The GERASENE DEMONIAC of LUKE 8 [part 4]

A Biblical short story by JQuisumbing

Click here to read – Part 3

continued…

“Greetings, my son,” said a portly man, as he slowly alighted out of a horse driven carriage. Following him was his mother who was slightly taller.

“Hail to you, father and mother,” Demacli said as he first embrace his mother then grasped the forearm of his father, Roman style. Looking around, he asked, “Where are my sisters?”

“Oh, we left them in Hippus,” his mother said.

“Ah yes, Hippus. I miss our home. I miss the hills that overlook the Sea of Galilee. Come. You must be hungry.” He led them to the covered patio where lunch was being laid out for them.

After an hour, the table was being cleared by the servants. They were lounging around on big plush cushions under a canopy of vines and fragrant flora. What fronted them was a garden of palm trees and circular pond with a statue of Dionysus holding up a stalk of grapes.

“You have done well for yourself, my son,” his father said looking around. “We are pleased at your accom…”

The voices in Demacli’s mind intruded again with many suggestions that his father was less than sincere and also that his mother seem secretive. He had to struggle to keep his mind focused.

“Demacli! Are you listening?”

“Ah, ummm… yes… I mean, I am sorry, father… mother. I am a little distracted, today.” He stood up quickly and agitated. Not waiting for them to ask anything, he said, “You must be tired. Habbi will lead you to your room. I… I must go!” Then, he dashed out the doors of his villa and was walking fast down the street. The whole time, hundred of voices were laughing and jabbering away mostly about why his father was here. It was so distracting that Demacli didn’t realize that he was already a mile outside the city, running up a hill.

When he got to the top, he collapsed to his knees and screamed in anguish, startling a nearby flock of goats.

Three nights later, he returned to the villa disheveled and dirty. He tiredly lowered himself to the ground next to the gate. A servant saw him and quickly brought Habbi.

“Master, we searched for you for days.” Seeing that he was asleep, Habbi shook him. “Master… master!”

Like waking up from a bad dream, Demacli sat up straight, looking around in confusion. He grasped Habbi’s sleeve and croaked in a parch voice, “Wha… what happened to me?” After drinking some water that a servant hastily brought, he said, “I woke up in a cave some miles from here. I don’t recall anything.”

Three nights later, he returned to the villa disheveled and dirty. He tiredly lowered himself to the ground next to the gate. A servant saw him and quickly brought Habbi.

“Master, we searched for you for days.” Seeing that he was asleep, Habbi shook him. “Master… master!”

Like waking up from a bad dream, Demacli sat up straight, looking around in confusion. He grasped Habbi’s sleeve and croaked in a parch voice, “Wha… what happened to me?” After drinking some water that a servant hastily brought, he said, “I woke up in a cave some miles from here. I don’t recall anything.”

“We are bringing you home,” his father said. “Habbi will stay to continue the business. My son, according to the priestess, you have been fooled by Ate, the goddess of mischief. I have heard that she had been casting her spells among the Jews lately. But I have heard of a prophetess of Hermes hiding in Cadasa in the region of Phoenicia that may free you. We must go there.”

“I hate to leave father but…”

“I know, my son. You have built so much, but I think you need not fret for I think you’ll return.”

But deep in his mind, Demacli heard a thousand laughters.

To be continued…

Click here to read – Part 5 (not posted yet)


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Demacli is based on an actual unnamed personality described in Luke 8.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

The GERASENE DEMONIAC of LUKE 8 [part 3]

A Biblical short story by JQuisumbing

Click here to read – Part 2

continued…

“Let them in,” said all three priests together.


Demacli was in the same room of his dream. The room was bare, devoid of any objects. There were no windows. The walls were lacking of decor and the ceiling was domed. Against one wall, there were double doors with a wooden bar across them keeping closed. Outside, he can hear the wind blowing and something that sounds like thousands of footsteps circling the room.

The doors rattled. Demacli’s heart raced and he rushed to the doors to make sure the bar was secured. He rested his forehead against the doors to calm his heart down. Then, there was a knock and a female voice.

“Remember the wealth… remember what we can give you. Let us in!” Those three words rung out again very slowly, but with the voices of thousands. “Let… us… in…”

Demacli started to tremble and shake all over. He wanted what the voices were offering but yet he was desperately scared. But as the voices continued, his resolve weakened. He straightened himself and slowly lifted the bar. He swung the doors wide open. Then, he woke up.


A year had passed. Demacli was riding on a carriage carried by six slaves down a wide boulevard being hailed by people of different classes. When they got back to the villa, Habbi was there waiting for him.

“I take it, Master, your meeting with the Roman was fruitful.”

“It wasn’t but then it was. The Roman was no help but the Egyptian I talked to will aid us to double our profits for the next year or so.”

“That is good, Master. Your father would be proud.”

“Yes… it is too bad he wasn’t here.”

“As a matter of fact, I just received a message from your father. Your entire family will be here in three days.”

“Three days, you say.” Inside Demacli was concerned.

“What is wrong, Master? Why the frown?”

“Ah…” He shook his head. “Nothing that concerns you, Habbi. I am going up and I am not to be disturbed.”

He went up straight to his room.


“Why is my father coming? Why now?” Demacli asked himself.

“He is coming because he wants to take away from your success!” It was his voice he heard but harsher. “He is jealous of you!” His voice again but more weaselly. Other voices in his head began to intrude by suggesting other things about his father.

“Enough! You’re all too much again,” he said clutching his head. “Speak to me one at a time.”

Echoing deep inside his mind, he thought he heard many laughters as if from a jest fading away. One voice came out but more authoritative.

“So, your father is arriving. What will you do?”

“What is there for me to do?” Demacli whined.

“Stop your whining. You be the man! Face up to your father, if need be.”

“Yes… if need be.”

Then, the other voices returned.

To be continued…

Click here to read – Part 4


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Demacli is based on an actual unnamed personality described in Luke 8.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

The GERASENE DEMONIAC of LUKE 8 [part 2]

A Biblical short story by JQuisumbing

Click here to read – Part 1

Continued…

The room he entered was smokey and dark except for a lit oil lamp on the floor. There was another light source coming from above that emitted a circle of light around the lamp. The light was so bright, he could not see the walls.

“Come and sit in the circle,” said a deep feminine voice.

Demacli sat on the floor with the lamp before him. Then three cowled persons slowly walked in and sat down before him. Their faces were hidden in the shadows with only a slight glint reflecting from their eyes. The feeling was somewhat eerie.

“What do you ask of the gods?”

“I seek wealth. All my ventures have failed and I would give anything to be lucky.”

Together, all three of them asked, “What would you give to the gods?”

“What can I give? Gold or silver?”

“Those things are nothing to them.” It was the feminine voice that spoke.

“Then what?”

“You!”

*** *** ***

“Master! The caravan has arrived!” A voice shouted from below.

“That makes your third investment in four months coming in with no mishap,” said Habbi. “Luck is finally with you.”

“Yes, it has,” Demacli said yawning.

“Master, what ails you? In some nights, we can hear you talking in your sleep. Sometimes, we hear screaming.”

“Bad dreams,” Demacli said almost hauntingly as he stood up and went to the window. “It is always the same dream.”

“What dream haunts you so?”

“I… I am in my room and hundreds of… shadows are trying to break in! Some nights, I can hear them beckoning me to let them in. When I awaken, I am drenched in sweat. I try to stay awake but… my eyes become heavy. Then, the dream comes again.”

“Master, since you have gone to the temple of Dionysus, your businesses have done well. But now you are haunted by this. You must return to the priestess.”

*** *** ***

“What is it that you seek of the gods?” asked the priestess in the center.

“I have these dreams…”

“Have your business improved?” asked the priest on the right.

“Are you not debt free?” asked the one on the left.

“Do you want… more? …fame? …power?” asked the priestess in an alluring voice.

“Yes… but the dreams?”

“Let them in,” said all three together.

To be continued…

Click here to read – Part 3


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Demacli is based on an actual unnamed personality described in Luke 8.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

[ Sketch rendering of Jesus & the Demoniac is based on Oliver Medhurst’s Bible colored illustration found in www.olivermedhurst.tumblr.com ]

The GERASENE DEMONIAC of LUKE 8 [part 1]

A Biblical short story by JQuisumbing

“Demacli! We have heard about you,” cried a voice in the crowd of laughing partiers.

“True! All of it, true!” said Demacli who raised his glass up, laughing. “Here is to Dionysus, our god of wine!”

“You Greeks always get it wrong. It is to Bacchus, the Roman god of grape that you should praise,” said a fat man whom Demacli did not know. Some in the party roared in approval while most jeered in laughter.
Demacli, wildly laughing with the group, drunkenly walked out to a balcony. He looked up at the starry night. Then he up-ended his drink, some spilling down the side of his beard. There was a divan nearby and Demacli fell unto it and lost consciousness.

The next day, he was rudely awaken by a cold splash of water.

“Well, master,” said an old man amusingly. “Last night’s party seem to be your most loudest ever. We’ve cast out thirty seven this time, only seven we recognized.”

“Arrrgh… Please Habbi,” groaned Demacli, as he slowly and painfully sat up on the divan he collapsed on the night before. “You are too loud for this early morn.”

“Originally, master, it is the seventh hour since the sun came up.”

“Food… I need food.”

Habbi clapped his hands and a female slave came in with a tray of food. As Demacli wolfed down his food. From the balcony, he looked out upon the desert city of Canatha.

Canatha was one of the free cities of the Decapolis, a grouping of Greco-Roman centers located on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire. Some three hundred years before, these ten cities were founded during the Hellenistic period after the untimely death of Alexander the Great. Canatha was located fifty or so miles east of the Sea of Galilee in the deserts of Syria. It was on a major caravan route with Damascus in the north and an untold number of Persian cities in the far east.

Habbi pulled up an overturned stool and sat on it.

“Master, the rate you are going, you will lose the wealth of your father in two years. Six caravans of your investments were lost to marauders. Those shipments that you entrusted to that lying Phoenician are gone. And the parties you hold practically every night… well, let me put it this way. One day, you will awaken to find everything in this villa gone, stolen by your so called drinking friends.

He pauses. Then, in a softer voice, “Demacli… my dear boy… I have watched you grow up. Your father commanded me to take care of you as you go out into the world to make something of yourself. There is no shame returning home to Hippus and admitting to your father that you were not ready.”

“Enough, Habbi!” Demacli stood up and walked into the house. With Habbi following, he went downstairs, walked across the patio to a garden pond. Then he jumped right in. When he came out dripping wet, he was wide awake. “Habbi, no more lectures. You forget your place. Now, I am going up to change and then I am going out to meet someone who promises that I can gain more wealth.”

To be continued…

Click here to read – Part 2


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Demacli is based on an actual unnamed personality described in Luke 8.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

[ Sketch rendering of Jesus & the Demoniac is based on Oliver Medhurst’s Bible colored illustration found in www.olivermedhurst.tumblr.com ]

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 7]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

A few days later, Elpida had picked up some produce from the marketplace, when she spotted four men who were clearly Galileans by their clothing and their accents. This was not as unusual, for many Jews have dealings in this region, but she recognized one of them. Demacli had pointed him out to her once. The older of them was clearly the disciple called Matthew, a former tax collector. They purchased food and started to walk away. She decided to follow them.

They went to a neighborhood near the center of the town where the rich tradesmen have their homes. They headed to a tall house with a stone wall surrounding it. The double gates were open and the four men entered it. Elpida lingered outside looking through the gates. Inside was a courtyard and an overhanging pavilion that lead into the house. The four were greeted by another group of eleven who were lounging on the pavilion’s steps. One of them stood up to greet them. Somehow, she knew that this man was him. It is Jesus of Nazareth. With no hesitation, she rushed through the gates calling out, “Lord! Lord!”

The men stood, startled by the entry of this strange woman. She went to the man who she believed is Jesus of Nazareth. She pushed her way through some of them then fell on the ground at his feet. When some of the men tried to pull her away, she cried out, “Lord, Lord… have mercy on me!” When she felt them pulling her away even more, she looked up to find that he was not looking her way. She had to think quickly on what would make him look. Then she got it. She desperately called out, “Son of David!” When he turned to face her, there was a slight twinkle in his eye and hope sprang up in her. She felt the tugging stop.

“Son of David have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus stepped forward and his disciples stepped back. Some of them were whispering and visibly showing their disapproval. One of them said, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Jesus came closer and pulled her up to stand. He gave just a slight smile, then he turned and faced the men.

“Let the children be satisfied first,” Jesus announced in a loud voice. “It is not good to take the children’s bread…” He paused, then said, “and throw it to the dogs.”

In a blink of an eye, she realized that Jesus’ proclamation was not more for her but for his disciples. But an answer from her was needed. She believed who he is and that he is kind and loving. She also realized that he is also just. “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Jesus turned around with a big smile. “Woman, you have great faith! Because of this answer go home, for the demon has gone out of your daughter.” [Matthew 15:21-28]

Jesus asked one of his followers, a foreigner, by the look of him, to escort her home. Twenty minutes later, they were just a stone’s throw away from her cousin’s house, she could hear the giggling voice of her daughter, sounding quite normal. She was about to sprint to the door, but the foreign man put his hand gently on her arm.

“The master wanted you to know that the one whom you sought for years since Greece… is He.”

This is the end of this story, but by no mean is it really ending…

PREV


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 6]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

They arrived at Cadasa just before the sunset. Elpida hopped off the cart she was riding on at the outskirts of the town. Saying a fond farewell to the old cart driver, she headed for a pathway that skirted the town’s perimeter wall. She came to a cluster of farm houses and went straight to the farthest house. As she came close, she can hear a little girl’s screaming. Elpida quickened her pace. Not hesitating, she didn’t bother knocking and pushed open the door to find a woman, her cousin, and a young lad struggling to calm a smaller child girl shaking and thrashing on the floor.

Elpida embraced her daughter as she squirmed in her arms. Eventually, she calmed down and fell asleep. Elpida nodded to the young lad who came and carried the little girl to her sleeping pallet.

“I expected you four days ago,” said her cousin calmly and like she expected her. “I hope you were successful this time.”

“No. I just missed him in Galilee. But now he is nowhere to be seen.”

“So, what is your next plan, cousin?”

“I intend to search for him closer to the source. You remember my friend, Demacli, the one who wrote and told me about the man of Nazareth who is performing God-like miracles throughout the lands of the Jews. He convinced me to move to his city at Hippus… one of the free cities of the Greeks. He said that this healer will again stop by to his city.”

“How does he know this and why would this Jew go there… a city not of his own?”

“Demacli was just like my Yllana, in fact, he was a lot worse. I would know, he came to me once, but I could not help him. This man…” she paused in thought and then said, “This God-man freed him from not just one or two evil spirits, but a legion of them. He is the one I have been searching for. Yllana and I will leave the end of the week.”

To be continued…

PREV


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 5]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

“How are we not complete?” asked the old cart driver.

“Well, it’s something that I had heard based on their holy scrolls,” Elpida said.

“So, tell me what you learned.”

“This is what I understand. First, the God of the Jews is the one and only true God that created all things including mankind. This is according to their holy scrolls which was written by their greatest prophet, Moses. It was written that mankind was created in God’s image.”

“Image? You mean… ah… that we all look like their God?”

“Well, not exactly. You recall that I mentioned the old Jewish couple. Well, the old man, his name was Levi by the way… he used to be a synagogue teacher. And he explained that God is not a physical being with two arms, a head and so on. He is spirit while we are not. However, those qualities in us that separate us from animals is what is in the one God and He put them in all of us.”

“Ah… I think I understand… well, a little anyway. Please continue, Elpida.”

“Anyway, since mankind was made in His image, according to Levi, mankind was suppose to live a good life with Him in eternity.”

“A good life in eternity, you say. Well, my life is somewhat good but it is hard… even harder. I mean even yours is harder. So, what went wrong?”

“They sinned against their Creator. They were given a commandment but they eventually failed to keep it for one reason or another. And it was because of that one sin that we today are still paying for it. But that is not all. We are all destined for a place even worse than Hades… a fiery place of eternal despair.”

“Worse than Hades, you say. What could be worse than Hades?”

“I know not. But I myself would not want to end up there.”

“Mmm… and this messiah… this savior can save us from eternal damnation? How?”

“I do not know, but I am determined to find out.”

To be continued…


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 4]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

“You would think that their God would get tired of saving them especially when they continued to disobey him,” said the old cart driver. “Why would he do that, I wonder?”

“From what I understood, their God made a promise to the Jew’s ancient patriarch, Abraham, thousands of years ago,” she answered.

“What promise?”

“Three promises, actually,” she answered. “The first is about the land which will be theirs… forever. The second was made to Abraham himself.”

“Fascinating. Do tell.”

“Well, according to the stories, their God took him out to look at the night sky and count the stars. Then he said, ‘So shall your offspring be.’[Genesis 15:5] Seeing the incomprehension in his eyes, she explained, “His promise was that Abraham would always have descendent.”

“Ah. How about the third promise?”

“Well, this is where it gets interesting. The third was actually part of the first and seems like it was actually made for us… that is, we who are not direct descendent. Somehow, through Abraham’s offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.1 I was curious, so, I pursued it. And what I found out was about a legend of a coming Messiah; a Messiah who may be walking this land… today.”

[1. Genesis 26:4]

“Messiah? I heard of that word a number of times before. But what does it mean?”

“It’s the Hebrew word for Savior.”

“Ah yes… I’ve heard that the Jews talk of their waiting of such a one, to lead them to freedom against the Romans. So far, since I was a boy, there had been three of them stirring trouble. The last one, his bones’ still hanging on the cross along the old king’s road near Sepphoris… I think.”

“No, I think the Messiah is not just for the salvation of the Jews from the Romans. As I understand it, the Messiah is for all of us.”

“Us! A savior for us? You, me, Akbar on the lead wagon and the other drovers… all of us? Mmmm… Let me ask this. What do us need saving from exactly? I mean… ah… I live a simple life and I think I’m a good person. Do you think I’m a good person?”

“Of course, you are! But we are not perfect… or maybe that is not the right word. We are not complete to be with our Creator.”

“How are we not complete?”

To be continued…

PREV


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 3]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

“This is an even longer story to tell,” said Elpida.

“Wait!” The old cart driver hopped off the cart and went to the front. Elpida heard him whistle and gave some instructions to someone in Arabic. Then he quickly came back to the cart and jumped back on. “The oxens are tied to the cart in-front, so, we will not stray off the road, and we are still half a day out of Cadasa. I am all ears.”

Elpida could not help but laugh. The story she told him went back a few years after she left Greece. She had visited many temples, shrines and religious centers along the route she followed on the coast of Asia Minor. Epimenides identified that the unknown god was a foreign god. In her search, she had learned of a variety of gods from multiple cultures. She had discounted the deities of Rome who were practically the same Greek gods but with Roman names. She also discounted the gods of Egypt, Africa and an even little known fierce people of the frozen north. At that matter, she had serious doubts that the unknown god was part of any polytheistic system. However, there was one god that interested her. It was the Phoenician god, Baal. Even, if the Phoenicians worship other gods, to them, he stood out as being aptly called Ruler of the Universe, Rider of the Clouds, Almighty, and Lord of the Earth. At least, she thought.

When she arrived in Tyre, her search took another turn. Baal was not so powerful as his title entailed. Where once the temples of Baal dotted Phoenician territories throughout the Mediterranean in the past, but what Elpida found in the capital city was just a dilapidated one room structure with a very beat up small bronze statue. Through the words of a disillusioned priestess, Baal had lost his standing among the Phoenicians long time ago. His downfall was popularly credited to the conquests of the Babylonians, the Greeks and now the Romans. But the priestess had reluctantly revealed that Baal’s downfall was actually caused when he was defeated on a lone mountain of Carmel which was by the sea south of Tyre. When pressed for more, she revealed that Baal was spectacularly defeated by the one God of the Jews.

“By the God of the Jews!? I have not heard of this before,” cackled the old cart driver. “And I thought that this trip was going to be boring. So, please continue.”

“Well, I left Tyre and proceeded to Cadasa, where my family was from, and it was there I got to learn about the one God of the Hebrews.”

Elpida told him that after she settled in, she found a small settlement of Jews nearby. She befriended an old Jewish couple, who were the only ones of that tight-lipped little community that would talk to her. From their tutelage, she learned of the one God that created the world in just six days; and who have flooded the entire Earth for the evil of early man. This one God had chosen a single man, Abraham, from among all mankind to build the nation of Israel. The same nation he later saved in such a spectacular way from the four hundred year clutches of Egypt into the very land she lives on today. Time after time, the people of Israel needed saving and every time the one God had redeemed them undeservedly and quite miraculously. Interestingly enough, Elpida had observed that in every form of the Lord’s salvation, he had imparted the use of a redeemer… a human savior.

To be continued…

PREV


Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN OF MARK 7:26 [part 2]

A short story by JQuisumbing

Continued…

Elpida bent down to read the worn out and somewhat small inscription on the base which read “Agnostos Theos”, that is “Unknown God”. Shrugging her shoulders, she went on her way to do her business, forgetting it. But then in a country lane, she found another shrine; then another; then another. For the past month, she had discovered over ten of them mostly in Athens with a few in surrounding villages.

The priests told her that some three generations or so ago, the city was in the midst of a great pestilence. Epimenides of Crete, a prophet of great fame, came to the city at that time. It was he that counseled a rather odd plan after the sacrifices to the other known gods resulted in nothing. Flocks of hungry sheep were to be let loose throughout the city and the surrounding districts. Priests and their acolytes were to follow the sheep and observe them. Epimenides had instructed them to take note of any hungry sheep that stops to rest instead of naturally racing to the fields to graze. He also suggested that the sheep may identify which god was strongly offended by the Athenians. Skeptics were surprised that a great number of sheep did not graze but instead rested in numerous clusters in different parts of the city, none in front of any temple. Wherever the sheep rested, the priests erected an altar and sacrificed them there. Epimenides then declared that the god that was offended was a foreign deity and altars to this god was to be erected. Not long after, the plague ended.

Elpida was so intrigued that she would pester her teachers about this god, but most offered very little. She finally left that temple, moved to Athens and hounded the wise men of the different temples. Many speculated about this god but she was not satisfied. Eventually, her single mindedness for this foreign god had branded her as a heretic and was being driven out of the city. Her relatives told her that maybe she should return to the land of her birth.

“And so, you returned here in Sidon,” said the old cart driver. “I take it your travels down south not once but four times have something to do with your search and ah… for your daughter. How is she?”

“You are perceptive,” she smiled at him. “Before I left her over a month ago, Yllana was showing signs of no more than two evil spirits tormenting her. At times, one or both spirits would cause her to fall on the floor and shake uncontrollably. It was painful to watch. I have seen this before.”

“So have I, especially among the Jews. And I have also heard of a Jewish teacher with wondrous healing power. I take it that was your reason to go south.”

“Yes. I heard from a friend who was recently healed by him and that he was in the Capernaum district. I missed him by a week.”

“So, is there a connection between him and your mysterious unknown god?”

“I will know when he heals my Yllana.”

“When! You sound convinced. Besides the rumors, what made you think that this Jew can do this?”

“This is an even longer story to tell.”

To be continued…

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Author’s note:

Though this short story is basically fiction, the character of Elpida is based on an actual female personality described in Mark 7. She was a gentile who showed great faith.

There are many such characters in the Bible, many of them were not named at all, but yet there are worthy stories to tell about them. With the help of some sanctified imagination and some artistic license, I felt their stories should be told especially of their faithful encounters with Jesus Christ.