The words kept ringing in her ears. She had been watching the Gentle Healer for some days as He performed miracles in and around Capernaum. She had seen how caring He was of the sick and suffering, and she was strangely drawn to Him. And yet she always kept her distance, just far enough not to attract His attention, but near enough to hear His words.
And then it happened! Why should it happen? How did He know her thoughts? There were so many others crowding around. Turning to her He said, “Woman, I am coming to visit you tomorrow. Prepare yourself.” She just stood there with wide open mouth, not knowing what to say or do. Many faces were looking at her with searching interest, but the Healer had already turned away, to attend the needs of a leper.
She hurried back home. It was approaching eventide, and there was much to be done. Mind you, she had an orderly house, and was proud of it. But everything had to be made ship-shape for the advent of the Healer fromNazareth.
Morning arrived, and there were still many small tasks to be done. But before she had even begun, there was a tap on the door. With heart beating fast she opened it, only to find an elderly man standing there leaning on his staff. She sighed with relief.
“Drink,” was all he said in a husky voice.
“I’m sorry. I’m very busy. The village well is just round the corner.”
Shutting the door, she proceeded to shake rugs and polish furniture. A while later there was another tap at the door. “Oh no!” she thought, thinking it be another vagrant. Lifting the latch she was confronted by a beggar girl with bowl in hand. She looked so dirty. The flies swarmed round her face.
“I’m sorry. I’m very busy. Can’t you try next door?”
She sighed with relief. Beggars were becoming so frequent these days. Normally she would have been a little more considerate, but today . . . . no, not today.
Time passed without another caller. It was now mid-afternoon. She had finished her preparations when there was the third knock. It was by no means a tap, but a good hard thump, repeated three times. “My goodness, who dares to knock like that?” She knew instinctively that her Healer friend could not be on the other side of the door. Opening it, she was confronted by a big burly fellow with a gruff voice.
“They said you’d let me sleep on the roof tonight.”
Who were “they”, she wondered, and who was HE, in any case? Mind you, the steps were on the side of the house, and there was no way he could have gained illegal entry to her dwelling. It was common practice to allow strangers to sleep on the flat roofs of dwellings. But she didn’t like the look of the man.
“I’m sorry. I’m expecting an important guest. I cannot attend to you.”
Closing the door she sat in her immaculately cleaned and prepared parlour, waiting. Time passed. . . . . It was now sun-down, and the start of another day. Bewildered, she shed a few tears. Why had He changed His mind? She was unable to sleep that night, turning over in her mind what could have prevented Him from coming.
Morning came. Rather fearfully she crept over to Simon Peter’s house, where He was wont to stay. Yes, there He was, talking to a few who had already gathered. Turning, His eyes fell upon her and drew her to Him. She stood there, not uttering a word, but her eyes were questioning.
“What ails you, woman?”
“I waited for you yesterday, but . . .” She couldn’t finish her sentence.
“I came to you three times yesterday, but you turned me away. I asked you to prepare yourself, but you prepared your house instead.”