Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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Jesus in Capharnaum


 Again were brought to Him the sick, of whom He cured many, and again did messengers come to invite Him to other places. There were at this time some very ill-disposed Pharisees around Him and they contradicted Him on several points. They asked Him what would come of all that excitement, for the whole country was in commotion on His account, since He was teaching publicly and daily swelling the num­bers of His followers. Jesus rebuked them severely, and told them that He was about to teach and act still more openly.

On that evening began a fast in commemoration of the great victory gained by the other tribes over that of Benjamin, on account of some shameful trans­gression. I saw that in the country of Phasael, where Jesus had lately raised to life the daughter of Jairus, as also in Aruma, Givea, etc., this day was kept with special strictness, since they had been the theater of those events. I saw that the women in those places made a certain offering and took a prominent part in the fast of atonement.

That night Jesus, with Andrew, Peter, the sons of Mary Cleophas and of Zebedee, was conducted by Nathanael Chased to Gennabris, his own dwelling place. Nathanael had established there an inn for Jesus. He did not enter Nathanael's house which, however, He passed on the way to the city. Nathanael the bridegroom and his wife also visited Caphar­naum and Jezrael at this time.

The place of Baptism near Ono was guarded in turn by the inhabitants. Jesus taught in Gennabris and cured some raging possessed. A road for traffic ran through the city. The inhabitants were not so docile as those nearer the lake. Although they did not openly contradict Jesus, yet many received His teaching coldly.

Besides the future Apostles, Jonathan, Peter's half-brother, was also in Gennabris. The other Apostles had scattered around Capharnaum and Bethsaida


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 relating all that they had seen and heard of Jesus.

From Gennabris Jesus went with the future Apos­tles to Bethulia, about three hours distant, five from Tiberias, and not far from Jezrael. It lay on a height so steep that one might fancy it was ready to top­ple down at any moment. The fragments of its walls were so broad that a wagon could be driven on them. The road from here to Nazareth passed Mount Tha­bor, from which it was only a couple of hours to the south.

Nathanael Chased had at this time given over his office in Gennabris to his brother, or cousin. He was, for the future, to follow Jesus.

When Jesus entered Bethulia, the possessed began to cry after Him on the street. On arriving at the marketplace, He stood still near a teacher's chair and sent some of His disciples with directions to the superior of the synagogue to have the doors on all sides of the school opened. Others were sent from house to house to call the occupants to the instruc­tion. The synagogue was surrounded by doors between the columns, and it was customary to throw them open when the crowd was exceptionally great. Jesus taught here of the tiny grain of wheat that must be cast into the earth. During His stay He abode in an inn that had been prepared for Him. The Pharisees here did not indeed openly contra­dict' but they murmured, and Jesus knew that they did so, because they feared He would celebrate the Sabbath among them. He told His disciples this, and that He would keep it about a couple of hours fur­ther on, at a place to the northwest toward Thabor. I cannot now recall the name of that place, but the inhabitants were engaged in dyeing silk for fringes and tassels.

Jesus also cured the sick there. All the disciples that had remained behind met here again.

As Jesus, on account of the murmuring of the Phar­isees, left Bethulia, He taught outside of the city at

Jesus at Kisloth


 the distance of about a quarter of an hour where there was a teacher's chair of stone. Ruined walls lay around, and the place looked as if it might once have belonged to the city proper. At about three in the afternoon, Jesus arrived at Kisloth, which was almost three hours distant, at the foot of Mount Tha­bor. Andrew and the others had preceded Him in order to arrange the inn. A great multitude from the whole country around had gathered at Kisloth, among them numbers of shepherds with their crooks and merchants on their way from Sidon and Tyre. Jesus' miracles and preaching were already noised throughout the land. All crowded to the places where He taught; and when it became known that He pur­posed celebrating the Sabbath at Kisloth, they flocked thither to hear Him.

Wherever Jesus now appeared great excitement prevailed. They called after Him, cast themselves down before Him, and pressed around Him in order to be able to touch Him; consequently He came and went suddenly and unexpectedly, thus to escape the crowd. Frequently He separated from His disciples on the road, sent them by another route, and went on Himself alone. In the towns and villages, they often had to open a way for Him through the crowd. Nevertheless He permitted many to draw near and touch Him, and many a one was thereby interiorly aroused, converted, or cured.

In the evening Jesus retired to the inn prepared for Him by the disciples outside of Kisloth-Thabor, where He had already been twice before. Kisloth was perhaps seven hours from Nazareth, though in a direct line about five. As the roads of this country are so winding, running as they do through the val­leys, and as the inhabitants determine distances sometimes by the length of the roads between two places, and sometimes by what it might appear to one gazing down from the mountains, their statis­tics on that point seldom agree. Galilee was thickly


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 dotted with cities and towns, but from no elevated point could more than a few be seen.

Kisloth-Thabor was chiefly a commercial mart in which were some rich merchants and a great number of poor people. Many of them were dyers of raw silk which was afterward manufactured into fringes and tassels for sacred vestments. These dyers in earlier times were found principally at Tyre on the sea, but later many of them removed here. The rich merchants employed the poor in their facto­ries. I saw here likewise some people who appeared to be slaves.

The disciples, with thick ropes run through stakes, had cut off a space in front of the inn in order to keep back the crowd. It was from that space that Jesus preached. As among His audience there were many of the rich merchants from the city, He taught upon riches and the danger attending the love of gain. Their position, He told them, was more per­ilous than that of the publicans, who more easily than they would reform. Saying these words, Jesus pointed to the ropes that separated Him from the crowd, and uttered the words: "A rope like one of those would go more easily into the eye of a nee­dle than a rich man into the Kingdom of Heaven." The ropes were camel's hair, as thick as one's arm, and drawn four times through the stakes around the enclosure. The rich people defended themselves by saying that they gave alms out of all their prof­its. But Jesus replied that alms that have been expressed from the sweat of the poor bring down no blessing. This instruction was not pleasing to His hearers.

Kisloth was a Levitical city made over by the tribe of Zabulon to the Levites of the race of Mer­ari. The most celebrated school of the whole coun­try was here. It was very large and all its exercises were conducted with solemnity. When on the Sab­bath Jesus taught in the synagogue, the priests

Jesus Teaches and Cures


 assisted at the discourse. They handed Him the rolls of Scripture or read the passages that He indicated, upon which He questioned and explained. There was also singing, but not of the Pharisaical kind. I heard the voice of Jesus sweetly sounding among all the others, but I do not remember having heard Him singing alone.

Next morning Jesus taught in the school of Kisloth. Andrew instructed the children in an adjacent hall, and recounted to the strangers crowding in all that he had seen and heard of Jesus. Jesus took for His subject vanity and presumption. He performed no cures that day because, as He said, they thought themselves better than others, and attributed to their own merit His coming to teach in their city; whereas He would have them know that He had been led thereto by His know ledge of their misery and His desire to humble and convert them.

The preaching ended, Jesus went out into the court in front of the synagogue, in which there were little cells belonging to it. They were like sentry boxes in a courtyard. Here, He cured of convulsions and other ills numerous children brought to Him by their moth­ers. He cured them because they were innocent. He cured several women also who humbled themselves before Him, saying: "Lord, hearken to my fault, my transgression!" They cast themselves down in the hall before Him and bewailed their sins. Among them were some afflicted with a bloody flux, and others tormented by evil inclinations from which they implored to be freed.

That evening Jesus celebrated the Sabbath in the school and afterward ate at the inn. His future Apos­tles and intimate friends were with Him at the same table, and the disciples not engaged in serving were in adjoining apartments. The next day He celebrated the Sabbath in the synagogue, and in front of it healed many sick. He also visited and cured in their homes many that could not be carried to Him. The


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 disciples assisted Jesus in this, bringing the sick, leading them to Him, raising them up, and making room for them. They executed His commissions and delivered His messages.

All the travelling expenses, as well as the alms, were up to the present furnished by Lazarus, and Simeon's son Obed kept the accounts.

The little cells before the synagogue that looked like sentry boxes were in the courtyard where, through a grating, the women spoke in private to Jesus. It was the custom for female sinners, peni­tents, or women that had contracted legal impurity to receive in these cells consolation from the priests.

There was no city upon Mount Thabor, but there were bulwarks, walls, and something like a vacant fortress, whither at times the troops retired. On the evening after the Sabbath, Jesus and His most inti­mate disciples, the future Apostles, were entertained by a Pharisee who had been touched and converted by the teaching of Jesus. Next day Jesus, with His disciples, was present at a great banquet, given in His honor in the public feast hall by the most dis­tinguished men of the place. Jesus taught here also, and on the same evening left the city for Jezrael, which was not much more than three hours' distance from Kisloth-Thabor.

In Jezrael, Jesus' relatives and the disciples from Bethsaida, including Andrew and Nathanael, took leave of Him in order to visit their homes. He indi­cated to them where they should again meet. About fifteen of the younger disciples still remained with Him while He taught here and performed some cures. There were all kinds of religious and secular schools in Jezrael, for it was a large city. Jesus took Naboth's vineyard for the subject of one of His discourses.

From Jezrael Jesus went one hour and a half southward to a field in a valley, two hours long and as many broad, wherein were numerous orchards surrounded by low hedges. It was an uncommonly

Jesus Teaching Near Jezrael


 productive and charming fruit region. There were numerous tents here standing in couples at differ­ent intervals, and occupied by people from Sichar who guarded and gathered in the fruit. I think it was a kind of service that they were obliged to take turns in rendering. About four occupied one tent. The women dwelt together apart from the men, for whom they did the cooking. Jesus instructed these people under a tent. There were here most beauti­ful springs and abundant streams, which flowed into the Jordan. The principal source came from Jezrael. It formed in the valley a charming spring, over which a kind of chapel was built. From this spring house the stream divided into several oth­ers throughout the vale, united with other waters, and at last emptied into the Jordan. There were about thirty custodians whom Jesus instructed, the women remaining at some distance. He taught of the slavery of sin, from which they should free them­selves. They were inexpressibly rejoiced and touched that He had come to them. He was so loving and condescending to these poor people that I had to shed tears myself over it. They set before Jesus and the disciples fruit, of which they ate. In some parts of the valley the fruit was already ripe, in others the trees were only in blossom. There were some brown fruits like figs, but growing in clusters like grapes, also yellow plants from which they prepared a kind of pap.1 In this valley rises Mount Gilboa, and here also was Saul slain in battle against the Philistines.

1. From the description, we may presume that the plant to which Sister Emmerich alludes was a species of maize; and the brown fruits were, very probably, the fruit of the date palm. She mentioned likewise dur­rha and several plants used as salads. The whole region south of Jezrael she describes as teeming with fruitfulness.


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11. Jesus in Sunem, Ulama, and Capharnaum

In the evening Jesus went through Jezrael and about three hours further to Sunem, an open place on a hill. Some of the disciples had gone on before, in order to make arrangements with the landlord of the inn at the entrance of the city. The fertile val­ley through which Jesus had just passed lay to the south of Jezrael. He went through a part of Jezrael without attracting notice, and then turned north­ward toward Sunem. Near this city, that is at a dis­tance of one to two hours, are two others, one of which Jesus had passed on His way from Kisloth-Thabor to Jezrael.

The inhabitants of Sunem depended upon weav­ing for their livelihood. They wove narrow edging of twisted silk, plain or interspersed with flowers. Sunem did not lie in the vale of Esdrelon, but rather where the mountains took their rise.

The multitude that here pressed around Jesus was simply astonishing, and it was ever on the increase. The people surrounded Him everywhere, cast themselves down before Him, crying and shout­ing that a new Prophet had arisen, One sent by God! Many were sincere in their acclamations, but oth­ers followed through curiosity and shouted merely to swell the noise. The crowd was so dense that it was almost like an insurrection, and because here in Galilee the excitement was daily increasing, Jesus resolved soon to leave it. Sunem was the native city of the beautiful Abisag who had served David in his old age. Eliseus also had had an inn here at which he frequently stopped and in which he had recalled the dead son of his hostess to life. A vision of the same was vouchsafed me, that I might know the place. This city possessed also a free inn for certain travelers. It had been founded as a memorial of Eliseus. I know not, however, whether it was the

Jesus Teaching in Sunem


 house that the Prophet once occupied, or whether it was another built upon the same site. Jesus taught on this day in the synagogue and visited many of the houses to console and cure the sick. Sunem was built rather irregularly around a hill whose summit overlooked the city. A road led up the hill. The houses upon it decreased in size with the ascent, the high­est being mere huts. The top of the hill was crowned by an open space upon which stood a teacher's seat. It was surrounded by palings over which an awning could be stretched for protection from the sun.

When Jesus, on the morning of the following day, started with His disciples for the teacher's chair, the whole place was alive with excitement. They had brought numbers of sick in litters, and had placed them all along the road leading up the hill. Jesus ascended through the clamoring multitude, healing as He went. The people had mounted to the roofs, the better to see and hear all that He would do and say. From the teacher's chair on the top of the hill the view was magnificent, stretching off toward Tha­bor. Jesus inveighed against the pride and presump­tion of the Sunemites who, instead of being converted, doing penance, and keeping the Commandments of God, broke forth into vain shouts over the Prophet that had come among them, the Sent from God, for they attributed His coming as an honor due their own merit, whereas He had come in order to con­vince them of their sins.

About three in the afternoon Jesus left Sunem. Taking a northerly direction, He reached, in about three hours, a large and closely built city with a less ancient appearance than Sunem. It was enclosed by walls so broad that trees flourished upon them. This city was called Ulama and was about five hours southeast of Thabor. Arbela was about two hours to the north. The rough roads of the surrounding moun­tains were covered with sharp, white pebbles, on which account there were made in Ulama numbers


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 of soles to bind as a protection under the feet. The city was built on a mountain, surrounded by other mountains, and in an altogether impassable region. Vines covered those mountains from base to sum­mit. I have seen upon them plants as high as a tree, their tangled branches as thick as one's arm. They produce large, pyriform fruits like gourds, and from them flasks are made.1 Ulama did not appear so old as other cities; indeed, there was something about it that even made it look unfinished. The in­habitants did not bear the stamp of old Jewish sim­plicity, they appeared to be aiming at greater culture and refinement. It was as if the Romans or some other nation had formerly sojourned among them. Here as elsewhere, the concourse of people was very great, for they knew that Jesus was about to cele­brate the Sabbath in Ulama. Several of the disci­ples had rejoined Jesus, among them Peter's half-brother Jonathan and the sons of the widows. They numbered, in all, twenty. Peter, Andrew, John, James the Less, Nathanael Chased, and Nathanael the bridegroom had also come. Jesus had directed them to do so that they might hear His instructions and assist Him in His ministrations to the sick, ren­dered difficult by the turbulence of the multitude. The people had found out the way by which Jesus was to come, and they went forth to welcome Him, carrying green branches and strewing leaves. They had stretched across the road long strips of stuff which they lowered for Him to step over, while shouts of joy proclaimed the advent of the Prophet. The chief officers of the place maintained order and for­mally saluted Jesus in the name of the city. There were in Ulama many possessed, who clamored vio­lently after Jesus and shouted His name. But He commanded them to be silent. Even at the inn they

1. Probably a large species of bottle gourd, the Calabash, not known to Sister Emmerich. Our supposition is confirmed by her words: "It forms no real wood."

Jesus Teaching in Ulama


 allowed Him no rest. They ran about raging and screaming, until He again ordered them to be silent and had them removed.

Ulama had three schools: one of jurisprudence; another for youths; and the third, the synagogue. Jesus entered different houses, to cure and to con­sole. Then He taught in the school, speaking espe­cially upon simplicity and of the respect due to parents; for in both of these particulars the people of this place were wanting. He rebuked them severely also for their pride. Vain at the thought of a Prophet's coming among them, they were by their pre­sumption depriving themselves of the benefits attached to these days of penance and instruction.

The Sabbath over, the distinguished men of the place gave Jesus an entertainment in the grand public hall. The Apostles and disciples that had gone home limited themselves to a mere visit to their relatives. They had then called upon Mary, with whom the holy women were becoming more and more intimate.

The Baptist was still in the same place, his fol­lowers constantly diminishing. Herod had several times been to see him and had frequently sent his officers for the same purpose.

At nine o'clock on the morning after the Sabbath, Jesus went with His disciples to a mountain along which was a pleasure garden or bathing place, about a quarter of an hour from the city. The garden was almost as large as the cemetery of Dulmen.2 It had pavilions and little summer houses, a beautiful foun­tain, and a place for instruction. Jesus had directed the sick, of whom there were numbers, to be trans­ported thither from the city, for He could not, on account of the crowd, cure in the latter place. The disciples busied themselves in the maintenance of order, and the sick on their litters were placed around

2. Dülmen, the little town in which Sister Emmerich's last years were spent.


Life of Jesus Christ

 under tents and in the pavilions. The crowds that followed from the city were so great that many could not even reach the garden. The magistrates and priests also kept order. Jesus passed from litter to litter curing many. When I say many, I generally mean about thirty. When I say a few or several, I mean about ten. Jesus taught and alluded to the death of Moses, whose anniversary would soon be celebrated by a fast day, when their food already cooked would be placed under the ashes, and when they would eat, as was usual on such days, a par­ticular kind of bread. He also referred to the Promised Land and its fertility, which was to be understood not only of the material sustenance of the body, but also of the spiritual nourishment of the soul; for it was also fruitful in Prophets and oracles from God, the fruit of which would be penance and the salva­tion promised to all that would embrace it.

This instruction ended, I saw Jesus going into a building nearby wherein the possessed had been assembled. He entered to find them raging and shout­ing. They were for the most part young people, some of them only children. Jesus caused them to be placed in a row, commanded silence, and with one word freed them from the evil spirit. Some of them fell faint­ing. Their parents and friends were present, and to all Jesus addressed some words of exhortation and instruction.

After Jesus had taught in the synagogue, He left the city unnoticed, the disciples having gone before Him. He knew how to manage that. Without enter­ing any of the cities on the way, they proceeded toward Capharnaum. Jesus was about to leave Galilee on account of the great excitement there pre­vailing. He travelled with the disciples the livelong night, and arrived at His Mother's in the morning. Peter's wife and sister were there, also the bride of Cana and other women. The house that Mary occu­pied here was for the most part like its neighbors

Jesus Visits His Mother


 and very roomy. She was never alone. The widows lived nearby and the women from Bethsaida and Capharnaum, between which these houses were, gathered around her as also one or other of the dis­ciples. I saw them keeping the fast with signs of mourning, the women being veiled. Jesus taught in the synagogue of Capharnaum, the disciples and holy women being present.

Capharnaum was situated, measuring in a straight line over the mountain, about one hour from the Sea of Galilee, but two hours if one went through the valley and through Bethsaida on the south. About a good half-hour on the road from Capharnaum to Bethsaida were the houses, in one of which Mary dwelt. A beautiful stream flows from Capharnaum to the lake. Near Bethsaida it branched off into sev­eral arms, rendering the land very fruitful. Mary conducted no household, she owned neither cattle nor fields. She lived as a widow upon the gifts of her friends, engaged in spinning, sewing, knitting with little wooden needles, praying, consoling, and instructing the other women.

Jesus, on the day of His arrival, had a private interview with His Mother. She wept over the great danger threatening Him on account of the excite­ment everywhere produced by His teachings and miracles, for she had been informed of all the mur­murs and calumnies uttered against Him by those that would not presume to say them to His face. But Jesus told her that His time was come, that He would soon leave those parts and go down to Judea where, after the Pasch, still greater vexation would arise on His account.

That evening there began in Capharnaum a feast of thanksgiving for rain. The synagogue and other public buildings were gaily ornamented with young green trees and pyramids of foliage, while from the galleries on the roof of the synagogue and other large edifices, a wonderful, many-toned instrument was


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 sounded. The servants of the synagogue, people like our sextons, played on it. It looked like a bag about four feet in length in which were several pipes and trumpet mouthpieces. When the bag was not dis­tended with wind, these pipes and tubes lay together, one upon another. But when it was inflated by the breath of a man blowing into one of the mouthpieces, two other men raised it up and (either by blowing the breath, or by means of a bellows) introduced air into it. Then by opening and closing the different valves of the pipes, which arose in several directions, a shrill-sounding, many-voiced tone was produced. Those standing at the side of the instrument blew into it at certain intervals.

Jesus delivered in the synagogue an extremely touching discourse upon rain and drought. In it He told of Elias, who prayed on Mt. Carmel for rain and six times questioned his servant as to what he saw. The seventh time, the servant replied that he saw a little cloud rising out of the sea. It became larger and larger until at last it bore rain to the whole country. Then Elias journeyed through the whole land. Jesus applied those seven questionings of Elias to the space of time before the fulfillment of the Promise. The cloud He explained as a symbol of the present and the rain as an image of the coming of the Mes­siah, whose teaching should spread everywhere and bear new life to all. Whoever thirsted should now drink, and whoever had prepared his field should now receive rain. This was said so touchingly, so impressively that all His hearers, as well as Mary and the other holy women, wept.

The people of Capharnaum were at that time very well disposed. There were three priests attached to the synagogue and near it was the house in which they dwelt. Jesus and His intimate disciples often took their meals with them, for a certain degree of hospitality was always extended to the teacher who had taught in the synagogue.

Jesus in Dothain


That evening and early the next morning, I heard them playing again on that wonderful instrument. The feast was celebrated all the next day, but only by the children and young people, who enjoyed them­selves heartily. The evening of the feast, Jesus took leave of the disciples related to Him, as also those from Bethsaida, because early the next day He was to depart from Capharnaum and go down into Judea. He took with Him only about twelve, those from Nazareth, those from Jerusalem, and those that had come from John.

12. Jesus in Dothain and Sephoris. From a Distance, He Helps the Shipwrecked

After the Feast of Thanksgiving Jesus, with about twelve disciples, travelled in a southeasterly direc­tion from Capharnaum, as if between Cana and Sephoris. Mary and eight of the holy women, among them Mary Cleophas, the three widows, the bride of Cana, and Peter's sister, accompanied Him to a lit­tle city where they took a meal together and then parted from Him. In the neighborhood of this place was the pit into which Joseph was cast by his brethren. The place was called Dothain. But there was another and a much larger Dothain in the vale of Esdrelon, about four hours to the north of Samaria. This Dothain was a little place, and the people lived chiefly by providing for the wants of the merchants travelling through their city. It lay at the end of a little valley large enough to afford pasturage for about eighty head of cattle. At the other side stood that great building in which Jesus had once calmed the possessed; this time He did not enter. Dothain is an hour and a half northeast of Sephoris and between four and five hours from Mt. Thabor.

The disciples had gone on before, to prepare the inn. About eight men, some of them priests, came


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 out to meet Jesus and the holy women, and escort them to the public hall of entertainment. No one lived in it, but already everything was prepared for a repast. Before the entrance there was spread in honor of Jesus a carpet upon which He had to walk. They washed His feet. The women ate apart, back of the fireplace. Jesus and the disciples reclined at table and partook of only cold viands, such as little rolls and honey, green salad steeped in sauce, and fruits. Their drink was water mixed with balsam. Little flasks of the same were presented to Jesus and the women to take away with them. The priests from the city remained standing during the repast and served the guests with uncommon love and humil­ity, while Jesus spoke of Joseph, who had here been sold. It was an indescribably touching scene. I could not restrain my tears. It appeared to me so strange that I should behold it so near to me, and yet could not enter as I so longed to do. I wanted to do this and that, but I could not. Immediately after the repast, the holy women departed for Capharnaum.

Jesus took leave of His Mother in private, and then bade goodbye to the others. I have remarked that when alone Jesus always embraced His Mother on His arrival or departure, but before others He merely extended His hand or inclined His head. Mary wept. She was still very youthful looking, tall and delicately built. Her forehead was very high, her nose rather long, her eyes very large and mildly down­cast, her lips of a beautiful red, her complexion rather dark, but beautiful, and her cheeks lightly tinged with the color of the rose.

Jesus tarried a while longer teaching in the inn, and the men, who would accept no remuneration for the repast, accompanied Him on His departure as far as Joseph's Well, which was at that time not such as it was when Joseph was let down into it. Then it was only an empty pit, its mouth surrounded by green bushes and vines, but now it was a spacious,

Jesus Goes to Sephoris


 four-cornered reservoir, like a little pool, under a roof supported by pillars. It was full of water and in it was kept an abundance of fish. I saw some that lifted their heads up so curiously, not pointed like those we see. But they were not so large as similar ones in the Sea of Galilee. There was no visible supply of water to the well. There was a fence around it, and it was guarded by people living near. Jesus entered the springhouse with His companions. The whole way He had taught of Joseph and his brethren, and He continued the same discourse at the well, which I saw Him blessing as He left. His escort now returned to Dothain, while He and His disciples went on for about a good hour to Sephoris, where He stopped with the sons of Anne's sister.

Sephoris was built on a mountain in the midst of mountains. It was larger than Capharnaum, and there were many separate residences standing around in the environs. Jesus was not very well received by the Doctors of the synagogue, and I heard wicked people, of whom there were many in this city, calum­niating Him, saying that He was wandering about instead of staying with His Mother. Jesus performed no cures here, and held Himself very much aloof; still, on the Sabbath He preached in the synagogue and went to an inn nearby for His meals. He visited many private individuals and families, principally Essenians, however, whom He exhorted and consoled, for many of the wicked inhabitants ridiculed and slandered them, on account of their affection for Him. Jesus told several of those that lived in the envi­rons, as also some of His own relatives, not to fol­low Him just then, but to remain His friends in secret, and to continue their good works until the end of His career. His relatives did much good here and contributed also to the support of the Blessed Virgin, to whom they sent all kinds of necessaries. I saw Jesus conversing with these different families in so affectionate and intimate a way that I have no


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 words to describe it. His deportment, so full of love, touched me to tears.

That night I saw something else that appeared to me surprising and inexpressibly affecting. There hap­pened on that night a great windstorm in the Holy Land, and I saw Jesus with many others in prayer. He prayed with outstretched hands that danger might be averted. Then I had a glance at the Sea of Galilee, which was lashed by the tempest, the ships of Peter, Andrew, and Zebedee being in distress. The Apostles were, as I saw, asleep in Bethania, their servants alone being on the ships. And lo! As Jesus stood praying, I saw an apparition of Him there upon the ships, now on one, now on the other, and then again upon the raging billows. It was as if He were laboring among them, holding back the vessels, ward­ing off the danger. He was not there in person, for I did not see Him going, but He stood above the suf­ferers, He hovered on the waves. The sailors did not see Him, for it was His spirit assisting them in prayer. Nobody knew anything about His being there, though He was really helping them. Perhaps the sailors believed in Him and called on Him for help.

13. Jesus in Nazareth. The Three Youths. The Feast of Purim.

From Sephoris Jesus took a byway around some country houses to Nazareth about two hours distant, teaching and consoling as He went. Among the disciples now with Him were two or three youths, sons of Essenian widows. Arrived at Nazareth, He put up with some acquaintances, and without being remarked visited several good people. The Pharisees, with an outward show of respect but inwardly full of malice, called upon Jesus to ask Him what He now purposed doing and why He did not stay with His Mother, which questions He answered gravely and sharply. Preparations were going on all around

The Feast of Purim


 for the fast day observed in remembrance of Esther, also for that of the Feast of Purim immediately to follow. Jesus taught very zealously in the synagogue.

That night I again saw Jesus praying with out­stretched arms, and again appearing on the Sea of Galilee to bear help in a storm. This time the dis­tress was much greater, and many more vessels were in danger. I saw Jesus laying His hand on the helm without the helmsman's seeing Him. The three rich youths of Nazareth who had once before vainly proffered their petition to Him to be received as disci­ples came to Him again, reiterating their request. They almost knelt to Him, but He sent them away after pointing out certain conditions that had to be fulfilled before He would allow them to join His disci­ples. Jesus knew well that their views were wholly terrestrial, and that they could not understand Him. They wanted to follow Him because they saw in Him a philosopher, a learned Rabbi. After a time spent in His school, they could, as they thought, shine with a more brilliant reputation and do honor to their city Nazareth. They were besides somewhat vexed at see­ing Him giving the preference to the poor sons of Nazareth rather than to themselves.

Until far into the night I saw Jesus with the old Essenian, Eliud of Nazareth. The holy man looked as if he would soon die of old age. He was no longer able for much, indeed he was almost bedridden. Jesus leaned on His arm at the bedside and talked with him. Eliud was entirely absorbed in God.

At the commencement of the Feast of Purim, a musical instrument, which stood on three feet, was again played on the roof of the synagogue. It was hol­low with pipes running through it, the ends extend­ing both above and below. By pushing the pipes in and out, the music was produced. Children also were playing on harps and flutes. Today in commemora­tion of Esther, the women and young maidens enjoyed certain rights and privileges in the synagogue. They


Life of Jesus Christ

 were not separated from the men, they could even approach where the priests were. There was a pro­cession in the synagogue of children dressed fanci­fully, some in white, others in red. Then a maiden entered wearing around her neck an ornament some­what frightful looking. It was a blood-red circle around her throat, as if she had been beheaded, and from it hung on her white garments, numerous knots of blood-red threads like so many streaks of blood from the wounded neck. She wore a magnificent man­tle borne by train-bearers, and appeared to be enact­ing the principal part in some drama. Children and maidens followed her. She wore a high, pointed orna­ment on the forepart of her head and a long veil. In her hand she carried something, whether a sword or a scepter, I do not know. She was tall, and a maiden of great beauty. I do not know for certain what dis­tinguished character she represented. It might, I think, have been Esther, or again, Judith, though not that Judith who slew Holofernes, for there was with her a maiden, who carried a beautiful basket con­taining presents for the chief priest. She presented to him many precious little shields, such as the priests wore sometimes on the forehead or the breast. In one corner of the synagogue, concealed by a curtain, lay upon a bed of state the effigy of a man, whose head the maiden struck off and took to the chief priest. Then, making use of the privilege granted to females on that day, she rebuked the priests for the principal faults they had committed during the year. That done, she withdrew. This privilege to rebuke the priests belonged to the women on certain other feasts also.

In the synagogue they read in turn from separate rolls the Book of Esther, Jesus also taking His turn to read. The Jews, especially the children, had little wooden tablets with hammers. When they pulled a string, the hammer struck a name inscribed on the tablet, while at the same time holders uttered some

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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