Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

This document is: ACE_1_0461

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_1_0441 List of documents Next document: ACE_1_0481
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

Halting Places of the Holy Family


11. Jesus Visits Certain Inns, The Halting Places of the Holy Family on Their Flight into Egypt

Jesus had spent His nights alone and in prayer. Upon leaving the shepherds He addressed His dis­ciples, telling them that He was now going to make another journey to some people who had hospitably sheltered Him and His parents on their flight, that He would cure their sick and convert a sinner, that no footstep of His holy parents should remain unblessed, and that everyone who had shown them compassion and kindness on their flight, He would now seek out and lead to salvation. The mercy and benevolence of all such persons have been to them a pledge and a furtherance of salvation; their effects will continue forever. As now, He said, He was vis­iting all that had at that time shown charity to Him and His, so would His Heavenly Father be mindful of all that showed mercy and charity to even the most insignificant of His brethren. Jesus then appointed a place near the city and Mount Ephraim, where His disciples were to await His coming.

He now journeyed alone around Herod's domin­ions toward the desert near Anim, or Enzannim, a few hours from the Dead Sea. His way lay through a wild, though tolerably fertile region where, hedged in by enclosures, were pastured a great many camels divided into droves of forty. There was an inn for the accommodation of travelers through the desert, and to it Jesus went. Several huts and sheds stood nearby, and the proprietors of the inn owned many camels.

This inn was the last in Herod's dominions met by the Holy Family on their flight into Egypt. The peo­ple were a bad set who carried on thievery, but notwith­standing they had received the Holy Family kindly. The neighboring city contained many disorderly char­acters who had settled there after some war.

Jesus went to the inn and asked hospitality. The


Life of Jesus Christ

 proprietor was a man about fifty years old, called Reuben, who had been there at the time of the flight into Egypt. When Jesus glanced at him and addressed him, grace shot like a ray of light into his breast. The words of Jesus and His salutation fell upon him like a blessing, and deeply moved he exclaimed: "Lord, it is as if the Promised Land enters with Thee into my house!" Jesus replied that, if he would believe in the Promise and would not cast away from him its fulfillment, he would indeed share in the Promised Land. Then He spoke of good works and their con­sequences, telling him that He had now come to announce salvation to him, because he had kindly entertained His Mother and His foster-father so many years before when on their flight to Egypt. In like manner does every action, the good as well as the bad, bear its own fruit. At these words of Jesus, the man cast himself trembling on the ground before Him, saying: "Lord, whence is this to me, a poor, despised, miserable man, that Thou shouldst enter my house?" Jesus answered that He had come to cleanse sinners from their iniquity and lead them back to God. The man still spoke of his own base­ness, and said that all the inhabitants of the place belonged to a miserable, lost generation; he also told Jesus of his poor, sick grandchildren. Jesus replied that if he would believe in Him and be baptized, He would restore his grandchildren to health. He washed Jesus' feet, and gave Him the best he had for His refreshment. When the neighbors came in, he told them who Jesus was and what He had promised. He had a relative among them who was named Issacher.

After that he conducted Jesus to his sick grand­children who, some from leprosy and some from lame­ness, had become quite deformed. Jesus commanded the children to rise, and they stood up cured. He vis­ited some women also, who were sick of a bloody flux. Then He ordered a bath to be prepared. They got ready a large vessel of water under a tent. From

Jesus Curing and Teaching


 one of the two flasks that He carried with Him strapped to His side under His outer robe, He poured into it some of the baptismal water from the Jordan, and blessed the whole. The sick were then ordered to bathe in it. They did so, and came forth cleansed and thanking the Lord. Jesus did not baptize them Himself, although this washing was equivalent to Baptism in case of death; but He exhorted them to go seek for the baptism at the Jordan.

When the people questioned Jesus, asking if the Jordan really possessed special virtue, He answered that the channel of the Jordan had been hollowed out and its course directed; that all holy places of this land had been allotted to special purposes by His Heavenly Father long before man had existed there, yea, even before the land or the Jordan had sprung forth from nothing. Very wonderful things spoke Jesus on this subject, and He instructed the women on marriage inculcating modesty and conti­nency. He pronounced the degeneracy of the people of this place and the pitiful condition of the chil­dren, consequences of the illegitimate connections so common among them. He spoke of the parents' share in the corruption of their children, of arresting the evil by penance and satisfaction, and of the second birth in baptism.

Then He recounted to them all the kind offices they had performed for the Holy Family at the time of their flight, and gave them some information rel­ative to the places at which they had rested and refreshed themselves. Mary and Joseph had with them on their flight a she-ass, as well as the ass upon which the Blessed Virgin rode. Jesus showed the people all their actions at the time of the flight, that is all the acts of kindness they had shown the Holy Family, as so many types of their present turn­ing from sin to salvation. They prepared for the Lord a repast from the best they had. It consisted of a kind of milk thick like white cheese, honey, rolls


Life of Jesus Christ

 baked in the ashes, grapes, and birds.

Accompanied by some of these men, Jesus left Ainon and, returning by another route, arrived toward evening at a city built on both sides of a mountain, through which ran a rugged valley full of deep ravines. Both mountain and city bore the name of Ephraim, or Ephron. The mountain faced straight toward Gaza. Jesus had come through the country of Hebron. At some distance from the road that He travelled could be described a ruined city with a tower still stand­ing, whose name sounded like Malaga.1 About an hour's distance from this place was the grove Mam­bre whither the angels bore to Abraham the promise of a son, Isaac; also the double cave that Abraham bought from Ephren, the Hethite, and which after­ward formed his tomb. The field that witnessed David's combat with Goliath was not far off.

Jesus, His escort having taken leave, wended His way around one side of the double city and met His disciples in the rugged valley road which had been designated by Him as the place of meeting. He con­ducted them out of the winding ravine into a very spacious cave in the wildest part of the mountain, to which no path led. It had afforded a resting place, the sixth in order, to the Holy Family on their flight into Egypt, and here Jesus and His disciples passed the night.

Jesus told this circumstance to the disciples, impressing upon them the sacred character of the place, while they were busying themselves making a fire. They struck a light by revolving one piece of wood inside another. One of the Prophets had fre­quently spent some time in this cave, in order to give himself more unreservedly to prayer. I think it was Samuel. David, too, while guarding his father's flocks around here, had made the cave a place of prayer and there received commands of God through

1. Probably Molada is meant, or the Malatha of Josephus Flavius, 18, 7, 2.

Jesus Speaks of Tribulations


 the ministry of angels. It was while thus engaged that he was admonished to slay Goliath.

When the Holy Family reached this cave, they were dejected and exhausted. The Blessed Virgin wept sadly. They were in want of all things, because they had fled by unfrequented ways, shunning the great cities and customary inns. They spent a whole day here recruiting their strength, and several wonders were vouchsafed them for their refreshment—a foun­tain sprang up in the cave, and a wild goat bounded in and allowed itself to be milked.

Jesus spoke to the disciples of the great tribula­tions in store for Him and all His followers, of the hardships here endured by Himself and His Blessed Mother, of the mercy of His Heavenly Father, and of the holiness of the place. He added that at some future day there would be a church built on the spot, and He blessed the cave as if consecrating it. The disciples had brought with them some fruit and rolls, and of them all partook.

12. Jesus Goes Toward Maspha to Visit A Relative of St. Joseph

When Jesus and His disciples left the cave, they struck off in the direction of Bethlehem. On this side of Ephron they entered an inn that stood among houses built apart, and there, after washing their feet, took some refreshment. The people were good and somewhat inquisitive. Jesus instructed them on penance, the nearness of Redemption, and of what they must do to follow Him. They asked Him why His Mother took that long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, since she could have been so comfortably cared for at home. Jesus answered by telling them of the Promise and that He was to be born in poverty at Bethlehem among the shepherds, since like a shep­herd He was to gather the flocks together. It was also for this same reason that now, after His Heav­enly


Life of Jesus Christ

 Father's testimony of Him, He visited these shep­herd regions first.

From here Jesus turned His steps to the south side of Bethlehem about two hours distant, crossed a por­tion of the shepherd valley, and proceeded around the west side of the city, leaving Joseph's paternal house to the right. Toward evening He entered the now lit­tle city of Maspha, some hours from Bethlehem.

Maspha could be seen at a great distance, for on the highroads all around the city burned lights in iron lanterns. It was encompassed by walls and tow­ers, and traversed by several streets. Maspha was long one of the principal places of devotion. Judas Maccabeus 1 had before battle held here a great prayer meeting in which he reminded Almighty God of all the outrageous decrees of the enemy, recalled to Him His own promises, and exposed the priestly garments before the assembled multitude. Then five angels appeared to him before the city and promised him victory. It was here also that Israel had assem­bled against the tribe of Benjamin, on account of an outrage and murder committed upon the wife of a travelling Levite. The infamous scene was enacted under a tree, which was afterward walled around, and no one went near it. In Maspha also Samuel had exercised his office of Judge; and here was found that Essenian cloister in which dwelt Manahem, who had foretold the scepter to Herod when the latter was only a boy. This cloister had been built by the Essenian Chariot, who lived about one hundred years before Christ. He was a married man from the coun­try of Jericho. He had separated from his wife and both, he for men and she for women, had founded several communities of Essenians. He was a very holy man and died in a cloister founded by him not far from Bethlehem. He was the first to arise from his tomb at the death of Christ and appear to men.

1. Mach. 3:46.

Jesus Goes to Maspha


Maspha was full of inns, and the arrival of a stranger was soon noised about the city; consequently Jesus had scarcely entered the inn when He was surrounded by a crowd. He was conducted to the syn­agogue where He explained the Law. Some of His hearers were spies whose intentions were insincere. They sought to draw Him out, because they had heard of His promise to lead the heathens also into the Kingdom of God, and that He had spoken among the shepherds about the Three Kings. Jesus' words on this occasion were very severe. He said that the days of the Promise were completed; and that all who would be born again in Baptism, would believe in Him whom the Father had sent, and would keep His commandments, should as well as His followers have a share in the Kingdom. But from the unbelieving Jews should the Promise be withdrawn and given over to the heathens.

I cannot repeat Jesus' words exactly, but they were to this effect: that He knew their intentions, that they were spies, that they might betake themselves to Jerusalem, and there tell all they had heard Him say.

Jesus had alluded to Judas Maccabeus and the several important events that had here taken place. His hearers boasted the magnificence of the Temple and the superiority of the Jews over the heathens. But Jesus explained to them that the end for which the chosen people had been called and their Temple erected was now attained, since the One promised by God through the Prophets was now come to estab­lish the Kingdom of His Heavenly Father, and to raise to Him a new Temple.

After this instruction, Jesus left Maspha and went about an hour eastward. He reached first a row of houses, then came to a residence that stood alone and which belonged to one of Joseph's family. Joseph's father had married a widow with one son. This step­son had married and settled in this place, and his


Life of Jesus Christ

 descendants now occupied the house alluded to. They had been baptized and had a family of children. They received Jesus cordially and with every mark of def­erence. Several of the neighbors assembled at the house. Jesus gave an instruction after which He par­took of a repast with them. The meal over, He retired with two of the men, Aminadab and Manasses. They questioned Him as to whether He was acquainted with their circumstances and whether they should follow Him right away. Jesus replied no, that they should for the present be numbered among His secret disciples. Then they knelt before Him, and He blessed them. Prior to His death, they publicly joined the disciples. Jesus stayed here overnight.

13. Jesus Visits an Inn at Which Mary Stopped on Her Journey to Bethlehem

From here Jesus and His disciples went on for a couple of hours till they came to a farmhouse which had been the last stopping place but one on Mary's journey to Bethlehem. It may have been about four hours' distance from the city. The men of the house came out to meet Jesus and, falling down before Him on the road, begged Him to enter. He was very cor­dially received. These people went almost daily to John's instructions and were all familiar with the wonders connected with the Lord's baptism. A warm bath was prepared for Jesus, also a repast, and a beautiful couch was made ready for Him that night. Jesus taught here.

The woman who had harbored the Holy Family here thirty years ago was still alive. But she was blind, and had been for many years almost bent dou­ble. She lived alone in the main building and her children, who lived nearby, sent her her food. When Jesus had performed His ablutions, He went to see the poor, old woman. He spoke to her of compassion and hospitality, of good works that bear no merit,

“Behold the Lamb of God”


 and of selfishness, placing her present afflictions before her as a punishment of the same. She was deeply touched, confessed her fault, and He cured her. He ordered her to bathe in the water He had just used. She did so, recovered her sight, and became straight and well. But Jesus commanded her to say nothing of her cure.

The people of this place questioned Jesus as to which was the greater, He or John. Jesus answered: "He of whom John gives testimony." Then they spoke of John's zeal and energy, also of the beautiful, manly figure of Jesus Himself. Jesus remarked that, three and a half years hence, they would see no beauty in Him, they would not even recognize Him so disfig­ured would He be. Of John's zeal and energy He spoke, likening him to one knocking at the house of a sleeping man, to rouse him for the coming of the Lord; to one breaking a path through the wilderness, that the king might safely travel over it; and lastly to an impetuous torrent that rushing along purifies the channel through which it flows.

14. “Behold the Lamb of God”

Next morning at daybreak Jesus departed with His disciples, followed by the crowd that had gathered around Him. They wended their way toward the Jor­dan, distant from this point at least three hours. The Jordan flows through a broad valley that rises on either bank for the distance of about half an hour. The stone in the enclosed space whereon the Ark of the Covenant had rested, and where the recent festival was cele­brated, was about an hour's distance from John's place of baptism, that is, taking it in a straight line toward Jerusalem. John's hut near the twelve stones was in direction of Beth-Araba and somewhat more to the south than the stone of the Ark of the Covenant. The twelve stones lay one-half hour from the place of bap­tism and in the direction of Gilgal. Gilgal was on a


Life of Jesus Christ

 gentle slope on the west side of the mountain.

From John's baptismal pool the view up both the shores, which were very fertile, was most lovely. The most delightful region, however, rich in fruits and teeming with abundance, was around the Sea of Galilee. But here, and also around Bethlehem, there were broader meadowlands, more husbandry, and a greater abundance of durra, garlic, and cucumbers.

Jesus had already passed the memorial stone of the Ark of the Covenant and was about one quarter of an hour beyond John's tent, before which the lat­ter stood teaching. A gap in the valley disclosed this scene to the distant traveler, and Jesus in passing was for not longer than a couple of minutes visible to the Baptist. John was seized by the Spirit and, pointing to Jesus, he cried out: "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world!" Jesus passed, preceded and followed by His disciples in groups, the multitude lately gathered around Him in the rear. It was early morning. The people crowded forward at the words of John, but Jesus had already disappeared. They called after Him in acclamations of praise, but He was out of hearing.

When returned from their fruitless attempt to see Jesus, the people complained to John that Jesus had so many followers and that, as they had heard, His disciples had already begun to baptize. What, they asked, would be the outcome of all that. John made answer by repeating that he would soon resign his place to Jesus, since he was only a servant and pre­cursor. These words were not at all acceptable to John's followers, who were somewhat jealous of Jesus' disciples.

Jesus now directed His steps toward the north­west, leaving Jericho on the right and proceeding to Gilgal about two hours distant from Jericho. He stopped at many places on the way. The children fol­lowed Him singing songs of praise, and ran into the houses to bring their parents out.

Jesus in Gilgal


15. Jesus in Gilgal, Dibon, Socoth, Aruma, and Bethania

The region known as Gilgal comprised the whole of the elevated country above the low valley of the Jordan, and which was embraced by the inflowing streams of the Jordan for a circumference of five hours. But the city Gilgal, to which Jesus drew near before evening, lay scattered and interspersed by numerous gardens for the distance of about one hour, in the direction of the place to which John had retired to preach and baptize.

Jesus first entered the precincts of a sacred spot open to Prophets and Doctors of the Law. It was the place where Joshua had communicated something to the Children of Israel, namely, the six maledictions and six benedictions that had been revealed to Eliezer and himself by Moses before his death. The circum­cision hill of the Israelites was nearby, and it, too, was enclosed by a wall.

I saw on this occasion the death of Moses. He died upon a low, but steep peak of Mount Nebo, which rises between Arabia and Moab. The camp of the Israelites flanked the mount, the outposts extending far into the valley around. A growth like ivy covered the whole mount. It was short and crisp, and grew in tufts like the juniper. Moses was obliged to sup­port himself by it when climbing to the top of the peak. Joshua and Eliezer were with him. Moses had a vision from God that his companions saw not. He delivered to Joshua a roll of writing containing six maledictions and six benedictions, which the latter had to publish to the people when in the Promised Land. Then having embraced them, he commanded them to depart and not to look back. When they had gone, Moses cast himself upon his knees with out­stretched arms, and gently sank upon his side dead. I saw the earth open under him and enclose him as in a beautiful grave. When Moses appeared at the


Life of Jesus Christ

 Transfiguration of Jesus on Thabor, I saw that he came from that place. Joshua read the six blessings and six maledictions before the people.

Many of Jesus' friends awaited Him in Gilgal: Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Obed, a son of the widow of Nazareth, and others. There was an inn here, in which they set refreshments before the Lord and His companions after washing their feet.

Before the crowds here assembled, many of whom were on their way to John's baptism, Jesus gave an instruction. The spot chosen for the purpose was near the baths and place of purification built high up on the sloping, terraced shore of an arm of the Jordan. It was shaded by an awning, and all around were pleasure gardens ornamented with trees, shrubs, and green plots. Saturnin and two other disciples who had left John to follow Jesus baptized after Jesus had given an instruction on the Holy Ghost. He taught of the several attributes of the Holy Spirit, and pointed out the marks that distinguish one that has received Him.

John's baptism was preceded by only a summary confession of sins accompanied by proofs of contri­tion and a promise of amendment. But at the bap­tism of Jesus the acknowledgment of sin was not made in this general way. Everyone accused himself individually and mentioned his chief transgressions. Jesus exhorted to sincerity. He frequently proclaimed the sins of those that, through pride or false shame, concealed them thus to lead them to repentance.

Here also Jesus alluded to the passage over the Jordan and the ceremony of circumcision that had here been performed. It was in memory of this lat­ter circumstance that baptism was now administered here and, through its efficacy, He said, they should henceforth be circumcised in their heart. He spoke likewise of the fulfillment of the Law.

The baptized on this occasion were not immersed in the water, they only inclined their head over it;

Jesus in Gilgal


 nor did they put on an entire baptismal garment, a white cloth only was placed on their shoulders. The disciples did not make use of a three-channeled shell like John's; but from the basin over which the neo­phyte inclined, they dipped up the water three times with the hand. Jesus had previously blessed it and poured into it some from His own baptismal well. About thirty were baptized at this time. They ap­peared radiant with joy after the ceremony, and declared that they truly felt that they had now received the Holy Ghost.

Jesus then proceeded with His followers amid the acclamations of the multitude to Gilgal, to celebrate the Sabbath in the synagogue, a very large, old build­ing on the east side of the city. It was a four-cor­nered edifice, longer than broad, the angles filled in in such a way as to give it something of the appear­ance of an octagon. It contained three stories, in each of which was a school. A spiral, exterior flight of steps joined to the wall led up to each, and around each landing ran a little portico. High up in the rounded corners of the building were niches, in which one could stand and view the country far and near. The synagogue stood by itself with gardens cut off on both sides. In front of the entrance was a porch and a teacher's desk similar to that of the Temple in Jerusalem, and there was also an open court con­taining an altar upon which sacrifice had once been offered. There were likewise covered porches for women and children. One could easily detect the sim­ilarity of all these arrangements with those of the Temple, also that the Ark of the Covenant had once rested here and sacrifices had been offered.

The school on the lowest story was the most beau­tiful in its arrangements. At one end, in the spot cor­responding to that occupied by the Holy of Holies in the Temple, stood an octagonal pillar around which were compartments containing rolls of writings. A table encircled the base of the pillar, and below that


Life of Jesus Christ

 was a vault. Here it was that the Ark of the Covenant had once stood. The pillar was very beautiful, of pol­ished white marble.

In the school on the first story, Jesus taught before the priests, the people, and the Doctors of the Law. Among other things He alluded to the fact that here the promised kingdom had been first established, but that idolatry so abominable had been practiced at a later period that scarcely could seven just souls be found among the inhabitants. Ninive, though five times greater, had been able to produce five just. Gilgal had been spared by God, therefore they should not now repulse Him who came to fulfill the Promise: they should do penance and through Baptism be born anew. Then taking the rolls from their places around the pillar, Jesus read and explained them.

After that He taught the young men in the school on the second story, and lastly the boys on the third. Coming down, He delivered another instruction to the women in an open space under a porch, and still another to the young maidens. To these last He spoke of modesty and chastity, of repressing curiosity, of modesty in dress, of veiling the hair, and of cover­ing the head in the Temple and in the synagogue. He reminded them of the presence of God and the angels in holy places, and that the latter themselves veil their face before the Lord. He told them that in the Temple and synagogue there were myriads of angels hovering around the worshippers, and He ex­plained why females should veil the head and hair. The children ran familiarly to Jesus. He blessed them and took them up in His arms. They were very much attached to Him. The joy and jubilation over Jesus were general in this place. As He left the school, the people ran from all sides to meet Him, crying out, and exclaiming: "The Promise is fulfilled! May it remain with us. May it never forsake us!"

When Jesus had finished His instructions, the peo­ple were anxious to bring their sick to Him. But He

Jesus in Gilgal


 dismissed them, saying that it was neither the time nor the place for that, He must now leave them, for He was called elsewhere. Lazarus and the friends from Jerusalem returned to their homes and Jesus took leave of the Blessed Virgin, telling her that He would see her again before He retired into the desert.

The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem again held a long consultation on the subject of Jesus. Everywhere they had spies bribed to give them information of His words and actions. The Sanhedrin consisted of sev­enty-one priests and doctors, of whom twenty were again divided into fives, thus forming so many sub­committees for deliberating and disputing together. They examined the genealogical register, and could in no way deny that Joseph and Mary were of the House of David and Mary's mother of the race of Aaron. But as they said, these families had fallen into obscurity, and Jesus strolled around with vagrants. He also defiled Himself with publicans and heathens, and sought the favor of slaves. They had heard, they said, of the familiar way in which He had spoken lately to the Sichemites, who were return­ing home from their work in the region of Bethle­hem, and they thought that He must have designs to raise an insurrection with the aid of such hang­ers-on. Some gave it as their opinion that He was very likely an illegitimate child, because He had once proclaimed Himself the son of a king. Others declared that He must in some way receive secret training from the devil, for He often retired apart and spent the night alone in the wilderness or on the moun­tains. They knew what they were saying, for they had already inquired into all this. Among these twenty deliberators were some who knew Jesus and His fam­ily very well, who were most favorably inclined toward Him, who were indeed His friends in secret. Nevertheless, they did not contradict what was said against Him. They kept silence in order to be the better able to serve Him and His disciples and to


Life of Jesus Christ

 give them information of whatever might come to their knowledge. The majority of the committee con­cluded at last that Jesus was in communication with the devil from whom He received instruction, and this was the opinion they publicly proclaimed and which was spread throughout Jerusalem.

John's disciples announced to him the baptism that had lately taken place in Gilgal, representing the same as a usurpation of his rights. But in deepest humility John again repeated what he had often told them before; viz., that he would soon give place to his Lord, whose herald and precursor he had been. The disciples could not rightly understand his words.

With about twenty followers, Jesus left Gilgal and moved on to the Jordan which He crossed on a raft. All around on the beams of the raft were seats, and in the center two concave spaces in which they were accustomed to stand the camels that they might not slip between the beams into the water. Three camels could be so accommodated; but now there were none on board, the Lord and His disciples being the only passengers. It was night, and lighted torches stood in the hollow spaces. Jesus related the parable of the sower which, on the following day, He explained. The passage over the river occupied fifteen minutes at least, for the current at this point was very strong. They had to row some distance up the river, and then drift down to the spot at which they intended to land, and which was not directly opposite their starting point. The Jordan is a singular river; it cannot be crossed at all in many places, and its steep shores are pathless. It makes frequent and sudden bends, and often appears to flow straight past a place around which it is, in reality, running. Its bed in many places is rocky and its course consequently arrested. Its waters encircle numerous islands as they flow some­times troubled, sometimes clear, according to the nature of its bed, here and there forming falls. The water of the Jordan is soft and tepid.

Jesus with the Publicans


They landed near the settlement of the publicans. A highroad from the region of Kedar passed nearby and there, too, a lovely valley took its rise. The pub­licans, who had already received John's baptism, entertained Jesus; but several of His followers, sur­prised at their Master's intimacy with these despised people, stood shyly aloof. Jesus and His disciples spent the night here, accepting hospitality from the publicans, who were most deferential to them. Their houses stood on the side of the road that ran through the valley and not far from the Jordan; somewhat further on was the inn for the accommodation of merchants and their camels. There were many tar­rying here at the time, on account of the next day's feast, that of Tabernacles; for although most of them were pagans, yet they were obliged to observe the festivals as days of rest. The publicans questioned Jesus as to how they should restore their unjustly acquired goods. He told them that they should be taken to the Temple, which however He meant only spiritually, for in reality He designated thereby His own community, the Church. There should, He said, be purchased with it a field near Jerusalem for the support of poor widows, and He explained to them why a field, illustrating by the parable of the sower.

Next day Jesus walked with them on the shore and in the country around, teaching again of the sower and the future harvest. He took His text from the feast of Tabernacles, which was then beginning, and which commemorated the vintage as well as the ingathering of the fruits of the field. From the pub­lican village, Jesus pressed on further through the valley. On either side of the mountain slope, for the distance of half an hour perhaps, were rows of houses in which the Feast of Tabernacles was being cele­brated. These houses extended as far as Dibon in the environs of which indeed they appeared to be. By their side were erected the booths formed of green branches of trees and adorned with bushes, festoons,


Life of Jesus Christ

 and clusters of grapes. On one side of the road were the tabernacles and the little tents of the women; on the other, the huts in which the animals were slaughtered. All the food was carried across the road. The children, adorned with garlands, went in bands from one tabernacle to another, singing and playing upon musical instruments. These last consisted of triangles furnished with rings which they tinkled, triangles spanned by cords, and a wind instrument from which arose spiral tubes.

Jesus paused here and there to teach. Refresh­ments were offered to Him and His disciples, grapes on sticks, two clusters on each. At the further end of this row of houses stood an inn which Jesus entered. Not far from the inn, between it and Dibon, was a broad, open space in the middle of the road. Here, surrounded by trees, arose the large and beautiful synagogue of Dibon.

On the next day Jesus taught in the synagogue, taking again the parable of the sower, alluding to the baptism and the nearness of the Kingdom of God. He spoke also of the feast of Tabernacles and of its celebration here, taking occasion to reprove the peo­ple for mixing up heathenish customs in their ser­vices, for some of the Moabites still dwelt in this place, and with them the Jewish people had intimate relations. When Jesus left the synagogue, He found in the open court numbers of sick who had been borne thither on litters. They cried out as soon as they saw Him: "Lord, Thou hast been sent from God! Thou canst help us! Help us, Lord!" He cured many. That evening a banquet was prepared in the inn for Jesus and His followers. There were many of the heathen merchants near Jesus when He spoke of the call of the Gentiles, of the star that had appeared in the Land of the Kings, and of their going to visit the Child. Jesus left the place that night alone and went to pray on the mountain. He had engaged to meet His disciples the following morning on the road

Jesus at Dibon and Socoth


 at the other side of Dibon. Dibon was six hours dis­tant from Gilgal. It was rich in fountains and mead­ows, gardens and terraces, for it lay in the valley and up both sides of the mountain.

Jesus next went to Socoth where He arrived toward evening. An innumerable multitude gathered around Him, among them many sick. He taught in the syn­agogue, and allowed Saturnin and four other disci­ples to administer baptism. It took place at a spring in a rocky grotto facing westward toward the Jor­dan which, however, could not be seen from it as a hill intervened. But the spring was fed from the deep waters of the river. The light fell into the grotto from apertures in the roof. In front of it was an extensive pleasure garden beautifully laid out with small trees, aromatic shrubs, and well-kept lawns. In it was an ancient memorial stone commemorative of an appari­tion of Melchisedech to Abraham.

Jesus taught here of John's baptism, which He called a baptism of penance, and which would soon be discontinued. In its stead would be received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the remission of sin. He received from them a kind of general confession of their sins, and then some separately disclosed their predominant passions and transgressions. Many trembled at hearing Jesus accusing them of sins that they thought secret. After the confession Jesus laid His hands upon them as if giving absolution. They were not immersed when receiving baptism. A large basin of water was placed on Abraham's memorial stone, and over it the neophytes bowed with bared shoulders. The baptizers poured the water thrice from the hollow of their hand over the heads of the bap­tized, who were very numerous at this place.

Abraham had once dwelt at Socoth with his nurse Maraha, and had owned fields in three different local­ities. Even here he had begun to share with Lot. It was here that Melchisedech first appeared to Abra­ham in the same way as did the angels. Melchisedech


Life of Jesus Christ

 commanded him a threefold sacrifice of doves, long beaked birds, and other animals, promising to come again and offer bread and wine in sacrifice. He told him what was going to happen to Sodom and to Lot, and pointed out to him several graces for which he should pray. Melchisedech at that time had no longer an earthly abode at Salem. Jacob also dwelt at Socoth.

From Socoth Jesus proceeded to Great Chorazin where, at an inn near the city, He had appointed to meet His Mother and the holy women. On the way thither He passed through Gersas where He kept the Sabbath, after which He went to an inn in the desert some hours from the Sea of Galilee. The pro­prietors dwelt nearby. The inn was still adorned as for the feast of Tabernacles, for the holy women had rented it some days previously and put all things in order. The necessary provisions were brought at their expense from Gerasa. Peter's wife was with them, also Susanna of Jerusalem, and all the others except­ing Veronica. Jesus had an interview with His Mother alone. He told her that He was now on His way to Bethania, whence He would retire to the desert. Mary was grave and anxious. She begged Him not to go to Jerusalem for awhile, for she had heard of the council convened on His account.

Later on Jesus gave an instruction. The place cho­sen for it was a hill upon which was a stone seat formerly used for the same purpose. There were rows of people from the surrounding country and about thirty women present. They stood apart from the men. After the instruction Jesus told His followers that He must now leave them for a time and that they, as well as the women, should disband until His return. He spoke of John's baptism soon to cease, and of the bitter persecution awaiting Him and His.

Jesus left the inn with about twenty disciples and followers, and journeyed some twelve hours south­west toward the city of Aruma near which an inn for Him and His friends was always in readiness.

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

This document is: ACE_1_0461

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_1_0441 List of documents Next document: ACE_1_0481
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)