How could this happen? I wondered. How could pain be so intense, yet my skin remain intact? From the
anguish I felt, the crown of thorns on my Son‟s head should have drawn blood on my own brow. The taste of
vinegar my Son drank had turned my mouth sour with bitterness.
As I watched my Child slowly die, I felt a hundred years old, instead of forty-nine.
Glancing down, fresh blisters on sand-encrusted feet caught my eye. As I moved from one foot to the other
attempting to alleviate pain, the blisters broke and a few drops of liquid oozed. It reminded me of the many
times Jesus and I bathed our feet with fresh water from the well in Nazareth. Forgetting where I was, I could
almost feel that cool, clean water. For a moment, the water of my imagination relieved the soreness in my feet.
A drop of Jesus‟ blood fell onto my hand. I glanced up. It reminded me of the night He was born. Abruptly, I
felt as though I were back in a more lighthearted time . . . the night I first met Gabriel.
That night...ah, that night...the night I learned I was to become the mother of the Son of God beamed in my
thoughts as brightly now as the morning sun had that day in Nazareth.
Dawn of that fateful day began as most mornings did for our small town of Nazareth.
I woke, stretched and rose silently. The lowered lamp on the tall stand flickered, relieving shadows along the
walls. Smoke rose to the ceiling as a slight breeze from my movements fanned it.
I straightened the short sleep wear and looked at my family. As in most homes, Father‟s bed stood nearest the
door, Daniel and Leah next, mine, then mother‟s. Our beds had metal frames held together with iron rods.
Before I was born, Father bored holes into the bed frames. Mother wove cords which were then threaded
through the holes producing a place on which to place our pallets.
I smiled as I looked at twelve year old Daniel sprawled in abandon. His thin arms and legs were thrown from
wrinkled bed clothing and his cape was wrapped lightly about his middle. His eyelids fluttered as he dreamed
and his nose wrinkled like an animal who has smelled a feast.
Diminutive ten-year-old Leah slept with the trust of a baby. Her mouth curved into a sleep-ridden smile, and
dark hair framed a tiny face. Father slept soundly, his head cradled by his muscular arms. As he snored softly,
Mother rolled over, knowing instinctively one of her children was moving about.
I yawned, then stretched my arms toward the ceiling. From a nearby table I lifted a robe, slipped it over my
arms and walked through the door leading to our largest room. Passing by, I barely noticed the table Joseph had
fashioned for my parents. I remembered how, in sunlight, it glistened brightly from my Mother‟s scrubbing and
I slipped on sandals and tied thongs around my ankles.
Near the door was a large basket, or bushel, as we sometimes called it, turned up-side-down. A basin of water
sat atop the bushel. I washed and dried my hands and face, wiped drops of water from the bushel top, then
picked up the water jug. Opening the door to the outside, I stepped onto stones that bordered our home, then
softly closed the door.
Looking around, I saw none of our neighbors who normally gathered for a walk to the well. It was a little earlier
than usual, I thought, because lately I was too excited to sleep. The days were passing so rapidly I wondered if
I‟d have time to complete all my chores before the wedding date.
This early in the morning the sun‟s rays were merely a hint in the heavens as I hurried toward the well. The
silhouetted trees looked stark, yet majestic against a grey sky.
Passing by honeysuckle vines, the odor wafted under my nose as I plucked a recently-opened bloom. I sucked
the liquid, savoring the nectar. I almost felt like a thief, robbing nectar the bees were, even now, removing.
Juice from the flower was sweet and the taste lingered.