Water or Wine? Man or Messiah?

On the fourth day of Master Simeon’s wedding feast, the wine ran out. We’d seen it coming, of course. The day before, my brother Jehu had hurried back to the kitchen with an empty wine jug in his hand, his forehead creased with worry. He rushed over to count the remaining wine skins and then silently beckoned me over.

“We’re not going to have enough,” he whispered. Continue reading

Teach us to Number our Days

It’s springtime in Johannesburg. The late-afternoon sun is still warm, and the light lingers longer than before. The sky is a deep blue, the dust washed away by the weekend’s rain. The breeze carries the occasional whiff of jasmine, or something equally sweet, which fills me with a fling-my-arms-to-the-sky-and-twirl-around kind of joy. Young, vibrant-green leaves are unfurling, not to be outdone by the pink and white blossoming bushes.

It’s springtime in Johannesburg, and it’s lovely. Continue reading

Come and See!

God created us to have fellowship with Him; it’s the only thing that can truly satisfy us. We gain a glimpse of how it was intended to look when we watch God walking with Adam in the Garden of Eden. We all know the story though. Sin crept in and broke that intimate friendship.

But Jesus came to reinstate, through his death on the cross, that deep friendship with God. Even while he was on earth, we start to see this fellowship restored. There is a bible story that tells of one perfect day spent with Jesus. Continue reading

Dust Drawings

I struggled to free myself of the tight grip on both my arms, pulling me through Jerusalem’s narrow streets. My thoughts whirled wildly, trying to make sense of what had just happened. One moment I had been warm and safe in Eli’s arms, and the next I was being dragged from the bed by men with leering eyes. I turned to look for Eli; surely he would come to my rescue? But there was no sight of him; all I saw were the disdainful glances of people pressing forward to catch a look at me. And I heard a single word rippling through the crowd: adulteress. Continue reading

Follow Me

I bend down and feel for the money bag at my feet. It’s heavier than normal for this time of the day. I’ve had the usual quota of ‘poor harvest’ stories, of course, but generally people know I mean business. Pay your taxes or suffer the consequence, that’s my motto. There’s the odd person who comes in and tries to play the ‘we grew up together’ card. Yet, I always remind myself of how they treat me once I leave this booth. To them I am the scum of the earth. Continue reading

Water-Walking

In all my years fishing on the Sea of Galilee, I had never seen a storm like this. Throughout the night the wind’s strength grew. It belligerently resisted us, flinging angry waves across our bow. As we fought to stay upright on the crests and troughs, despondency set in. We were tired, soaked to the bone and starting to fear for our lives. Then we saw a shadow moving across the water. Terror clenched at my heart and someone screamed. Could this be a spirit—a sure sign that we were doomed to die in this accursed storm? Continue reading

The Empty Cushion

Today our journey finds us winding down a dusty path between simple mud-brick homes. As we duck into the narrow entrance of one of these, we hear the clatter of a falling jug followed by a soft curse. After the bright sunlight, it takes our eyes a while to adjust to the dark interior, and so we hear the talking and laughter before we actually see the group of people reclining at a low table. From behind a wall a woman appears, the shards of a broken jug in her hands. As she leans down to speak to the rabbi, her eyes narrow accusingly on the single woman in the group. Continue reading