96962_000_008I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).
It was at the well where I first heard the talk. I listened intently as I waited for my turn to draw water. Everyone was talking about him. There seemed to be so many different accounts and opinions. How do I know which is right? I wondered. Can any of this talk be true?
A touch on my arm brought me swiftly back to awareness. “Anna,” my neighbor said, “draw your water.” I took my turn at the well and drew my pitcher full of water. There were so many questions in my mind that I wanted to linger and listen, but it was nearly dark and Mother was waiting. As I hurried along the familiar path home, my mind kept reviewing all the things I had heard at the well.
Some said he was a miracle worker—a healer! He caused the blind to see!
Someone called him the Messiah! Could this be true? Could he be the promised Messiah of the scriptures?
Others said, with scorn in their voices, that he was only a Galilean—and a carpenter’s son, at that! The miracles were only tricks, they told each other. Turning water into wine was just a magic trick done to fool people.
As I was walking away from the village well, I heard someone say “… tomorrow on the hillside above the village.” Did she mean our village? There was only one way for me to know. …
I was up at daylight. I worked hurriedly to finish my chores. Before I was finished, though, my little brother, Timothy, called to me from his bed. “Anna, why are you up so early?”
I went to his bedside and said, “I want to go to the hillside as soon as my chores are done.”
“Come with me, and you’ll see.” I handed him his crutch and told him to get ready.
Timothy has a crippled foot, and I have always been the one, besides Mother, who has helped him.
After my work is done each day, I often walk with him to the street so he can watch the children run and play. Some children come over to speak to him, but others make fun of him. My heart aches for him then, and I try to apologize for their behavior. He always tells me, “It’s all right. They just don’t understand.”
But I can see the hurt in his eyes.
My chores finished, I asked Mother if Timothy and I could go to the hillside for some sunshine and fresh air. With her permission, I put a little bread in my pocket, and Timothy and I hurried along the path out of the village as best we could. As we walked, I told Timothy all that I had heard at the well.
Soon we saw the people who followed him—I think they were called disciples—gathering on the hillside, more and more coming from all directions. Some seemed excited; some looked very thoughtful. A few had tears in their eyes. I wondered why. My brother and I sat down on the ground at the back of the crowd.
The man I had heard so much about looked strong but gentle too. His face seemed to have a shining look about it. His eyes were full of compassion and love for all the people at his feet.
Then He spoke.
Timothy and I could not take our eyes from Him, and like the others there, we listened in awe. His voice was filled with the same love that was in His eyes, and He said wonderful things!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
“… but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
“… Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. …
“After this manner therefore pray ye. …
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. …” *
With surprise, I suddenly realized that it was nearly evening, and His Apostles were asking the people to go to their homes.
“Anna,” Timothy asked, “can we come again? Can we see Him again?”
“We will come again, Timothy, I promise! There is more we need to know—much more we must learn of Him.”
Timothy did not want to leave, and the others around us seemed to feel the same way. For Timothy—and for myself—I promised once more, “I’ll take you to see Him again, but now we must hurry. Tonight there is much we must tell at home!”