fruit. They kept it in jugs and leathern bottles. Seven of the Jews belonging to the ships’ crew were here baptized, a basin being used for the ceremony.
Jesus went from house to house, consoling the poor occupants, bestowing alms upon them, healing the wounded, and curing the sick, who stretched out their hands pitifully toward Him. First He asked whether they believed that He could cure them; and upon their answering, “Yes, Lord! We do believe!” He restored them to health. He went even to the end of the long dyke, also to the homes of the pagans, who met Him looking timid and shy. Jesus blessed the poor children and gave some instructions.
The disciple from Naim had lately arrived at this place, where he awaited two other disciples. They came in good time, and then all three set out for Palestine to announce Jesus’ coming.
Jesus’ party counted twenty-seven men, all of whom embarked at evening twilight in three little vessels. That in which Jesus sailed was the smallest, and with Him were four disciples and some rowers. Each of the vessels had in the center, rising around the mast, galleries divided into compartments which served as sleeping places. With the exception of the rowers, who took their stand above, no one of the ship’s crew could be seen. I saw Jesus’ little vessel sailing out ahead, and I wondered why the others took a different direction. But when it had grown quite dark, I saw them at about half an hour from the shore fast-bound in two places, a torch raised on the mast as a sign of distress. At this sight, Jesus ordered His sailors to row back toward them. They approached one of the ships, threw out to it a rope, sailed round it, and, with it thus in tow, went to the other and did the same. The two were in this way bound to Jesus’ vessel, which now they followed. Jesus rebuked the disciples on the two ill-guided vessels for having thought themselves possessed of more knowledge of the way, spoke of self-will, and of the necessity of following Him. The ships had gotten caught in an eddy between two sandbanks.
On the evening of the following day, just before the entrance of the great gulf which the sea forms at the foot of Mount Carmel between Ptolemais and Hepha, I saw Jesus’ three vessels rowing back again into deep water, for a little inside the gulf a struggle was going on between a large ship on one side and some smaller ones on the other. The large ship was victorious and several dead bodies were thrown out into the water. As Jesus’ vessels drew near the combatants, Jesus raised His hand and blessed them, whereupon they soon separated. They did not see Jesus’ vessels, for the latter were awaiting the issue at some distance from the entrance to the gulf. The dispute between the two parties had arisen in Cyprus on the subject of the cargo. The little vessels had here lain in wait for the large one. The combatants hacked away and aimed at one another from the decks with long poles. One would have thought not a soul would escape. The struggle lasted a couple of hours. At last the large ship took the smaller ones prisoner, and moved slowly off with them in tow.
Jesus landed near the mouth of the Cison, east of Hepha, which lies on the coast. He was received on shore by several of the Apostles and disciples, among them Thomas, Simon, Thaddeus, Nathanael Chased, and Heliacim, all of whom were unspeakably delighted to embrace Him and His companions. They went round the gulf for about three hours and a half, and crossed a little river that flows into the sea near Ptolemais. The long bridge across this river was like a walled street. It extended to the foot of the height behind which was the morass of Cendevia. Having climbed this height, they proceeded to the suburbs of the Levitical city Misael, which was separated from them by a curve of that same height. This suburb faced the sea on the west, and on the south rose Carmel with its beautiful valley. Misael consisted of only one street and one inn, which extended over the height. Here, near a fountain, Jesus was met by the people in festal procession, the children singing songs of welcome. All bore palm branches, on which the dates were still hanging. Simeon from Sichor-Libnath, the “City of Waters,” was here with his whole family. After his Baptism, he came to Misael, for his children gave him no rest until he had again joined the Jews. He had arranged this reception for Jesus, and all at his own expense. When the procession reached the inn, nine Levites from Misael came forward to salute Jesus.