Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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Catastrophe in the Holy City


 in secret, had sought help from Herod. The master workmen sent by the latter were likewise Herodians. At Herod's instigation, they designedly carried on the building in such a way that the whole structure would necessarily fall at once. By this cat­astrophe, they intended to embitter the Jews still more against Pilate. The foundation was broad, but hollow, and the structure arose tapering, but heavy. When the disaster happened, the eighteen Herodi­ans were standing upon a terrace opposite the build­ing. They had commanded the wooden scaffolding over which it had been arched to be drawn out, for that now all was solid. The poor laborers were crowded on all parts of the high arches busily work­ing. Suddenly all split asunder, the huge walls came toppling down, and cries went up on all sides. Crash after crash was heard, and clouds of dust swept over the whole region. Many little dwellings were crushed by the falling stones, as well as a number of labor­ers and others at the foot of the mount. The place on which the eighteen traitors were standing, loos­ened by the shock, slid down with the rest, and they too were buried in the ruins. This took place shortly before the festivities at Machaerus, consequently no Roman officer or civil functionary made his appear­ance at the feast. Pilate became very much enraged against Herod, and thought only of revenging him­self. The building was an immense undertaking, and the loss very great. Enmity arose between Pilate and Herod on account of this affair; but by the death of Jesus, that is, by the demolition of the true Tem­ple, they again became friends. The destruction of the first edifice buried the wily authors of it along with their innocent victims; that of the second brought judgment upon the whole nation.

The outlet of the Pool of Bethsaida was now entirely choked up, for the whole ravine was full of debris; in consequence of this, another pool was soon formed by the retarded waters.


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When Pilate, greatly exasperated by what had taken place, sent some of his officers to Herod in Machaerus, the latter excused himself as absent from home.

Jesus restored sight to several blind persons in Thanath. After that He went with Peter and John through Sichem to Antipatris. Both of the Apostles inquired more than once on the way whether or not He intended to stop at Aruma and other places on their route. But Jesus answered that the people of those places would not receive Him, and He pro­ceeded in the direction to Antipatris. During their journey, Jesus instructed His Apostles on prayer. He made use of the similitude of a man knocking at his friend's door during the night and begging the loan of three loaves. Toward evening Jesus and His com­panions reached the woody region outside Antipa­tris, and there took lodgings at an inn.

Antipatris was situated near a little river. It was a very beautiful city recently built by Herod in honor of his father, Antipater, on the site of a little place named Kaphar-Saba. During the war with the Mach­abees, General Lysias encamped at Kaphar-Saba, which even at that time was fortified with towers and walls. Being defeated by Judas Machabeus, he came to terms with him here, warded off from Judea the attacks of other nations, and gave large presents for the restoration of the Temple. Antipatris was six hours from the sea. It was Paul's halting place when being led a prisoner to Caesarea. The city was sur­rounded by uncommonly large trees, while through­out its interior were scattered gardens and magnificent walks. The whole city appeared to be clothed in verdure. The architecture was of pagan style; colonnades, under which one could walk, ran the entire length of the streets.

When Jesus with Peter and John left the inn and entered the city, He went to the house of the chief magistrate, who was named Ozias. It was princi­pally

Jesus Cures Michol


 on account of this man that He had come hither, for his trouble was well known to Jesus. Ozias had sent a messenger out to the inn to invite Jesus to visit him, for his daughter was very sick, and Jesus returned word that He would go that very day. Ozias received Him and the two Apostles very reverently, washed their feet, and wanted to offer refreshments. But Jesus went straight to the invalid, while the two Apostles proceeded through the city to announce the instruction about to be given in the synagogue. Ozias was a man of about forty years. His daugh­ter was called Michol, and she may have been about fourteen. She lay stretched upon her couch, pale, wasted, and so paralyzed as to be unable to move any of her members. She could not raise or turn her head; her attendants had even to move her hands from one place to another. The mother was present and veiled. She bowed humbly before Jesus as He drew near to the maiden's couch, at one side of which she generally remained seated on a cushion in order to render assistance to her daughter. But when Jesus knelt down by the couch, for it was very low, the mother stood reverently on the opposite side, the father at the foot.

Jesus spoke with the invalid, prayed, breathed into her face, and motioned to the mother to kneel down opposite Him. She obeyed. Then Jesus poured some oil that He carried with Him upon the palm of His hand and, with the first two fingers of His right hand, anointed the sick maiden's forehead and temples, then the joints of both hands, allowing His own hand to rest for one moment upon them. Then He directed the mother to open Michol's long gar­ment over the region of the stomach, which too He anointed with the oil. After that the mother raised the edge of the coverlet from her daughter's feet, and they also received the unction. Then Jesus said: "Michol, give Me thy right hand and thy mother thy left!" At this command, the maiden, for the first time,


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 raised both hands and stretched them out. Jesus continued: "Stand up, Michol!" and the pale, hag­gard child arose to a sitting posture and then to her feet, tottering in the unaccustomed position. Jesus and the mother led her into the open arms of the father. The mother also embraced her. They wept for joy, and all three fell at Jesus' feet. And now came in the servant-men and maids of the house, prais­ing the Lord in accents of joy. Jesus ordered bread and grapes to be brought, and the juice of the lat­ter to be squeezed out. He blessed both, and com­manded the maiden to eat and drink a little at a time. When Michol lay upon her couch, she was clothed in a long gown of fine white wool. The piece that covered the breast was fastened upon the shoul­ders so that it could easily be opened. Her arms were wrapped with broad strips of the same stuff which fastened to the back. Under this gown was a covering on the back and breast like a scapular. As she arose to stand, her mother threw around her a very large, light veil.

Michol's steps were at first tottering and uncer­tain. She was like one who had forgotten how to walk and stand upright, and she soon lay down again even while eating. But when her young friends and playmates came in, full of shy curiosity, to see with their own eyes the cure that was now noised about, Michol arose and, trembling with emotion, tottered to meet them. Her mother led her like a child. The girls were glad and joyous. They embraced Michol and led her around. Ozias asked Jesus whether his child's malady had come upon her on account of some sin of her parents. Jesus replied: "It came through a dispensation of God." Michol's young com­panions also thanked Jesus, who then proceeded to the forecourt of the house where He found numbers of people waiting for Him with their sick. Here too were Peter and John.

Jesus cured the sick of all kinds of maladies and,

Jesus Teaches in Parables


 followed by a crowd, went to the synagogue where the Pharisees and a great multitude were awaiting His coming. He related the parable of the shepherd. He said that He was seeking the lost sheep, that He had sent His servants also to seek them, and that He would die for His sheep. He told them like­wise that He had a flock upon His mountain, that they were more secure than some others, and that if the wolf devoured anyone of them, it would be owing to its own imprudence. Speaking of His mis­sion, He related another parable. He began: "My Father has a vineyard." At these words, the Phar­isees smiled derisively and looked at one another. When He had finished the whole parable, in which He described the ill-treatment the servants of His Father had received from the wicked vinedressers, and said that His Father had now sent His Son whom they would cast out and murder, they laughed in scorn and asked one another: "Who is He? What is He about? Where has His Father that vineyard? He has lost His wits! He is a fool, that's plain to be seen!" And so they went on jeering and laughing. Jesus left the synagogue with Peter and John. The Pharisees continued their insults behind His back, ascribing His miracles to sorcery and the devil.

Jesus returned with Ozias to his house, and again cured many people who were waiting in the fore­court. He took a slight repast, and accepted some bread and balsam for the journey.

Jesus cured in various ways, each one having its own signification. I cannot now, however, repeat them as I saw them. Each had reference to the meaning and the secret cause of the malady, also to the spir­itual needs of the invalid. In the anointing with oil, for instance, there was a certain spiritual strength and energy denoted by the signification of the oil itself. No one of these actions was without its own peculiar meaning. With these forms, Jesus instituted all those ceremonies that the saints and priests who


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 exercised their healing power would afterward make use of in His Name. They either received them from tradition, or were used in the Name of Jesus through an inspiration of the Holy Ghost. As the Son of God, in order to become man, chose the body of a most pure creature, thus to correspond to the require­ments of man's nature, so did He frequently use in effecting His cures pure and simple creatures that had been blessed by His Spirit, as, for instance, oil. He afterward gave to the cured bread to eat with some juice of the grape. At other times He healed by a mere command uttered at a distance, for He had come upon earth to cure the most varied ills and that in the most varied ways. He had come to satisfy, for all that believed in Him, by His own great Sacrifice upon the Cross, in which Sacrifice were contained all pains and sorrows, all penances and satisfactions. With the various keys of His charity, He first opened the fetters and bonds of temporal misery and chastisement, instructed the ignorant in all things necessary for them to know, healed all kinds of maladies, and aided the needy in every way; then with that chief key of His love, the key of the Cross, He opened Heaven's expiatory door as well as the door of Limbo.

Michol, Ozias' daughter, had been paralyzed from her early years, and it was a special grace that she had for so long a time been unable to move. She had been chained down by sickness during the most perilous years of her childhood, years full of danger to innocence; and in consequence of the same, her parents had an opportunity for the exercise of char­ity and patience. Had she been well from infancy, what would perhaps have become of both her and her parents? Had the latter not sighed after Jesus, Michol never would have been so blessed. Had they not believed in Him, their daughter would never have been cured and anointed, which anointing had imparted wonderful strength and energy both to body

The Grace of Sickness


 and soul. Her sickness was a trial, a consequence of inherited sinfulness, but at the same time a loving discipline, a means of spiritual progress for Michol's soul, as well as for her parents. The patience and resignation of the parents resulted from their coop­eration with grace. It brought to them the crown, the recompense of the struggle decreed for them by God, namely, the cure through Jesus of soul and body. What a grace! To be bound down by sufferings, and yet to have the spirit free for good until the Lord comes to deliver both body and soul!

Jesus conversed with Ozias, who told Him about the fall of the tower of Silo and of the unfortunate people buried under its ruins. He spoke with hor­ror of Herod, whom some suspected of being at the bottom of the affair. Jesus remarked that greater calamities would overtake the traitors and false architects than that which had fallen upon the poor workmen. "If," He continued, "Jerusalem does not embrace the salvation offered her, the destruction of the Temple will follow that of the tower." Ozias referred also to John's baptism, and expressed the hope that Herod would set him at liberty on the occasion of his birthday festival. Jesus replied that John would be freed when his time came. The Phar­isees said to Jesus in the synagogue that He should be on His guard, lest Herod would imprison Him with John if He went on as He was then doing. To this Jesus deigned no reply.

About five o'clock in the afternoon, Jesus left Anti­patris with Peter and John and went southward to Ozensara, from four to five hours distant. A Roman garrison was stationed in Antipatris, and there were many large trunks of trees brought hither for trans­portation to the lake, where ship building was car­ried on. On their way to Ozensara they encountered many such loads of timber drawn by huge oxen and accompanied by Roman soldiers. The trees of this region also were felled and hewed for the same


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 purpose. Jesus instructed several workmen thus em­ployed. It was late when they reached Ozensara, a town divided into two sections by a little river. Jesus put up here with some people whom He knew. He instructed and admonished a crowd that had col­lected near the inn. He had been here once before on His way to baptism. He cured and blessed the sick children.

6. Jesus in Bethoron and Bethania

It was about six hours from Ozensara to Bethoron. At some distance from the latter place, John and Peter went on ahead, leaving Jesus to follow alone. The Egyptian disciples, along with the son of Johanna Chusa, came to meet Jesus here. They brought news that the holy women were celebrating the Sabbath in Machmas, which was situated in a narrow defile four hours to the north of this place. Machmas was the place at which Jesus in His twelfth year with­drew from His parents and returned to the Temple. Here it was that Mary missed Him and thought that He had gone on to Gophna. Not finding Him at this latter place, she was filled with anxious solicitude, and made her way back to Jerusalem.

There was in Bethoron a Levitical school, with whose teacher the Holy Family was acquainted. Anne and Joachim had lodged with him on the occasion of their taking Mary to the Temple; and when return­ing to Nazareth as Joseph's bride, Mary had again stopped at his house. Several of the disciples from Jerusalem had come hither with Joseph of Ari­mathea's nephews at the time of Jesus' arrival. Jesus went to the synagogue where, amid the contradic­tions and objections of the Pharisees, He explained the Scripture appointed for that Sabbath. The instruction over, He cured the sick at the inn, among them several women afflicted with an issue of blood, and blessed some sick children. The Pharisees had

Jesus in Bethoron


 invited Him to a dinner, and when they found Him so tardy in coming, they went to call Him. All things, they said, had their time and so had these cures. The Sabbath belonged to God, and He had now done enough. Jesus responded: "I have no other time and no other measure than the will of the Heavenly Father." When He had finished curing, He accom­panied the disciples to the dinner.

During the meal, the Pharisees addressed to Him all kinds of reproaches; among others they alleged that He allowed women of bad repute to follow Him about. These men had heard of the conversion of Magdalen, of Mary Suphan, and of the Samaritan. Jesus replied: "If ye knew Me, ye would speak dif­ferently. I am come to have pity on sinners." He con­trasted external ulcers, which carry off poisonous humors and are easily healed, with internal ones which, though full of loathsome matter, do not affect the appearance of the individual so afflicted. The Pharisees further alleged that His disciples had neglected to wash before the meal, which gave Jesus an opportunity for a timely and energetic protest against the hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness of the Pharisees themselves. When they spoke of the women of ill repute, Jesus related a parable. He asked which was the more praiseworthy, the debtor, who having a great debt, humbly implored indulgence until he could faithfully discharge it little by little; or another who, though deeply in debt, spent all he could lay his hands on in rioting and, far from thinking of paying what he owed, mocked at the conscientious debtor. Jesus related likewise the parables of the good shepherd and the vineyard, as He had done at Antipatris, but His hearers were indifferent; they did not seize the application.

Jesus and the disciples put up at the Levitical school. Upper-Bethoron was so elevated that it could be descried from Jerusalem, but Lower-Bethoron lay at the foot of the mountain.


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From Bethoron, which was six hours distant from Jerusalem, Jesus went straight on to Bethania, stop­ping at no place on the way excepting Athanot. Lazarus had already returned to Bethania from Mag­dalum, where he had put everything in order and engaged a steward for the castle and other property. To the man who had lived with Magdalen, he had assigned a dwelling situated on the heights near Ginnim and sufficient means for his support. The gift was gladly accepted.

As soon as she arrived in Bethania, Magdalen went straight to the dwelling of her deceased sis­ter, Mary the Silent, by whom she had been very much beloved, and spent the whole night in tears. When Martha went to her in the morning, she found her weeping on the grave of her sister, her hair unbound and flowing around her.

The women of Jerusalem also had returned to their homes, all making the journey on foot. Mag­dalen, though exhausted by her malady and the shocks she had received, and wholly unaccustomed to such travelling, insisted upon walking like the others. Her feet bled more than once. The holy women who, since her conversion, showed her unspeakable affection, were often obliged to come to her assis­tance. She was pale and exhausted from weeping. She could not resist her desire to express her grat­itude to Jesus, so she went over an hour's journey to meet Him, threw herself at His feet, and bedewed them with repentant and grateful tears. Jesus extended His hand to her, raised her, and addressed to her words of kindness. He spoke of her deceased sister, Mary the Silent. He said that she should tread in her footsteps and do penance as she had done, although she had never sinned. Magdalen then returned home with her maid by another way.

Jesus went with Peter and John into Lazarus' gar­den. Lazarus came out to meet Him, conducted Him to the house and offered Him in the hall the cus­tomary

Jesus in Bethania


 attentions, namely, washing of feet and refreshments. Nicodemus was not there, but Joseph of Arimathea was present. Jesus stayed in the house and spoke with no one excepting the members of the family and the holy women. Only with Mary did He speak of John's death, for she knew of it by inte­rior revelation. Jesus told her to return to Galilee within a week in order to escape the annoyances of a crowded road, for Herod's guests from that part of the country would a little later be going from Machaerus to their homes.

The disciples that were going to Judea at the same time as Jesus, though not with Him, stopped at the different places on the road, went into the huts on the wayside and to the shepherds in the fields, ask­ing: "Are there any sick here whom we may cure in the Name of our Master, that we may freely give to them what He has freely given to us?" Then anoint­ing the sick with oil, they were cured.

Jesus left Bethania the next morning. He crossed the Mount of Olives to teach and heal in a neigh­boring place where some masons and other mechan­ics were encamped. It was the camping ground of the day laborers and masons engaged on the inter­minable buildings of the Temple mount. There were some kitchens around the place in which poor women cooked the workmen's food for a trifle. There were many Galileans among the workmen, also some peo­ple who had been attracted thither by Jesus' teach­ing and miracles, some even whom He had cured. Some too were from Giskala, from Zorobabel the Centurion's estate, and many others from a little place near Tiberias on the northern height of the valley of Magdalum. Jesus cured many sick among these people. They bemoaned to Him the great mis­fortune that had happened about fourteen days before in the falling of that huge building, and begged Him to visit several of the wounded who had barely escaped with their lives. Ninety-three people, besides


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 the eighteen treacherous architects, had been killed. Jesus went to the wounded, whom He consoled and healed. He healed several of contusions on the head by anointing the head with oil and pressing it between His hands; and crushed hands on which splinters of bones were projecting, He healed by fix­ing the pieces together, anointing them, and hold­ing them in His own hands. Broken arms bound up in bandages Jesus anointed, then held the fractures in His hands, and they were made whole, so that the bandages could be removed and the arms used. The wounds of lost limbs, He closed.

I heard Jesus saying to the assembled multitude that they would have greater evils to bemoan when the sword would strike Galilee. He advised them to pay all taxes to the Emperor without murmuring, and if they had not the means to do so, they should apply to Lazarus in His name, and he would fur­nish what was necessary. Jesus spoke with touch­ing kindness to these poor people. I heard them complaining that once they were able to obtain help at the Pool of Bethsaida, but now poor people could no longer look there for assistance—they had to lan­guish unaided. For a long time past, they had heard of no cure at the pool.

Jesus wept as He crossed the Mount of Olives. He said, "If the city" (Jerusalem) "does not accept sal­vation, its Temple will be destroyed like this build­ing that has tumbled down. A great number will be buried in the ruins." He called the catastrophe of the aqueduct an example that should serve to the people as a warning.

Jesus went afterward to the house outside the Bethlehem gate of Jerusalem at which Mary and Joseph had lodged with Him, a Babe of forty days, when they were going to present Him in the Tem­ple. Anne also had spent a night here when jour­neying to the Crib, and Jesus had done the same when, in His twelfth year, He had at Machmas left

Inn where the Holy Family Lodged


 His parents who were returning home and gone back to the Temple. This little inn was in the hands of very devout, simple-hearted people, and it was there that the Essenians and other pious souls took lodg­ings. The present proprietors were the children of those that had lived there thirty years before, and there was one old man who remembered perfectly all the circumstances of those visits. They did not, however, recognize Jesus, for He had not been there for a long time. They thought perhaps He was John the Baptist, of whom even here the report was cur­rent, that he had been set at liberty.

They showed Jesus in one corner of the house a doll in swaddling bands, clothed exactly as He Him­self had been when Mary bore Him to the Temple. It was lying in a crib like His own, and around it burned lights and lamps that appeared to rise out of paper horns. They said to Jesus: "Jesus of Nazareth, the great Prophet, was born in Bethle­hem three and thirty years ago, and was brought here by His Mother. What comes from God, one may honor, and why should we not celebrate His birth­day for six weeks if similar honors are paid to Herod, who is no prophet?"

These people, through their intercourse with Anne and other intimate friends of the Holy Family, as well as through the accounts of the shepherds who put up at their inn when they visited Jerusalem, were reverential believers in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. When Jesus now made Himself known to them their joy was beyond expression. They showed Him every place in the house and garden hallowed by the pres­ence of Mary, Joseph, and Anne. Jesus instructed and consoled them, and they exchanged gifts. Jesus directed one of the disciples to give them some coins while at the same time He accepted from them some bread, fruit, and honey for His journey.

They accompanied Him quite a distance when, with the disciples, He left the inn and started for Hebron.


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7. Jesus in Juttah. He Makes Known The Death of John the Baptist

Jesus went with His companions to Juttah, the Baptist's birthplace. It was five hours' distance from the inn outside Jerusalem and one hour from Hebron. Mary, Veronica, Susanna, Johanna Chusa, Johanna Marcus, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and several of the disciples from Jerusalem were there awaiting Jesus. They had travelled in small parties and, having come by a shorter route from Jerusalem, had reached their destination several hours before Him.

Zachary's house was situated on a hill outside of Juttah. Both it and its surroundings, consisting of vineyards, were the inheritance of the Baptist. The son of his father's brother, likewise named Zachary, occupied the house at this time and managed affairs. He was a Levite and an intimate friend of Luke, by whom not long before he had been visited in Jerusalem, and had then heard many particulars of the Holy Family. He was younger than the Baptist, of the age of the Apostle John. From his early years he had been like an own child in Elizabeth's house. He belonged to that class of Levites who were most like the Essenians and who, having received from their ancestors the knowledge of certain mysteries, waited with earnest devotion for the coming of the Messiah. Zachary was enlightened and unmarried. He received Jesus and His companions with the cus­tomary marks of respect, washing of feet and refresh­ments. After that Jesus repaired to the synagogue in Hebron.

It was a fast day, and on that evening began a local celebration in Juttah and Hebron. It was in memory of David's victory over Absalom who had in Hebron, as being his birthplace, first raised the stan­dard of revolt. Numerous lamps were lighted dur­ing this feast even in the daytime, both in the

Jesus in Juttah and Hebron


 synagogue and private dwellings. The people gave thanks for the interior light which had at that time led their ancestors to choose the right, and implored a continuance of that heavenly illumination, to enable them always to make choice of the same. Jesus delivered an instruction to a very large audi­ence. The Levites showed Him great esteem and affection, and He took a meal with them.

As Mary was making the journey with the women to this part of the country, she related to them many particulars connected with her former journey thither with Joseph on the occasion of her visit to Eliza­beth. She showed them the spot on which Joseph had bade her farewell on his departure for home, and told them how uneasy she felt when she reflected upon what Joseph's thought would certainly be when on his return he would notice her changed condi­tion. She visited likewise with the holy women all the places where mysteries connected with her Vis­itation and the birth of John had occurred. She told of John's leaping for joy in his mother's womb, of Elizabeth's salutation, and of the Magnificat which she had herself uttered under the inspiration of God, and which she afterward recited every evening with Elizabeth. She told of Zachary's being struck dumb and of God's restoring his speech at the moment in which he pronounced the name of John. All these mysteries, until now unknown to them, Mary, with tears started by tender recollections, related to the holy women. They too wept at the different places, but their tears were more joyful than those of Mary, who was at the same time mourning John's death, still unknown to them. She showed them also the fountain which at her prayer had sprung up near the house, and from it they all drank.

At the family meal Jesus taught. The women were seated apart. After the meal, the Blessed Virgin went with Jesus, Peter, John, and the Baptist's three dis­ciples, James, Heliacim, and Sadoc (the sons of her


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 eldest sister Mary Heli) into the room in which John was born. They spread out a large rug, or carpet, on the floor and all knelt or sat around it. Jesus, how­ever, remained standing. He spoke to them of John's holiness and of his career. Then the Blessed Virgin related to them the circumstances under which that rug had been made. At the time of her visit, she said, Elizabeth and herself had made it and on it John was born. It was Elizabeth's couch at the time of his birth. It was made of yellow wool, quilted and ornamented with flowers. On the upper border were embroidered in large letters passages from Eliza­beth's salutation and the Magnificat. In the middle was fastened a kind of cover or pouch, into which the woman about to become a mother could have her feet buttoned up as in a sack. The upper part of this pouch formed a kind of hooded mantle that could be thrown around her. It was of yellow wool, with brown flowers, and was something like a dress­ing gown, the lower half being fastened to a quilted rug. I saw Mary raising the upper border before her while she read and explained the passages and prophecies embroidered on it. She told them also that she had prophesied to Elizabeth that John would see Jesus face to face only three times, and how this was verified: first, as a child in the desert when on their flight into Egypt, Jesus, Joseph, and herself had passed him, though at some distance; the sec­ond time, at Jesus' baptism; and the third, when at the Jordan he saw Jesus passing and bore witness to Him.

And now Jesus disclosed to them the fact that John had been put to death by Herod. Deep grief seized upon them all. They watered the rug with their tears, especially John, who threw himself weep­ing on the floor. It was heartrending to behold them prostrate on the floor, sobbing and lamenting, their faces pressed upon the rug. Jesus and Mary alone were standing, one at each end. Jesus consoled them

Jesus Discloses John's Death


 with earnest words and prepared them for still more cruel blows. He commanded silence on the matter since, with the exception of themselves, it was at present known only to its authors.

Southward from Hebron was the grove of Mam­bre and the Cave of Machpelah, where Abraham and the other Patriarchs were buried. Jesus gave an instruction and cured some sick peasants who there lived isolated. The forest of Mambre was a valley full of oaks, beeches, and nut trees, that stood far apart. At the edge of the forest was the vast Cave Machpelah, in which Abraham, Sara, Jacob, Isaac, and others of the Patriarchs were entombed. The cave was a double one like two cellars. Some of the tombs were hewn out in the projecting rocks, while others were formed in the rocky wall. This grotto is still held in great veneration. A flower garden and place for instruction guard its entrance. The rock was thickly clothed with vines, and higher up grain was raised. Jesus entered the grotto with the disci­ples, and several of the tombs were opened. Some of the skeletons were fallen to dust, but that of Abra­ham lay on its couch in a state of preservation. From it they unrolled a brown cover woven of camel's-hair cords thick as a man's finger. Jesus taught here. He spoke of Abraham, of the Promise and its fulfill­ment. Some of the sick whom Jesus cured were par­alyzed, others consumptive, others dropsical. I saw here no possessed, though there were some simple­tons and lunatics. The country around was very fer­tile, and the remarkably beautiful grain was already quite yellow. The bread of these parts was excellent, and almost everyone had his own vine. The moun­tains terminated in plateaus upon which grain was cultivated; their sides were covered with vineyards, and in them extended wonderful caves.

When Jesus and the disciples went into the Cave Machpelah, they put off their shoes outside the entrance, walked in barefoot, and stood in reverential


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 silence around Abraham's tomb. Jesus alone spoke. From there He went an hour southeast of Hebron into the little Levitical city of Bethain, which was reached by a very steep ascent. He wrought some cures and gave an instruction in which He spoke of the Ark of the Covenant and of David, for at Bethain, the Ark had once rested for fifteen days. David, on God's command, had caused the Ark to be secretly removed by night from the house of Obededon and brought hither, he himself preceding it barefoot. When he took it away again, the people were so exasper­ated that they almost stoned him.

There was up here near Bethain a very deep spring, from which the water was drawn in leathern bags, or bottles. The rocky soil of the roads was white, also the little pebbles on it.

Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, the women of Jerusalem, and Mary started on their homeward journey, Lazarus going to Jerusalem, where he had to discharge a seven days' service in the Temple.

Mary did not return to Bethania, but went straight to Galilee by way of Machmas, where she celebrated the Sabbath at the schoolmaster's house. She had Anna Cleophas and one of Elizabeth's relatives from Sapha with her. Sapha was the birthplace of James and John. Mary had brought Elizabeth's rug with her. A servant carried it rolled up in a basket.

When speaking in Juttah to those to whom the Blessed Virgin was showing the rug, Jesus referred to John's eager desire to see Himself. But John had, He said, overcome himself and longed for nothing beyond the fulfillment of his mission, which was that of precursor and preparer, not that of constant com­panion and fellow laborer. When a little boy he had indeed seen Him. When His parents were journey­ing with Him through the desert on their flight into Egypt, their road led past the spot where John was, about the distance of an arrow shot. John was run­ning

Jesus Speaking of John


 along a brook among the high bushes. He held in his hand a little stick upon which was fastened a pennon of bark, which he waved to them as he skipped and danced for joy along the brook, until they had crossed it and were out of sight. His par­ents, Mary and Joseph, Jesus continued, held Him up with the words: "See, John in the desert!" It was thus the Holy Spirit had led the boy to salute his Master whom he had already saluted in his mother's womb. While Jesus was relating the above, the dis­ciples were shedding tears at the thought of John's death, and I saw again the indescribably touching scene to which He was referring. John was naked with 'the exception of the skin that he wore crossed over one shoulder and girded around his waist. He felt that his Saviour was near and that He was athirst. Then the boy prayed, drove his little stick into the earth, and a gushing spring spouted up. John ran on some distance ahead and waited, danc­ing and waving his little standard at them, to see Jesus and His parents as they journeyed past the little current. Then I beheld him hurrying back to a kind of dell where a great overhanging rock formed a cave. A stream from that spring found its way into a little cavity in the dell, which John turned into a well for his own use. He remained in that cave a long time. The way of the Holy Family on that jour­ney led across a portion of Mount Olivet. One half hour east of Bethlehem they halted to rest, and then pursued their way, the Dead Sea to their left, seven hours to the south of the city and two hours beyond Hebron, where they entered the desert in which was the boy John. I saw them stepping across the new rivulet, pausing to rest in a pleasant spot near it, and refreshing themselves with its waters. On the return journey of the Holy Family from Egypt, John again saw Jesus in spirit. He sprang forward exult­ingly in the direction of his Lord, but he did not then see Him face to face, as they were separated


Life of Jesus Christ

 by a distance of two hours. Jesus spoke also of John's great self-command. Even when baptizing Him, he had restrained himself within the bounds exacted by the solemn occasion, although his heart was well nigh broken by intense love and desire. After the ceremony, he was more intent upon humbling him­self before Him than upon gratifying his love by looking at Him.

Jesus taught in the synagogue of Hebron on the occasion of a festival celebrated in memory of the expulsion from the Sanhedrin of the Sadducees who, under Alexander Jannaeus, had been the domi­neering party. There were three triumphal arches erected around the synagogue, and to them vine leaves, ears of corn, and all kinds of floral wreaths were brought. The people formed a procession through the streets, which were strewn with flow­ers, for it was likewise the beginning of the Feast of the New Moon, that of the sap's rising, and lastly that of the purification of the four-year-old trees. It was on this account that so many arches of leaves and flowers were erected. This Feast of the Expul­sion of the Sadducees (who denied the resurrection) coincided very appropriately with that upon which was celebrated the return of the trees to new life.

In His discourse in the synagogue Jesus spoke very forcibly against the Sadducees and of the resurrec­tion of the dead. Some Pharisees from Jerusalem had come hither for the feast. They did not dispute with Jesus, but behaved most courteously. He indeed expe­rienced no contradiction here, for the people were upright and very well-disposed. He performed some cures both in the houses and before the synagogue, the cured being mostly of the working class. There were cripples, consumptives, paralytics, and simple­tons, also others disturbed by certain temptations.

Juttah and Hebron were connected. Juttah was a kind of suburb joined to Hebron by a row of houses. Formerly they must have been entirely separated,

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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