Simon the Leper – S1 – Jerusalem
Jerusalem is about two miles from Bethany. Simon and his son were on the Jericho road riding on a wagon. The ancient road went from the Jordan River valley city of Jericho up the Judean Highlands over the Mount of Olives to the southern gates of Jerusalem. As Simon rode through the gates, he looked up at the towering ramparts of the old city of David sitting on a prominant narrow ridge overlooking the Tyropoeon Valley to the west, the Hinnom Valley to the south, and the Kidron Valley on the east. In those walls is his destination. He owns an old government building that he uses as both storage and trading.
“Hello Imraam,” Simon hailed a crippled man being carried on a palette by two men across a crowded cobbled stone street. “I thought you would be at the north side of the city at this time?”
As the wagon slowed down by him, Imraam answered nonchalantly over his shoulder, “I was there, my old friend, but I was summoned to my relatives.”
“What for, Imraam?”
“What else, Simon? They are wondering why I have not gone to the bossoms of my fathers.” He chuckled loudly. “But as you could see,” he raised himself up on his palete showing a wide grin. “I may not be able to walk but I may live longer than them.” They both laughed out loud.
Well, I going back home and tomorrow… back to my spot at the pool of Bethesda. Maybe, that will be the day that the angel will stir the waters and I’ll be lucky.”
“Well, Imraam… I wish you luck.” Simon coaxed the mules to turn right. Imraam and his servants was soon disappeared amongst the heavy traffic of people and animals.
“Poor Imraam,” Simon shook his head as he chuckled himself.
“Father? Do you ever think that an angel of Lord would stir the water as the legend states? And do you think, Imraam can ever get into the water first ahead of the others?”
“He has been going to that pool for about thirty years now since he became crippled. Can you believe it? I really hope he does.”
They weaved their wagon up a noisy busy street. To their left rose the jam packed square houses of the lower city of Jerusalem. According to a trader friend of his, over three hundred thousand people live in squalor there based on the last census by the current Roman governor. To their right was the shored up canal creek the water of which ran down from the temple mount and was lined with chattering women doing their laundry. The creek then collected at the pool of Siloam before draining out under the city walls.
“Father, look!” Lazarus was pointing at a flapping banner hanging on the side of a long tall structure across the canal creek. “The chariot races are coming back in a week from now.”
“I know, son. I do have eyes.”
“I know father how you hate the sport. But surely, those of our people who race in the arena, do they not bolster the pride of our people?”
“Pride, you say. Be careful, my son, remember what the prophets says, ‘Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.’ (Proverbs 16:18 NLT) And trust me, I have seen many racers fall, both of our people and foreigners.”
Simon coaxed the mule to turn right. They went over a wide bridge that crossed over the canal and started up a gentle incline with the arena to their right. And as his habit, Simon looked to his left and his eyes followed up a grand staircase the went up about 40 feet then it dramatically turned right as it bridged over empty space and went up another 30 feet to the Temple Mount. This architectural feat have never failed to impress him. The mount itself took up most of the view of the sky. They rode unto the landing of a vast plaza with the massive southern walls of the Temple Mount rising over 90 feet tall looking down upon them. They rode by a busy market place then stopped by one of the stall which he own. After Simon spoke with a the stall merchant who worked for him, he and his son drove their wagon into the old City of David.
In the days of King David to the Judean exile to Babylon, the city was both his residence and government buildings. Most of the palaces were torn down by the invading Babylonians. Only a few government buildings were still standing. Then, when the exiles returned, the old city was rebuilt but remnants of David’s line did not rebuild the palaces. By the time the Romans came, the City of David was mostly made up of the residences of the rising middle class.
They rode through the old city’s porticos, then Simon stopped the wagon infront of one of the surviving 3-story government building which he had taken over. A servant came out to tie the mule to a hitching pole. Both Simon and Lazarus alighted off the wagon and entered the building.
“Master?” said a stout man slowly getting up from behind a wide desk. “We were not expecting you for a couple of days.”
“I know, I know Joral,” Simon said. “Lazarus and I are here in the city to see my cousin at the Temple. Since we were in the neighborhood, I thought I’d check on the rennovations upstairs.”
Joral trailed behind them as they crossed the lower floor where laborers were busy unpacking bundles of processed wheat husks. Some of them carried several bundle to an adjoing room where a millstone can be see moving in circle.
“How many bags of flour produced today?” Simon asked Joral as they ascended a grand staircase.
“Only about 9 bags. One of our asses became ill. We had to wait for a replacement.”
“You see, my son,” Simon said to Lazarus. “This business requires constant overseeing. If Joral was not here, there could have been a longer delay in fulfilling the order. This is why you must pay more attention and remember that the clothing you wear and everything else comes from this business.”
“Yes father,” he said with a slight hint of exaspiration.
Simon was smiling inside when they reached the second floor. The went down a hallway a little to where they can hear hammering. Jorel pushed open ornately carved double doors to reveal a vast room.
“As you can see, Master. They took down the walls of 3 large rooms to form this large room. I believe this room can hold over a hundred people.”
“Excellent, Jorel. This large room should bring in some extra revenue. When will they finish the rennovations?”
“In 3 months or so, Master.”
“Good… just in time for the summer festivals. Very well, we must go. It will be a long climb to the top of the Temple Mount.”
Again, I would like to invite your comments with constructive inputs which I’ll look forward to put into good use as I direct my creative thoughts.
I hope you enjoy what I hope will be the product of my Spirit sanctified imagination.
Until the next post,
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