We had some important documents to deliver to an address in Magdala at work, and as I didn’t have much else on I volunteered to take them. It’s a day’s journey, so I took the work donkey, dropped in at home to say I’d be away overnight and set off. I made the delivery and then started to look around for an inn for the night. I was in two minds about whether to drop in on Jesus’ wife Mary but decided the rudeness of not saying hello would be worse than the embarrassment of not being welcome. I arrived, tied the donkey to a post and knocked on the front door. I heard a woman call out, asking someone else to answer it. It’s nice to have servants. The door opened.
“Oh, er, hi,” he said, his blush clashing with his tousled red hair. “Come in. Fancy seeing you here. I’ll get a bowl for you to wash your feet, then you can probably stay for a meal if you want.”
“If I ever have to gut another fish…” said an approaching voice. “Oh, hello Thomas. What are you doing in town?” She leaned forward and we kissed.
“Just making a delivery for work, so I thought I’d drop by to see how you were before I found an inn for the night. I don’t suppose you’ve heard from Jesus at all, by any chance? The last I saw of him he was setting off to test himself in the desert for forty days and forty nights before setting out on his mission to save the Jewish people and prepare them for the final coming of the Kingdom. ”
“No, but what do you think of my new manservant? Almost the spitting image of Jesus, wouldn’t you say? I always thought you looked quite a lot like him, but this chap could be my husband’s identical twin.”
“Oh shut up,” said Jesus. “I was doing very well in the wilderness, thank you, but I’d got the general idea after a few days. When some kind soul found me and offered me a ride on his donkey to Magdala, I thought it would be rude to refuse…”
“I thought the idea was that you only truly found your true self if you stayed the course and pushed yourself to the limits,” I mused. “How were the locusts by the way? I’ve heard they can be delicious, if a bit wriggly and crunchy.”
While Jesus struggled for a clever response, silently moving his jaw like a freshly-caught fish, Mary interrupted.
“I’m sure we’ll hear the full story eventually,” she said, “but let’s leave it for now. Why don’t you stay for dinner – stay the night if you haven’t already booked something – and we can do some catching up. I haven’t seen you for ages; you must tell me all the latest news on your family.”
“I was just getting Tom a bowl for his feet,” said Jesus, slinking off.
“Good idea,” she said. “Did you come by donkey, Thomas? You can put it in the paddock; there’s grass and water there. I hope you like fish.”
We ate and drank and talked and the evening soon passed. It was all very convivial but at times the mood was as tense as a snagged fishing line, so I thought it would be better if I slipped away to let them talk in private. I said I had to be up early in the morning and went to my room. There’s a bit more rise and fall in the conversation now they’re on their own, but I’m not going to try to listen. They need to work things out between themselves.