16th September 1946.
Jesus comes back from Bethany along the lower road (I mean the longer one, which does not go through the Mount of Olives, but enters the town through the suburb of Tophet).
He stops first to assist the lepers who ask Him for nothing but bread, then He goes straight to a large quadrangular basin, covered and closed on all sides but one. A well, a large covered well, the largest I have seen. It is larger than the well of the Samaritan woman, and it must also be rich in water because the ground around it is nourished by it and looks very fertile, in contrast with the arid sepulchral Hinnom valley, a glimpse of which can be caught to the north-west. Only a solid stone building like that of the well and its roof covering could resist the dampness of the ground. And the dark huge stones, which even without being an expert one realises are ancient, resist protecting the precious water.
Although it is a dull day and the sepulchres of the lepers are close at hand, and they always diffuse much sadness in the neighbourhood, the place is pleasing both because of its rich fertility and because behind it, to the north, there are large gardens with all kinds of trees raising their thick tops towards the grey sky which hangs low over the town, and in front of it, to the south the Kidron, widens its bed and becomes richer in water, as the valley becomes brighter and richer in light, following for a good stretch the road which goes to Bethany and Jericho.
There are many people: women with amphorae, ass-drivers with buckets, caravans arriving or departing, are stopping near the well and drawing water. A large strip of ground is damp because of the water dripping from buckets while filling containers. Calm sweet voices of women, trilling voices of children, deep hoarse strong voices of men, braying of donkeys and wild cries of camels, which lying down under their loads are awaiting the return of the camel-driver with water.
It is a typical scene at a hazy sunset when the sky is stained with an unnatural sudden yellow which spreads a strange light on everything, while higher up heavy leaden clouds pile up one on top of the other. The upper parts of the town look ghastly in the strange light against the leaden sky marked with streaks the colour of sulphur.
« It looks like water and wind... » says Peter sententiously, and he asks: « Where are we going this evening? »
« To the gardener's. I am going up to the Temple tomorrow and... »
« Again? Watch what You are doing! You had better accept the invitation of the freedmen near the synagogue »suggests Simon Zealot.
« Then, as one synagogue is as good as another, there are many more, which have manifested that they want Him! But why they? » says Judas of Kerioth.
« Because they are the safest. And there is no need to explain why » replies the Zealot.
« Safe!!! What makes you so sure? »
« The fact that they remained faithful notwithstanding all they suffered. »
« Do not quarrel. Tomorrow I am going up to the Temple. That is decided. Let us stay here for a little while. It is always a good place where one may evangelize. »
« Not better than any other. I don't know why You prefer it. »
« Why, Judas? For many reasons which I will explain to those who gather here, and for one which I will tell you all in particular.
The three Wise Men from the East stopped uncertain and disappointed at this well of the fountain of Rogel, as the Star that had guided them from so far had disappeared. Any other man would have mistrusted God and himself. They prayed until dawn near their tired camels, the only ones to be awake among the sleeping servants, and then at dawn they got up and set out towards the gates, daring the danger of being considered mad and instigators and daring also the danger of their lives. Herod, the blood-thirsty king, then reigned, remember that. And much less than what they, the Wise Men, wanted to tell him was enough for him to condemn them to death. But they were looking for Me. They were not seeking glory, riches, honours. They were looking for Me, for Me only. A Baby: their Messiah, their God. The research for God, being good, always gives assistance and courage. Fears, low things are the inheritance of those who dream of base things. They yearned to worship God. They were strong in their love, which, after a few hours, was rewarded, as the Star appeared once again to their eyes, here, in the moonlit night. Those who seek God with justice and love are never without the star of God. The three Wise Men! They could have rested among the false honours which Herod wanted to give them after the response of the chief priests, scribes and doctors. They were so tired!... But they did not stop even for one night and before the gates were closed they came out and stopped here until dawn. Then... not the dawn of the sun but the dawn of God appeared again to make the way as bright as silver; the Star called them with its light and they came to the Light. Blessed! Blessed they and those who know how to imitate them! »
The apostles and Marjiam with Isaac are intent on listening with the blissful look their faces always have when Jesus recalls His birth, and Isaac, enraptured, sighs, smiles, remembering... with an ecstatic face, remote from time and place, having gone back over thirty years, to that night, that Star that he saw when he was with his herd...
More people have come near, because the road is busy, and they listen, and some recollect the wonderful caravan, and the news brought by them... and its consequences.
« This is always a place of meditation. History always repeats itself. This is always a place of trial. For good and for bad people. But the whole life is a trial for the faith and justice of man.
I remind you of Hushai, Zadox and Abiathar, of Jonathan and Ahimaaz, who left from this place to save their king and were protected by God because they were acting according to justice.
I will remind you of an event connected to this same place but did not have a happy outcome because it was an outrage and thus it was not blessed by God. Near the Zoheleth stone, close to the fountain of En-Rogel, Adonijah conspired against the will of his father and got the men of his party to proclaim him king. But the abuse was of no avail to him, because before the banquet was over the hosannas sung in Gihon informed him, even before Jonathan of Abiathar spoke, that Solomon was the king and that he, who wanted to usurp the throne, had to rely only on Solomon's mercy. Too many people repeat the deed of Adonijah and fight against the true King or plot against Him following the party which seems the strongest one. And too many, by doing so, will be able to cling to the altar horns begging forgiveness and trusting in God's mercy.
Now that we have considered three events that took place near this well, can we say that this place is subject to good or bad influences? No. Not the place. Not the time. Not the events, but it is the will of man that upsets the actions of man. En-Rogel saw the loyalty of David's servants and Adonijah's sin, as it saw the faith of the three Wise Men. It is the same well. Jonathan and Ahimaaz, like Adonijah and his followers, like the three Wise Men leaned on its stones and quenched their thirst with its water. But the water and the stones saw three different things: loyalty to king David, betrayal of king David, and loyalty to God and the King of kings. It is always the will of man that brings about good or evil. And the Will of God throws its light on the will of man and the will of Satan its poisonous vapours. It is up to man to accept the light or the poison and become just or sinner.
A guardian is placed at that well so that no one may infect the water. And in addition to the guardian it was given walls and a roof, so that the wind might not blow into it leaves and dirt, which might defile the precious water. Also to man God gave a guardian: the intelligent and conscious will of man; and He gave him protections: the commandments and angelical advice, so that the spirit of man might not be corrupted consciously or unconsciously. But when man corrupts his conscience, his intellect, he does not listen to the inspirations from Heaven, he tramples on the Law, he is like a guardian who leaves the well unguarded, or like a madman who dismantles its defences. He leaves the field open to devilish enemies, to the concupiscence of the world and of the flesh, and to 'temptations, which, even if they are not yielded to, are to be prudently watched and rejected.
Children of Jerusalem, Hebrews, proselytes, wayfarers who have come here by chance to listen to the voice of God, be wise with true wisdom, which consists in defending one's ego from deeds disgracing man.
I see many Gentiles here. I point out to them that not only riches and merchandise are to be purchased, but there is another thing to be acquired, and that is the life of one's soul; because man has a soul in himself, that is something impalpable, but it makes him live, a thing that does not die when his flesh dies, a thing that is entitled to live its true life, an eternal life, but cannot live it if man kills his true self by means of his evil deeds.
Idolatry and Gentilism can be overcome. A wise man meditates and says: “Why must I follow idols and live without the hope of a better life, whereas by going to the true God I can achieve eternal joy?” Man is frugal of his days and death horrifies him. The more he is enveloped in the darkness of false religions or in unbelief, the more he fears death. But he who comes to the true Faith is no longer terrified of death because he knows that beyond death there is an eternal life where spirits will meet again and where there will be no more pains or separations. It is not difficult to follow the way of Life. It is sufficient to believe in the Only true God, to love our neighbour and love honesty in every action.
You people of Israel are aware of what is commanded and what is forbidden. But I will repeat such things for these people who are listening to My words and will take them far away... (and He says the Decalogue). True religion consists in that, not in vain pompous sacrifices. It is necessary to obey the precepts of perfect morals, of faultless virtue, to be merciful, to avoid what dishonours man, to give up vanities, deceptive divinations, false augurs, the dreams of the wicked, as the sapiential book says, to make use of the gifts of God with justice, that is health, wealth, riches, intellect, power, not to be proud, as pride is a sign of stupidity because man is alive, healthy, rich, wise, powerful as long as God grants him it, not to cherish immoderate desires that often lead one even to commit crime. Summing up, one must live as a man and not as a brute, also out of respect for oneself.
It is easy to descend, it is difficult to rise. But who would like to live in a putrid abyss only because he has fallen into it, and would not try to come out of it climbing back to the flowery summits bright with sunlight? I solemnly tell you that the life of a sinner is placed in an abyss and likewise a life in error. But those who receive the Word of truth and come to the Truth climb to the tops of the Light.
You may now go to your destinations. And remember that near the fountain of En-Rogel, the Source of Wisdom gave you its water to drink so that you may thirst for it again and you may come back to it. »
Jesus makes His way and sets out towards the town, leaving the people to make comments, to ask questions and reply to them.