women were walking in the marketplace looking at all the shops and their
goods being displayed. The busy street was too narrow for all of the people
there so they were all closer to each other than they might have been
without the crowds.
“Hey Mir ,“
a third girl, also about seventeen, called out to one of the two as she
noticed her buying some pomegranates to take back to her family. Then she
shouted over the din of the crowd. “Those will get you into trouble, you
a bit confused at the statement and she cast a confused glance at Dahra, the
girl with her who was giggling. “What?” she said, still not getting what
the joke as about.
pomegranates will get you pregnant, silly.” Dahra said offering the
Miriam, “ I thought they were an ancient symbol of righteousness or
something like that.
the two of them broke into laughter, which lasted for several seconds as
they realized it was not funny at all. Miriam thought it ironic more than
funny, having practically been shunned by her family for recently spending
time alone with a young man with no chaperone present. In fact, she had
done it more than once, the first being a boy she had met when she was
thirteen. She had been forgiven for that discretion four year earlier, but
the current situation had many talking about her supposed ‘constant
home with the pomegranates and some vegetables, Miriam was setting them on
the table as her mother came into the room. “Miriam,” her mother said “Your
father and I have decided that you should not see that boy, what’s his name,
oh yes Yaacob. We don’t want you to see him anymore.”
because he’s poor and has no father to trade me for some silly goats, don’t
you mom.” Miriam snapped back. “I have compassion for Yaacob. He is not a
boy mother; he is twenty two years old and is a man even if he has no
argument went back and forth for the rest of the afternoon and when Miriam’s
father came back from tending his herd he joined in and with both of her
parents battling against her, the strong willed Miriam stood up and packing
a few belongings said goodbye and walked out of her home forever. She knew
where Yaacob was camped out in the desert and went to be with him, having
nowhere else to go. As she approached Yaacob’s tent however she heard
another woman’s voice coming from inside.
whose emotions were still developing, had been more attracted to Yaacob by
her compassion for the underdog and the poor rather than any particular love
or spiritual attraction that she had for him although they had been intimate
on the occasion her parents had accused her of and she had lied to them
about it. Anyhow, she was hurt deeply by finding him with another woman
and with that added to her argument with her parents, she had become very
distraught. She spent the entire night just wandering around thinking about
her life and the world that she lived in. Eventually Miriam lay down and
slept for about four hours on the ground in a grove of fig trees.
The Fig Tree
notice that there are no figs growing on that fig tree?” Miriam thought she
was hearing a voice in her dream. “I say young lady, did you happen to
notice that there are no figs growing on that tree?” Miriam’s eyes opened
about half way as the bright sunlight made them close again. “I’ve got
something here that you can eat even if the fig tree cannot help you at this
time my dear.” Miriam’s eves opened again and they began to focus on the
figure of a hunched over old woman standing above her.
hadn’t noticed.” Miriam answered the old woman’s question as she stretched
her limbs and rubbed her eyes becoming fully awake. The old woman handed
her a piece of bread which the hungry girl quickly accepted. As Miriam felt
the need for a drink to go along with the bread, the old woman immediately
handed her a gourd with cool water which had obviously come from the stone
well that she saw a few paces away. “Thank you so much…,” she said,
thinking that she ought to have known the woman’s name.
all right my dear, it was obvious that you needed it.” The old woman
replied not offering her name as Miriam had expected. “What in the world
are you doing out here in the desert all alone at night anyway. Oh, never
mind, it doesn’t make any difference how you got here, the only important
thing is where you are going now isn’t it. ” Miriam nodded her head in
agreement while she ate the rest of the bread and finished the water handing
the gourd back to the old lady thanking her once again. Pointing to some
trees visible in the distance the old lady said… “Everyone else is over
there at that oasis this morning waiting for Yeshua Ben Yosef who will stop
there to speak this afternoon.”
that?” Miriam asked with interest.
“He is the
young teacher that everyone is talking about my dear. He speaks with the
wisdom of a Rabbi twice his age, perhaps one even three times as old.” The
old lady answered. “They say that he went off to study when he was a boy
who had taught in the great Temple in Jerusalem. He apparently went to seek
the mind of God as an old Rabbi had taught him to do more than fifteen years
ago. And now he has come back!”
say that God hates me for the things I have done.” Miriam answered shyly,
knowing that she had lied and committed several other sins in her seventeen
“I may be
and old woman, but there is one thing I know for certain my dear. God has
nothing but love and forgiveness for you, no matter what you may have done
in the past. In fact, the compassion that you have shown for people in your
short life has pleased God greatly.”
thought that the old lady spoke as if she had firsthand knowledge of her
transgressions and how God Himself thought of her. How could she know that
the compassion Miriam had felt for Yaacob had led to her own sinful
behavior. She also wondered how the old lady could know what was in God’s
own mind, but somehow she knew that she did.
you get a bit more sleep my dear.” The old lady said to the tired Miriam
“But remember that the fig tree that bears no fruit at this time will feed
another weary traveler when it’s time comes.” Miriam closed her eyes and
tried to sleep some more but after only half an hour she woke up again.
Finding that the old lady was gone, she got herself another drink and
decided to walk to the oasis that the old lady had pointed out in the
took about two hours and as Miriam arrived Yeshua Ben Yosef was already
speaking to a pretty large crowd mostly seated on blankets on the ground.
She looked around and did not see the old lady among them. “Praise be to
God” a man said as she knelt down near him. ”God had sent a cool breeze
today and He has blocked the sun with clouds for us to listen to His
messenger preach.” Yeshua was a pretty good distance from them on a bit of a
rise but at about that time he began to walk among the crowd many of whom
reached out to touch his garment as he passed by.
wondered just who this man might be as she felt the same compassion, which
she felt for humanity, coming from him, as he walked among the crowd. It
seemed as if there was an aura surrounding him as he spoke of love and
forgiveness. Not so much that God had to forgive people for their sinful
behavior, but that people had to forgive each other. She remembered that
the old lady had told her that God had already forgiven her for her
transgressions even though she had not even asked Him to.
reason, Yeshua came closer and closer to where Miriam and the man who had
praised God were seated. “Praise be to God.” The man spoke once again.
“God has sent his messenger to us… Thou art
Yeshua Ha' Mashiach.”
“I come as
a son of man.” Yeshua spoke to the man who was old enough to be Miriam’s
father, “and that makes us brothers my friend, and if we are brothers then
we are both the son’s of the living god as well. Is this your daughter who
has come with you to learn about the mind of God.” Yeshua said as he
glanced toward Miriam’s tender face and their eyes briefly made contact.
Miriam quickly looked away from Yeshua’s glance, not knowing if it was out
of shame for her past or the guilt she now felt as she found the preacher
attractive in many ways.
she is not my daughter, we have just met today.” The man spoke to the
where do you come from?” Yeshua questioned Miriam directly once again
making eye contact with the shy young girl.
“Uh, I come
from…” Miriam thought for a moment about what to say to the powerful
charismatic man more than a dozen years older than she was. She certainly
had not expected to be talking to him at this moment, but continued. “I
came from under a fig tree just this morning, kind Sir,” then quickly
added. “An old lady asked me why I was under the fig tree as it bore no
fruit at this time. She gave me something to eat and told me that the fig
tree would feed another who would come along at another time.”
spoken as one who already knows the mind of God.” Yeshua spoke directly to
Miriam as the crowd who had at first chuckled at her answer quickly calmed
down to listen to the Master once again. “Just like the fig tree that this
young woman speaks of…” He went on preaching to the crowd stepping up onto
a rock “Just like that very fig tree my time to feed you all is coming…”
As the day
came to an end, the sun was setting and everyone except those who travelled
with him had pretty much gone home, Yeshua was walking and noticed that
Miriam was still there. “So did you always live under a fig tree my dear?”
He asked as he stopped to talk with her.
Sir, My name is Miriam and I was born in the city of Magdala near the sea.
I am not welcome there anymore so I left yesterday. But the old lady by
the well said that where I was going was much more important than where I
had come from.”
taught you well Miriam, who comes from under the fig tree. I travel with a
group and we are on a mission to teach others about the mind of God. There
is much work to be done and perhaps you would like to join us.”