15th June 1945.
The sun is setting in a red sky when Jesus comes in view of Johanan's fields.
« Let us quicken our pace, My friends, before the sun sets. And you, Peter, go with your brother to inform our friends, Doras' men. »
« I will go indeed, also to see whether the son has really gone away. » Peter stresses the word « son ». And he goes away.
In the meantime Jesus proceeds at a slower pace, looking around to see whether any of Johanan's men are about. But He can only see the fertile fields, in which the ears of grain are already well formed.
At last, a face, wet with perspiration, appears among the vine-leaves and an exclamation is heard: « Oh! Blessed Lord! » and the peasant runs out of the vineyard and prostrates himself at Jesus' feet. « Peace to you, Isaiah! »
« Oh! You remember also my name? »
« It is written in My heart. Stand up. Where are your companions? »
« Over there. In the apple-orchards. But I will tell them at once. You will be our guest, will You not? The master is not here and we can welcome You. In any case... what with the fear, what with the joy... it is better. Just imagine, he gave us a lamb this year and will allow us to go to the Temple! He has given us only six days... but we will run all the way... We will be in Jerusalem, too... Imagine!... And thanks to You. » The man is in his seventh heaven of delight because he has been treated as a man and as an Israelite.
« I have done nothing, as far as I know...» says Jesus smiling.
« Eh! no! You have done a great deal. Doras, and the fields of Doras, and these ones here, which are instead so beautiful this year... Johanan was informed of your visit, and he is not a fool. He is afraid and... and he is afraid. »
« Of what? »
« He is afraid that what happened to Doras may happen to him. Both with regard to his life and to his property. Have You seen Doras' fields? »
« I have come from Nain...»
« In that case You have not seen them. They are a complete ruin. (The man whispers that in a low but clear voice, like someone imparting a secret concerning something dreadful.) They are all ruined! There is no hay, no fodder, no fruit. Vines and orchards withered... Dead... everything is dead... like Sodom and Gomorrah... Come, I will show You. »
« It is not necessary. I am going to see those peasants...»
« But they are no longer here! Did You not know? Doras, the son of Doras, has scattered them or dismissed them, and the ones he sent to the other country places which belong to him, must not speak of You, or they will be lashed... Not to speak of You! That will be difficult! Also Johanan said so to us. »
« What did he say? »
« He said: “I am not so foolish as Doras and I will not say to you: `I do not want you to speak of the Nazarene.' It would be useless, because you would do it just the same and I do not want to lose you by lashing you to death like untameable animals. On the contrary I say to you: 'Be good as the Nazarene certainly teaches you and tell Him that I treat you well.' I do not want to be cursed, too.” Of course, he can see what these fields are like after You blessed them, and what the ones You cursed are like. Oh! Here are the ones who ploughed the field for me...» and the man runs to meet Peter and Andrew.
But Peter greets him briefly and proceeds on his way and begins to shout: « Oh! Master! There is no one left! They are all new faces. And everything is laid waste! He could very well do without any peasants here. It is worse than the Salt Seal...»
« I know. Isaiah told Me. »
« But come and see! What a sight...»
Jesus pleases him after saying to Isaiah: « I will stay with you. Tell your companions. But do not go to any trouble. I have enough food. All we need is a barn to sleep in and your love. I will come back soon. »
The sight of Doras' fields is really distressing. Fields and meadows are dry and barren, vineyards are withered, the foliage and fruit of trees are completely destroyed by millions of insects of all kinds. Also the garden-orchard near the house looks like a desolate dying wood. The peasants wander to and fro uprooting weeds, crushing caterpillars, snails, earth-worms and the like, shaking branches under which they place basins full of water to drown little butterflies, aphides and other parasites which cover the leaves and eat away the plant until it dies. They endeavour to find a sign of life in the vine-shoots, which break like dry wood as soon as they are touched and some times fall off the main branch, as if the roots had been cut by a saw. The contrast with Johanan's fields, vineyards and orchards is most striking and the ruin of the cursed fields seems more impressive when compared to the fruitfulness of the others.
« The hand of the God of Sinai is a heavy one » whispers Simon the Zealot.
Jesus makes a gesture as if to say: « How right you are! » but He does not say anything. He only asks: « How did it happen? »
A peasant replies between his teeth: « Moles, locusts, worms... but go away! The steward is faithful to Doras... Don't cause us trouble...»
Jesus sighs and goes away.
Another peasant, who is bent under an apple-tree earthing it up, in the hope he may save it, says: « We will reach You tomorrow... when the steward goes to Jezreel for the prayer... we will come to Micah's house. »
Jesus makes the gesture of blessing and goes away.
When He goes back to the cross-road, all the peasants of Johanan are there and joyful and happy they surround their Messiah and take Him to their poor dwellings.
« Did You see, over there? »
« Yes, I did. Doras' peasants are coming tomorrow. »
« Of course, when the hyenas go to pray... We do that every Sabbath... and we speak of You, we tell what we heard from Jonah, from Isaac, who often comes to see us, and what we learned from You in Tishri. We speak as best we can. Because it is impossible not to speak of You. And the more we suffer, the more we are forbidden, the more we speak of You. Those poor people... they drink the essence of life every Sabbath... But how many there are in this plain who are in need of knowing, of knowing You at least, and yet they cannot come here...»
« I will see to them as well. And may you be blessed for what you do. »
The sun is setting while Jesus enters a kitchen blackened by smoke. The Sabbath rest begins.