A short story by JQuisumbing
“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…
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.