Nativity Walk 4
**This is part of a series, beginning with Nativity Walk 1:
Walking into town with the sun setting to the right, Mary is itching to take off her sandals and top cloak, and Joseph’s stomach is growling so much it is distracting Mel’s attention from the rocky path.
As they begin looking for a place to stay the night, Mary says aloud: “I am amazed that we are staying in the same town where Elijah lived. Do you think they know which house, or if it’s even still here? I never even really thought of him living in a house, so much as just wandering and doing miracles and preaching. . .”
“What?!” exclaims Mary, stopping in her tracks.
“Oh nothing . . . nothing at all.”
Mary holds Mel back. “You tell me what you’re laughing about or I’m not taking another step and you won’t eat.”
“Ok ok. It’s EliSHa, not EliJah. There’s a difference.”
“I know there’s a difference! Elisha is the one who never died, right?”
“No, dear. I’m afraid not.”
“Well why are their names so similar? One of them should have used his middle name or something if they were going to be so close together.”
“THAT I can agree with. Elisha was EliJah’s protege. Where Elijah kind of appeared out of nowhere, made enemies of rulers, and was swept into the sky at the end, Elisha lived here at his family home and because of his connection with Elijah he was sought out by local tribal leaders and Kings for his wisdom. Elijah actually pulled against God some in his time, but Elisha never did. Elijah fought the prophets of Baal, but Elisha performed more miracles, maybe even more humbly, than Elijah.”
“Wow. And hey look! Here’s a sign that says this old stone house was where he grew up!” Mary is proud of her find, but they still need a place to stay, so they move along, trying to find a spot before they have no light left. Another two blocks and they find a friendly family who invites them to come in for the night.
After M & J tie Mel outside, unpack, and settle in with the Horowitz family, they learn there is a bigger place across town that also claims to be the home of Elisha. But that one charges 4 sheqels for tours, and that’s 4 more than M & J have to spend on this trip. After a good meal, stories of mutual friends and distant relatives, and then prayer, they settle in for their most peaceful night’s sleep yet.
Mary wakes up a little after sunrise to the sound of Joseph’s voice in the next room talking with their host. She rubs her eyes and steps into the next room to find the two men talking like old friends while Mrs. Horowitz prepares breakfast. Mary offers to help but is quickly refused, being urged to sit down and be served as she has a long trip ahead, and the Horowitz’s do not. She complies, anticipating what’s in store today and tonight.
During a leisurely breakfast the couples discuss the fact that there is no town ahead for two days of travel, the next town being the small but ancient settlement of Gilgal. The Horowitzs again bless M & J with generosity by providing them breads, dates and figs for the coming two days. “We just felt like Adonai wanted us to give it to you,” they explained. By this time M & J knew better than to argue with or resist God’s provision. They simply caught each other’s eyes as they both murmured “Jehovah Jireh.”
The group said the morning shema (NW2) together, relishing this last taste of the fellowship of common beliefs, and Mary, Joseph, and Mel set off with full bellies and good spirits. They knew they would be camping in the wild come dark, and they started at a slow but steady pace to cover as much ground as possible before they would have to set up camp. They were thankful that, according to their new friends, the trail would be mostly close to water on this leg of the trip.
continued at NW5