21st January 1947.
Jesus is walking along a solitary road. The children's relatives are ahead of Him, the people from Shechem are beside Him. They are in a wild area. No town is in sight. The children have been put on the backs of some donkeys and their relatives are holding the reins and watching them. The donkeys without any rider, as the people of Shechem have preferred to go on foot to be near Jesus, are going ahead of the men, in a herd and are braying, now and again, for joy of going back to their stables, without any load, on a wonderful day, between banks covered with fresh grass into which they dip their nostrils now and again to enjoy a mouthful of it, and then they caracole with joyful amble and join their companions laden with riders. Which makes the children laugh.
Jesus is speaking to the people of Shechem or is listening to what they say. The Samaritans are obviously proud to have the Master with them and they are dreaming more than is convenient. So that they say to Jesus, pointing at the high mountains on the left of people going northwards: « See? Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim have a bad reputation. But, at least as far as You are concerned, they are much better than Zion. And they would be completely so, if You wanted that, by choosing them as Your dwelling place. Zion is always the den of the Jebusites. And the present ones are more hostile to You than the ancient ones were to David. By making use of violence David captured the citadel; but as You do not make use of violence, You will never reign there. Never. Stay with us, Lord, and we will honour You. »
Jesus replies: « Tell Me: would you have loved Me if I had tried to conquer you through violence? »
« Not... really. We love You because You are all love. »
« So it is through love that I reign in your hearts? »
« Yes, it is, Master. But it is so because we have accepted Your love. But those in Jerusalem do not love You. »
« That is true. They do not love Me. But since you are all expert in trading, tell Me: when you want to sell, buy and make a profit, do you lose heart because in certain places people do not love you, or do you do your business just the same, as you are only anxious to make good purchases and good sales, without worrying whether the money you have earned is devoid of the love of those who sold to you or bought of you? »
« We are only anxious to do good business. It does not matter if it lacks the love of those who deal with us. Once the business is done, there is no more connection. Only the profit remains, the rest... is of no importance. »
« Well, I do the same. Since I came to look after the interests of My Father, I must take care of them only. Then if I find love or derision or harshness where I look after them, it does not worry Me. In a trading town one does not make a profit, purchases or sales with everybody. But even if you deal with one person only and you make a good profit you say that your journey was not a useless one and you go back again and again. Because what you achieve with one person only the first time, you achieve with three people the second time, with seven the fourth time, with ten and ten thereafter. Is it not so? I act for the conquests for Heaven, as you do for your business. I insist, I persevere, I find that the little, in number, or the great are sufficient, because even only one soul saved is a great thing, the great reward obtained through My work. Every time that I go somewhere and I overcome what may be the reaction of the Man, so that as King of the spirit I may conquer only one subject, I do not say that My going there was useless or that I suffered or worked in vain. But I say that mockery, insults, accusations were holy, loving and desirable. I would not be a good conqueror if I stopped before the obstacles of granitic fortresses. »
« But it would take You ages to defeat them. You... are a man. You will not live for ages. Why waste Your time where You are not wanted? »
« I shall live much less. Nay, I shall soon be no longer among you, I shall no longer see dawns and sunsets like milestones of days that rise and of days that end, but I shall only contemplate them as the beauties of creation and for them I will praise the Creator Who made them and Who is My Father; I shall no longer see trees blossom and corn ripen, neither shall I need the fruits of the earth to keep alive, because when I go back to My Kingdom, I will feed on love. And yet I will demolish the many fortresses closed in the hearts of men.
Look at that stone up there, under that spring, on the slope of the mountain. The spring is a very scanty one, I would say that the water does not flow, but it drips: a drop that has been falling for ages on that rock protruding from the side of the mountain. And the stone is a very hard one. It is not crumbly limestone or soft alabaster, it is very hard basalt. And yet see how at the centre of the convex rock, and despite its shape, a tiny sheet of water has formed, not any larger than the calyx of a water-lily, but sufficient to reflect the blue sky and quench the thirst of birds. Did man perhaps make that cavity on the convex rock to place a blue gem on the dark rock and a refreshing cup for birds? No. Man took no part in it. In the many centuries during which men have passed before this rock that a drop of water has been hollowing out for ages with unrelenting rhythmical erosive action, we are perhaps the first to notice this dark basalt with its liquid turquoise in its centre, we admire its beauty and we praise the Eternal Father Who wanted it to delight our eyes and to refresh the birds that nest in the vicinity. But tell Me. Was it perhaps the first drop that leaked under the basaltic ledge above the rock and fell from that height on this block, was it that drop that excavated the cup which reflects the sky, the sun, clouds and stars? No. Millions and millions of drops have followed one another, leaking through like tears up there, sparkling as they descended to strike the rock and dying on it with the note of a harp, and excavated the hard material for so tiny a depth that is immeasurable. And thus for ages, marking the time like a sand-glass, so many drops an hour, so many during a watch, so many between dawn and sunset, and between night and daybreak, so many a day, so many from Sabbath to Sabbath, so many from new moon to new moon, so many from Nisan to Nisan, and from one century to the next one. The rock resisted, the drop persisted. Man, who is proud and thus impatient and lazy, would have thrown away mallet and gouge after the first strokes saying: “It cannot be scooped out.” The drop excavated it. It was what it had to do. What it was created for. And it groaned, one drop after the other, for ages, until it hollowed out the rock. And afterwards it did not stop, saying: “Now the sky will see to nourishing the cup, which I excavated, with dews and rain, with frost and snow.” But it continued to drop and by itself it fills the tiny cup during the warm summer months, during the rigours of winter, while pelting or drizzling rains wrinkle the sheet of water but cannot embellish or widen or deepen it, because it is already full, useful and beautiful. The spring knows that its daughters, the drops, go to die in the little basin, but does not hold them back. On the contrary it urges them towards their sacrifice, and to avoid them being left alone and becoming sad, it sends new sisters after them, so that the dying ones are not lonely and they see themselves perpetuated in the others. Likewise, being the first to strike the solid fortresses of hardened hearts thousands of times and being perpetuated in My successors, whom I will send until the end of time, I will open a way into them and My Law will enter like a sun wherever there are human creatures. If they refuse the Light and close the ways opened with unexhausted work, My successors and I will not be guilty in the eyes of our Father. If that spring of water had followed a different course, seeing the hardness of the rock, and had fallen in drops farther away, where the soil is covered with grass, tell Me, would we have that shining gem, and would the birds have that clear refreshment? »
« No, it would not have even been seen, Master »; « At most... some grass, thicker also in summer, would have indicated the spot where the spring dripped »; « Or also... less grass than elsewhere, as its roots rotted in the perpetual dampness »; « And slush. Nothing else. Thus a useless trickle. »
« You are right. Useless, or at least worthless. I also would accomplish an imperfect task, if I were to prefer only those places where hearts are willing to accept Me out of justice or fondness. Because I would work but without any fatigue, nay, with great satisfaction of My ego, with a complaisant compromise between duty and pleasure. It is not toilsome to work where one is surrounded by love and where love makes souls ductile to work on. But if there is no fatigue there is no merit, neither is there much profit because few conquests are made if one limits oneself to those who are already in justice. I would not be Myself if I did not try to redeem all men first to the Truth and then to Grace. »
« And do You think that You will succeed? What else can You do in addition to what You have already done to persuade Your enemies to accept Your word? What, if not even the resurrection of the man in Bethany has served to make the Jews say that You are the Messiah of God? »
« I have still something greater to do, something much greater than that. »
« When, Lord? »
« When the moon of Nisan will be full. Pay attention then. »
« Will there be a sign in the sky? They say that when You were born the sky made it known by means of lights, songs and unusual stars. »
« It is true. To tell men that the Light had come to the world. Then, in Nisan, there will be signs in the sky and on the earth, and it will seem to be the end of the world, because of the darkness and the shaking and the roaring of thunder in the firmament and of the earthquakes in the opened bowels of the Earth. But it will not be the end. On the contrary, it will be the beginning. Previously, when I came, Heaven gave birth to the Saviour for men, and as it was a deed of God, peace was the companion of the event. At Nisan the Earth, of its own free-will, will give birth to the Redeemer for itself, and as it will be a deed of men, peace will not be its companion. But there will be a dreadful convulsion. And in the horror of the hour of the century and of hell, the Earth will tear its bosom under the burning arrows of divine wrath, and will shout its will, too inebriated to understand its purport, too strongly possessed by Satan to stop it. Like a mad woman in labour, it will think it is destroying the fruit believed to be cursed, and will not understand that it is instead raising it thus to places where neither sorrow nor snares will reach it. The tree, the new tree, will then spread out its branches all over the Earth, forever and ever, and He Who is speaking to you will be acknowledged, either with love or with hatred, as the true Son of God and the Messiah of the Lord. And woe to those who will recognise Him without admitting it and without being converted to Me. »
« Where will that happen, Lord? »
« In Jerusalem. It is the city of the Lord. »
« So we shall not be there because in the month of Nisan we have to stay here for Passover. We are faithful to our Temple. »
« It would be better if you were faithful to the living Temple that is neither on the Moria nor on the Gerizim, but being divine, is universal. But I can wait for your hour, when you will love God and His Messiah in spirit and truth. »
« We believe that You are the Christ. That is why we love You. »
« To love is to leave the past and enter My present time. You do not love me perfectly yet. »
The Samaritans look at one another stealthily without speaking. Then one of them says: « For Your sake, to come to You, we would do it. But even if we wanted, we cannot enter where there are Judaeans. You know that. They do not want us... »
« And you do not want them. But be at peace. Before long there will no longer be two regions, two Temples, two opposed opinions, but one people only, one Temple only, one faith only for all those eager for the Truth. But I will leave now. The children by now have been comforted and their attention has been distracted; and long is My way back to Ephraim to arrive there before it gets dark. Do not become excited. Your behaviour might attract the attention of the little ones, and it is better if they do not notice My departure. Go on, I am stopping here. May the Lord guide you along the paths of the Earth and on those of His Way. Go. »
Jesus draws close to the mountain and lets them go away. The last thing that is noticed, of the caravan going back to Shechem, is a child's joyful laughter that spreads along the silent mountain way.