Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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Jesus Teaches in Hebron


 for a turreted wall in ruins, as well as a little val­ley, ran between the two places. Zachary's house comprised the school of Juttah. It was about a quar­ter of an hour from the city and was situated on a hill. Around it lay lovely gardens and vineyards, and not far off were other luxuriant vineyards in the midst of which stood a little dwelling. These vine­yards likewise belonged to Zachary. The school was adjoining the room in which John was born, I saw all that while Jesus, Mary, and the disciples were examining the rug.

The next time that Jesus taught in the synagogue of Hebron the sacred edifice was thrown open on all sides, and near the entrance, placed in an elevated position, was a teacher's chair by which He stood. All the inhabitants of the city and numbers from the surrounding places were assembled, the sick lying on little beds or sitting on mats around the teacher's chair. The whole place was crowded. The festal arches were still standing and the scene was truly touching. The multitude seemed impressed and edi­fied, and above all not a word of contradiction was heard. After the instruction Jesus cured the sick.

Jesus' discourse on this occasion was full of deep significance. The lessons from Scripture were those referring to the Egyptian darkness, the institution of the Paschal lamb, and the redeeming of the firstborn; there was also something from Jeremias. Jesus gave a marvelously profound explanation of the ransom of the firstborn. I remember that He said: "When sun and moon are darkened, the mother brings the child to the Temple to be redeemed." More than once He made use of the expression, "The obscuring of the sun and of the moon." He referred to conception, birth, circumcision, and presentation in the Temple as con­nected with darkness and light. The departure from Egypt, so full of mystery, was applied to the birth of mankind. He spoke of circumcision as an external sign which, like the obligation to ransom the first­born,


Life of Jesus Christ

 would one day be abolished. No one gainsaid Jesus; all His hearers were very quiet and atten­tive. He spoke likewise of Hebron and of Abraham, and came at last to Zachary and John. He alluded to John's high dignity in terms more detailed and intelligible than ever before, namely, his birth, his life in the desert, his preaching of penance, his bap­tism, his faithful discharge of his mission as pre­cursor, and lastly of his imprisonment. Then He alluded to the fate of the Prophets and the High Priest Zachary, who had been murdered between the altar and the sanctuary, also the sufferings of Jere­mias in the dungeon at Jerusalem, and the persecu­tions endured by the others. When Jesus spoke of the murder of the first Zachary between the Tem­ple and the altar, the relatives present thought of the sad fate of the Baptist's father, whom Herod had decoyed to Jerusalem and then caused to be put to death in a neighboring house. Jesus never­theless had made no mention of this last fact. Zachary was buried in a vault near his own house outside of Juttah.

As Jesus was thus speaking in an impressive and very significant manner of John and the death of the Prophets, the silence throughout the synagogue grew more profound. All were deeply affected, many were shedding tears, and even the Pharisees were very much moved. Several of John's relatives and friends at this moment received an interior illumination by which they understood that the Baptist himself was dead, and they fainted away from grief. This gave rise to some excitement in the synagogue. Jesus qui­eted the disturbance by directing the bystanders to support those that had fainted, as they would soon revive; so they lay a few moments in the arms of their friends, while Jesus went on with His discourse.

To me there was something significant in the words, "Between the Temple and the altar," as recorded of the murder of that first Zachary. They

“Between the Temple and the Altar”


 might well be applied to John the Baptist's death since, in the life of Jesus, it also stood between the Temple and the altar, for John died between the Birth of Jesus and His Sacrifice upon the Altar of the Cross. But this signification of the words did not present itself to Jesus' hearers. At the close of the instruction they who had fainted were conducted to their homes. Besides Zachary, John's cousin, Eliz­abeth had a niece, her sister's daughter, married here in Hebron. She had a family of twelve children, of whom some were daughters already grown. It was these and some others who had been so deeply affected. On leaving the synagogue Jesus went with young Zachary and the disciples to the house of Eliz­abeth's niece, where He had not yet been. The holy women, however, had visited her several times before their departure. Jesus had engaged to sup with her this day, but it was a very sad meal.

Jesus was in a room with Peter, John, James Cleophas, Heliacim, Sadoch, Zachary, Elizabeth's niece and her husband. John's relatives asked Jesus in a trembling voice: "Lord, shall we see John again?" They were in a retired room, the door locked, so that no one could disturb them. Jesus answered with tears: "No!" and spoke most feelingly, but in consol­ing terms, of John's death. When they sadly expressed their fear that the body would be ill-treated, Jesus reassured them. He told them no, that the corpse was lying untouched, though the head had been abused and thrown into a sewer; but that too would be preserved and would one day come to light. He told them likewise that in some days Herod would leave Machaerus and the news of John's death would spread abroad; then they could take away the body. Jesus wept with His sorrowful listeners. They after­ward partook of a repast which, on account of the retired situation of the apartment, the silence, the gravity, the great ardor and emotion of Jesus, made me think of the Last Supper.


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I had on this occasion a vision of Mary's coming to present Jesus in the Temple, which presentation took place on the forty-third day after His birth. The Holy Family, on account of a feast of three days, had to remain with the good people of the little inn out­side the Bethlehem gate. Besides the usual offering of doves, Mary brought five little triangular plates of gold, gifts of the Three Kings, and several pieces of fine embroidered stuff as a present for the Tem­ple. The ass that he had pawned to one of his rel­atives, Joseph now sold to him. I am under the impression that the ass used by Jesus on Palm Sun­day sprang from it.

Jesus taught in Juttah also and, accompanied by about ten Levites, went to the houses in the neigh­borhood, in which He restored many sick to health. Neither lepers, nor raging possessed, nor great sin­ners male or female, appeared before Him in these parts. That evening He took with the Levites a fru­gal meal consisting of birds, bread, honey, and fruit.

Joseph of Arimathea and several disciples were come hither in order to invite Jesus to Jerusalem, where numbers of sick were longing for Him. He could, they said, come now without fear of molesta­tion, since Pilate and Herod were in conflict with each other on the subject of the ruined aqueduct, and the Jewish magistrates likewise had their atten­tion fixed upon the point at issue. But Jesus would not go right away, though He promised to do so before His return to Galilee.

John's female relatives celebrated the Sabbath at their own home. They clothed themselves in mourn­ing garments and sat on the ground, a stand full of lights, or lamps, being placed in the center of the apartment.

The Essenians who dwelt near Abraham's tomb came two by two to Jesus. They lived around a moun­tain in cells cut out of the rock. Upon the mountain was a garden which they owned.

Jesus Teaching in Juttah


All around Zachary's house were very lovely gar­dens and remarkably high, thick rosebushes. Com­ing hither from Jerusalem, one could see it on the hill; about a quarter of an hour farther on and to the right rose a higher hill upon which were his vineyards, and at its foot gushed the spring that Mary had discovered. The Hebron of Abraham was not identical with that in which Jesus now was. The former lay to the south in ruins, separated from the latter by a vale. In Abraham's time when it was still in existence it had broad streets and houses partly hewn out of the rock. Not far from Zachary's house was a place called Jether. I saw Mary and Elizabeth there several times.

The people of Juttah began to suspect from the words of Jesus and the mourning of the Baptist's relatives that John was no longer among the living, and soon the report of his death was whispered around.

Before His departure from Juttah, Jesus visited Zachary's tomb in company with His disciples and the nephews of the murdered man. It was not like ordinary tombs. It was more like the catacombs, con­sisting of a vault supported on pillars. It was a most honorable burial place for priests and Prophets. It had been determined that John's body should be brought from Machaerus and here buried, therefore the vault was arranged and a funeral couch erected. It was very touching to see Jesus helping to pre­pare a resting place for His friend. He rendered honor to the remains of Zachary also.

Elizabeth was not buried here, but on a high moun­tain, in that cave in which John had sojourned when a boy in the desert.

On Jesus' departure from Juttah, He was followed by an escort of men and women. The latter, after accompanying Him the distance of an hour, took leave, but not till they had knelt and received His blessing. They wanted to kiss His feet, but Jesus


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 would not allow it. Jesus and His disciples were now journeying toward Libna, outside of which they stopped at an inn. The men of the escort now set out for home. Saturnin, Judas Barsabas, and two other disciples who had gone from Galilee to Machaerus, then to Juttah, and lastly had come hither in quest of Jesus, arrived today. With many expressions of grief they related the murder of the Baptist. When Herod and his family, with a numer­ous escort of soldiers, removed from Machaerus to Hesebon, the news of John's beheading was spread by some deserters. Some of the Centurion Zoroba­bel's servants who had been wounded at the late disaster in Jerusalem, returning to Capharnaum had also brought the news. Zorobabel had immediately imparted the frightful occurrence to Judas Barsabas, who was in the neighborhood—upon which he, with Saturnin and two other disciples, hastened into the region of Machaerus, where they everywhere received the same account. From Machaerus they had hur­ried to John's native place in order to take steps for the removal of the body. But hearing that Jesus was at the inn, they had come hither to meet Him. Soon after, accompanied by the sons of Mary Heli, Joseph of Arimathea's nephews, those of Zachary, and the sons of Johanna Chusa and Veronica, they set out for Machaerus, taking Juttah on their route. They took with them an ass laden with all that was nec­essary for carrying out their design. Machaerus now, with the exception of a few soldiers, was quite deserted.

Jesus tarried awhile in these parts in order not to meet Pilate who, with his wife and a retinue of fifteen persons, was on his way from Jerusalem to Appolonia. He passed through Bethzur and Antipa­tris. From Appolonia he embarked for Rome, to lodge a complaint against Herod.

Before his departure from Jerusalem, Pilate had held a conference with his officers upon Jesus the



 Galilean who performed so great miracles and who was then in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Pilate asked: "Is He followed by a crowd? Are they armed?" "No," was the answer. "He goes about with only a few dis­ciples and people of no account whatever, people from the very lowest classes, and sometimes He goes alone. He teaches on the mountains and in the syn­agogues, cures the sick and gives alms. To hear His instructions, people gather from all quarters, often to the number of several thousands!" "Does He not speak against the Emperor?" asked Pilate. "No. His teachings are all on the improvement of morals. He inculcates the practice of mercy, and impresses upon His hearers to render to the Emperor that which belongs to him, and to God that which is His. But He often makes mention of a Kingdom that He calls His own, and says that it is near at hand." There­upon Pilate replied: "So long as He does not go around working His miracles with soldiers or an armed crowd, there is nothing to be feared from Him. As soon as He leaves a place in which He has performed miracles and goes to another, He will be forgotten and calumniated. Indeed I hear that the Jewish priests themselves are against Him. No danger is to be apprehended from Him. But if He is once seen going about with armed followers, His roving must come to an end!"

Pilate had already had several encounters with the Jews, who detested him. Once he had ordered the Roman standards to be brought into the city, whereupon the Jews raised a sedition. Another time, on the occasion of a certain feast upon which the Jews were not allowed to bear arms nor to touch money, I saw Pilate's soldiers go into the Temple, break open the box in which were the offerings, and carry off the contents. That was when John was still baptizing at the Jordan near On, and Jesus came out from the desert.

From Libna Jesus went to Bethzur, about ten hours


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 to the north and two hours' distance from Jerusalem. Bethzur was a fortified place. It had citadels, ram­parts and moats, which had, however, somewhat fallen to ruin, though not so much as those of Bethu­lia. Bethzur was certainly as large as Bethoron. The side by which Jesus entered was not steep, while between it and Jerusalem lay a beautiful valley. From the high points of either city, the other could be seen. On the opposite side the ascent was steep and the city built with a view to ward off enemies. The Ark of the Covenant was once at Bethzur for a long time, as was publicly known.

Jesus was very well received at Bethzur. Lazarus and some others of His friends from Jerusalem were already there. The Bethzurites washed Jesus' feet, as also those of the disciples, and with sincere affection offered them an abundant supply of whatever they needed. Jesus lodged at an inn near the synagogue.

The Three Kings, when journeying from Jerusalem to the Crib, passed near Bethzur, took some refresh­ments at a caravansary, and once more saw the star in this region.

Bethzur must not be confounded with a certain Bethsoron that lay between Bethlehem and Hebron, and near which Philip baptized the servant of Queen Candace. Sometimes this place, namely, Bethsoron, is improperly called Bethzur.

In some houses of Bethzur, Jesus cured without disturbance several old people that were very sick, some of them dropsical. The inhabitants were very well-disposed, and the Elders of the synagogue them­selves conducted Jesus to the different houses. He taught also in the school, and I saw Him blessing a great number of children, first the boys and then the girls. He greatly interested Himself with them and performed some cures among them.

John's Remains


8. St. John's Remains Taken From Machaerus and Buried at Juttah

When Saturnin, with the disciples, reached Machaerus, they climbed the mountain on which stood Herod's castle. They carried under their arms three strong wooden bars, about a hand in breadth, a leath­ern cover in two parts, leathern bottles, boxes in the form of bags, rolls of linen cloths, sponges, and other similar things. The disciples best known at the cas­tle asked the guards to be allowed to enter, but on being refused, they retraced their steps, went around the rampart and climbed upon one another's shoul­ders over three ramparts and two moats to the vicin­ity of John's prison. It looked as if God helped them, so quickly did they enter, and without disturbance. After that they descended from a round opening above the interior of the dungeons. When the two soldiers on guard at the entrance to John's cell perceived them and drew near with their torches, the disciples went boldly on to meet them, and said: "We are the disciples of the Baptist. We are going to take away the body of our master, whom Herod put to death." The soldiers offered no opposition, but opened the prison door. They were exasperated against Herod on account of John's murder, and were glad to have a share in this good work. Several of their comrades had taken flight during the last few days.

As they entered the prison the torches went out, and I saw the whole place filled with light. I do not know whether all present saw it, but I am inclined to think that they did, since they went about every­thing as quickly and as dexterously as if it were clear daylight. The disciples first hastened to John's body and prostrated before it in tears. Besides them, I saw in the prison the apparition of a tall, shining lady. She looked very much like the Mother of God at the time of her death. I found out later that it was St. Elizabeth. At first she seemed to me so natural as I


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 watched her rendering all kinds of assistance that more than once I wondered who she could be and how she had gotten in with the disciples.

The corpse was still lying covered with the hairy garment. The disciples quickly set about making the funeral preparations. They spread out cloths upon which they laid the body, and then proceeded to wash it. They had brought with them for that purpose water in leathern bottles, and the soldiers supplied them with basins of a brownish hue. Judas Barsabas, James, and Heliacim took charge of the principal part of these last kind offices to the dead, the oth­ers handing what was needed and helping when nec­essary. I saw the apparition taking part in everything; indeed, she appeared to be the moving spirit of all, uncovering, covering, putting here, turning there, wrapping the winding-sheets—in a word, supplying each one with whatever was wanted at the moment. Her presence seemed to facilitate dispatch and order in an incredible manner. I saw them opening the body and removing the intestines, which they put into a leathern pouch. Then they placed all kinds of aromatic herbs and spices around the corpse, and bound it firmly in linen bands. It was amazingly thin, and appeared to be quite dried up.

Meanwhile, some of the other disciples gathered up a quantity of blood that had flowed on the spot upon which the head had fallen, as well as that upon which the body had lain, and put it into the empty bags that had held the herbs and spices. They then laid the body wrapped in its winding-sheet upon the leathern covers, which they fastened on top by means of a rod made for that purpose. The two light wooden bars were run into the leathern straps of the cov­ers, which now formed a kind of box. The bars, though thin and light, showed no signs of bending under their load. The skin that John used to wear was thrown over the whole, and two of the disciples bore away the sacred remains. The others followed

John's Remains


 with the blood in the leathern bottle and the intestines in the pouch. The two soldiers left Machaerus with them. They guided the disciples through narrow passages back of the ramparts and out through that subterranean way by which John had been brought into the prison. All was done rapidly and with recollection so touching that no words can describe it.

I saw them at first with rapid steps descending the mountain in the dark. Soon, however, I saw them with a torch; two walked between the poles carry­ing the body on their shoulders, and the others fol­lowed. I cannot say how impressive was the sight of this procession proceeding so silently and swiftly through the darkness by the glare of their one torch. They appeared to float on the surface of the ground. How they wept when at the dawn of day they fer­ried across the Jordan to the place where John had first baptized and they had become his followers. They went around close to the shores of the Dead Sea, always choosing lonely paths and those that led through the desert, until they reached the val­ley of the shepherds near Bethlehem. Here with the remains they lay concealed in a cave until night, when they journeyed on to Juttah. Before daybreak they reached the neighborhood of Abraham's tomb. They deposited John's body in a cave near the cells of the Essenians, who guarded the precious remains all day.

Toward evening, about the hour when Our Lord also was anointed and laid in the tomb (it being likewise a Friday), I saw the body brought by the Essenians to the vault wherein Zachary and many of the Prophets were reposing, and which Jesus had recently caused to be prepared for its reception.

The Baptist's relatives, male and female, were assembled in the vault with the disciples and the two soldiers who had come with the latter from Machaerus. Several of the Essenians also were present, among


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 them some very aged people in long, white garments. These latter had provided John with the means of subsistence during his first sojourn in the desert. The women were clothed in white, in long mantles and veils. The men wore black mourning mantles, and around their necks hung narrow scarves fringed at the ends. Many lamps were burning in the vault. The body was extended on a carpet, the winding-sheet removed, and, amid many tears, anointed and embalmed with myrrh and sweet spices. The head­less trunk was, for all present, a heartrending sight. They deeply regretted not being able to look upon John's features. The ardent longings of their soul evoked him to their mental gaze such as he had appeared in the past. Each one present contributed a bundle of myrrh or other aromatic herbs. Then the disciples, having reswathed the body, laid it in the compartment hewn out for it above that of his father. The bones of the latter they had rearranged and wrapped in fresh linens.

The Essenians afterward held a kind of religious service in which they honored John not only as one of their own, but as one of the Prophets promised to them. A portable altar something like a little table was placed between the two rows that they formed on either side, and one of them, with the aid of two assistants, prepared it for the ceremony. All laid lit­tle loaves on the altar, in the center of which lay a representation of a Paschal lamb, over which they scattered all kinds of herbs and tiny branches. The altar was covered with a red under cloth and a white upper one. The figure of the lamb shone alternately with a red and white light, perhaps from lamps con­cealed under it whose glare, passing first through the red and then through the white cover, produced that effect. The priest read from rolls of writing, burned incense, blessed, and sprinkled with water. All sang as in choir. John's disciples and relatives stood around in rows and joined in the singing. The

John's Burial


 eldest delivered a speech upon the fulfillment of the Prophecies, upon the signification of John's career, and made several allusions touching upon Christ. I remember that he spoke of the death of the Prophets as well as that of the High Priest Zachary, who had been murdered between the Temple and the altar. He said that Zachary, the father of John, had like­wise been murdered between the Temple and the altar. His death signified something still higher than that of the ancient High Priest, but John was the true witness in blood between the Temple and the altar. By these last words, he alluded to Christ's life and death.

The ceremony of the lamb had reference to a prophetic vision that John, while still in the desert, had communicated to one of the Essenians. The vision itself referred to the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of God, to Jesus, the Last Supper, to the Passion, and the consummation of the Sacrifice upon the Cross. I do not think that they perfectly understood all this. They performed the ceremonies in a prophetic, symbolical spirit, as if they had among them at that time many endowed with the gift of prophecy.

When all was over, he who conducted the service distributed among the disciples the little loaves that had lain on the altar, and to each gave one of the little branches that had been stuck on the lamb. The other relatives likewise received branches, but not from those on the lamb. The Essenians ate the bread, after which the tomb was closed.

The holy souls among the Essenians were pos­sessed of great knowledge and prophetic insight upon the coming of the Messiah, also of the interior sig­nification and the reference to Him of the various customs of Judaism. Four generations before the birth of the Blessed Virgin, they had ceased to offer bloody sacrifices, since they knew that the coming of the Lamb of God was near. Chastity and continence were among them a species of worship celebrated to honor


Life of Jesus Christ

 the future Redeemer. In humanity they saw His tem­ple to which He was coming, and they wished to do all in their power to preserve it pure and unsullied. They knew how often the Saviour's coming had been retarded by the sins of mankind, and they sought by their own purity and chastity to satisfy for the sins of others.

All this had in some mysterious way been infused into their Order by some of the Prophets, without their having, however, in Jesus' time, a perfectly clear consciousness of it. They were, as to what con­cerned their customs and religious observances, the precursors of the future Church. They had con­tributed much toward the spiritual training and guid­ance of Mary's ancestors and other holy patriarchs. The education of John in his youth was their last great work.

Some of the most enlightened among them in Jesus' time joined the disciples. Others later on entered the Community, in which, by their own long prac­tice, they gave new impetus to the spirit of renun­ciation and a well-ordered life and laid the foundation for the Christian life, both eremitical and cloistered. But a great many among them who belonged not to the fruits of the tree, but to the dry wood, isolated themselves in their observances and degenerated into a sect. This sect was afterward imbued with all kinds of heathenish subtleties, and became the mother of many heresies in the early days of the Church.

Jesus had no particular communication with the Essenians, although there was some similarity between His customs and theirs. With a great many of them He had no more to do than with other pious and kindly disposed people. He was intimate with several of the married Essenians who were friends of the Holy Family. As this sect never disputed with Jesus, He never had cause to speak against them, and they are not mentioned in the Gospels, because

The Essenians


 He had nothing wherewith to censure them as He had in others. He was silent also on the great good found among them since, if He had touched upon it, the Pharisees would have immediately declared that He Himself belonged to that sect.

As it had become known at Machaerus, through the domestics of Herodias, where John's head had been thrown, Johanna Chusa, Veronica, and one of the Baptist's relatives journeyed thither in order to make search for it. But until the vaulted sewer could be opened and drained, the head, which was rest­ing on a stone projecting from the wall, could not be reached. Two months flowed by, and then many of the outbuildings and movables belonging to Herod's court at Machaerus were removed, and the whole castle was fitted up for a garrison and fortified for defense. The sewers were cleaned out and repaired, and new fortifications added to the old. During this work, I saw something very strange. Pits were dug, filled with inflammable matter, and then covered, trees being planted over them to prevent their dis­covery. They could be set on fire, and their explo­sion would kill men, overturn and scatter all things far and near like so much sand. Such pits as these were dug to quite a distance all around the walls.

There were many people engaged in carrying away the rubbish, and others gathered up the mud and slime from the sewers to enrich their fields. Among the latter were some women from Juttah and Jerusalem with their servants. They were waiting until the deep, steep sewer in which was the Bap­tist's holy head, should be cleaned. They prayed by night, fasted by day, and sent up ardent prayers to God that they might be enabled to find that for which they were seeking. The bottom of this sewer, on account of its being dug under the mountain, was very inclined. The whole of the lower end was already emptied and purified. To reach the upper part into which the bones from the kitchen were thrown and


Life of Jesus Christ

 where the holy head was lying, the workmen had to clamber up by the stones projecting from either side. A great heap of bones obstructed this part, which was at a considerable distance from the outer entrance.

While the workmen went to take their meal, peo­ple who had been paid to do so, introduced the women into the sewer which, as I have said, was cleaned out as far as that heap of bones. They prayed as they advanced that God would allow them to find the holy head, and they climbed the ascent with dif­ficulty. Soon they perceived the head sitting upright on the neck upon one of the projecting stones, as if looking toward them, and near it shone a luster like two flames. Were it not for this light, they might easily have made a mistake, for there were other human heads in the sewer. The head was pitiful to behold: the dark-skinned face was smeared with blood; the tongue, which Herodias had pierced, was protruding from the open mouth; and the yellow hair, by which the executioner and Herodias had seized it, was standing stiff upon it. The women wrapped it in a linen cloth and bore it away with hurried steps.

Scarcely had they accomplished a part of the way when a company of Herod's soldiery, to the number of a thousand, came marching up toward the castle. They had come to replace the couple of hundreds already there on guard. The women concealed them­selves in a cave. The danger past, they again set out on their journey through the mountains. On their way they came across a soldier who, having by a fall received a severe wound on the knee, was lying on the road unconscious. Here too they came up with Zachary's nephew and two of the Essenians who had come to meet them. They laid the holy head upon the wounded soldier, who instantly recovered con­sciousness, arose, and spoke, saying that he had just seen the Baptist, and he had helped him. All were

The Finding of John's Head


 very much touched. They bathed his wounds in oil and wine and took him to an inn, without, however, saying anything to him about John's head. They con­tinued their journey, always choosing the most unfre­quented routes, just as had been done when John's body was conveyed to Juttah. The head was deliv­ered to the Essenians near Hebron, and some of their sick, having been touched with it, were cured. It was then washed, embalmed with precious oint­ments, and with solemn ceremonies laid with the body in the tomb.

9. Jesus in Bethania and Jerusalem. Cure of a Man Sick for Thirty-Eight Years

From Bethzur, Jesus proceeded with Lazarus and the disciples to Bethania. They stopped at several places along their route, among them at Emmaus. Jesus taught here and there on the way among the people who were busy tying up the hedges, which were already green.

Martha, Magdalen, and a widow named Salome came to meet them at almost an hour's distance from Bethania. Salome had long dwelt in Bethania with Martha. Through one of Joseph's brothers and like Susanna, she was related to the Holy Family. She was later on present at Jesus' sepulture. They, Martha, Magdalen, and Salome, had been at Lazarus' inn in the desert, whence they returned at dusk to Bethania.

The four Apostles and several disciples whom Jesus had sent to Thabor arrived also on this evening at Bethania. Great was their grief upon hearing now for the first time the details of John's death. Then they related what had happened to themselves. They had taught and cured, according to the instructions received from Jesus, and at one place they had been chased with stones, but without being hit by them.


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 The last place they had visited was Saron near Lydda.

When all in Lazarus' house had retired to rest, Jesus went in the darkness to the Mount of Olives and prayed in a solitary nook. The mount was cov­ered with verdure and groves of noble trees. It was full of retired corners.

Magdalen occupied the little apartments of Mary the Silent's dwelling. She often sat in a very nar­row little room that appeared to be formed in a tower. It was a retired corner intended for peniten­tial exercises. She still wept freely. True, she was no longer actually sick, but from contrition and penance, she had become quite pale and reduced, She looked like one crushed by sorrow.

The last two days were days of fasting. They were followed by a feast of joy, which began at the close of the Sabbath and lasted for three days. The real date had fallen earlier, but for some reason the feast had been postponed. It was a feast of thanksgiving for all graces received from the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage down to their own time. Its celebration was not confined to Jerusalem, but was observed everywhere. Numbers of the chief priests and the greatest enemies of Jesus had left Jerusalem. Since Pilate had absented himself, they had nothing to fear and a less strict guard to keep.

Next morning Jesus went to Jerusalem and accepted hospitality with Johanna Chusa. Neither Martha nor Magdalen was there.

Toward ten o'clock I saw Jesus in the Temple. He occupied the teacher's chair in the women's porch, where He was reading and expounding the Law. All were amazed at His wisdom. No one raised the least disturbance or made objections to His teaching. Some of the priests present may not have known Him, and those that did were not against Him. His bitter enemies, the Pharisees and Sadducees, were for the most part absent.

About three o'clock, Jesus went with some of the

The Pool of Bethsaida


 disciples to the Pool of Bethsaida. He entered from without by a door which was closed and no longer used. This was the corner into which the poorest and most abandoned creatures were pushed; and lying in the farthest part and right next the door was a man paralyzed for thirty-eight years. He had been pressed back by the crowd to the farthest extremity of the place, and now lay in a little cham­ber destined for men.

When Jesus knocked at the closed door, it opened of itself. Passing along through the sick, He made His way to the hall nearest the pool where invalids of all kinds were sitting and lying, and there He taught. The disciples meanwhile distributed among the poor clothes and bread, covers and kerchiefs given them by the women for that purpose. Such attention and loving services were something quite new to these poor sick who were, for the most part, either abandoned to themselves or left to the care of servants. They were greatly touched. Jesus went about them, pausing in several different places to instruct them, and then asking whether they believed that God was able to help them, whether they wished to be cured, whether they were sorry for their sins, whether they would do penance and be baptized. When He named to some of them their sins, they trembled and cried out: "Master, Thou art a Prophet! Thou art certainly John!" John's death was not yet generally known, and in many places the report of his being set at liberty was current. Jesus replied in general terms as to who He really was, and cured several of them. He directed the blind to bathe their eyes in water from the pool with which He had pre­viously mixed a little oil. Then He told them to go quietly home, and not say much about their cure until after the Sabbath. The disciples were at the same time curing in the other porches. All the cured were obliged to wash in the pool.

But when, on account of these cures, some excite­ment


Life of Jesus Christ

 was beginning to arise, while now one, now another approached the pool to wash, Jesus went with John to that far-off place near the entrance where lay the poor man who had been sick for thirty-eight long years. He had been a gardener, and had formerly been engaged in the care of hedges and the raising of balsam trees. But now, so long sick and helpless, he was reduced to a state of starvation, and lay like a public beggar glad to eat the scraps left by the other sick. As he had been seen here for so many years, he was known to everyone as the in­curable paralytic, Jesus spoke to him, and asked him whether or not he wanted to be cured. But he, not thinking that Jesus would cure him, but that He was asking only in a general way why he was lying there, answered that he had no help, no ser­vant or friend to assist him down into the pool when the waters were moved. While he was creeping down, others got before him and occupied the places around the pool to which the steps led. Jesus spoke for a little while to the man, placed his sins before his eyes, excited his heart to sorrow, and told him that he should no longer live in impurity and no longer blaspheme against the Temple, for it was in pun­ishment of such sins that his sickness had come upon him. Then He consoled him by telling him that God receives all and assists all that turn again to Him with contrition. The poor man, who never before had received a word of consolation, who had been allowed to lie molding and rotting in his misery, who had often bitterly complained that no one offered him any assistance, was now deeply touched at Jesus' words. At last, Jesus said: "Arise! Take up thy bed, and walk!" But these were only the principal words of all that He said. He commanded him to go down to the pool and wash, and then told one of the dis­ciples, who at that moment approached, to take the man to one of the little dwellings erected for the poor by Jesus' friends near the Cenacle on Mount

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0171

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