Jesus wanted to remain longer in Bethany, but Cyrus woke us early yesterday morning and announced that we were leaving. Jesus asked if we couldn’t at least stay for the special rain prayers at the end of Booths on Monday, but Cyrus wasn’t in the mood for discussion. From what I’ve heard via Tom, I think Jesus must have a bit of a hang-up about rain prayers, and perhaps he wanted to see how they did it in Jerusalem.
With Jesus and me squashed together in the seat on the camel’s hump, and Cyrus doing his best not to look uncomfortable, we waved goodbye to Mary and headed north. We were in Shiloh by early afternoon and stopped at the gatehouse of Cyrus’s house for food and water and to stretch our aching legs and backs. We managed to reach a place called Geba before sunset, where Cyrus booked us into an inn. He knew the people in charge there too. We had a pleasant evening and a good night’s sleep, and were up early again in the morning. Jesus protested that it was still the Sabbath but Cyrus said that as he was doing all the work and was a Samaritan, it would be OK.
We soon reached Nazareth and I thought Cyrus might continue all the way to Magdala, but to my surprise he said he had things to do and would leave us here. He probably thought we would want to spend time with friends and family, and I know he gets uncomfortable as someone else’s guest, so I let him go. I was so grateful for all he had done for us over the past week and told him so. He hugged me with those big hairy arms and kissed me, which I have to confess gave me an unexpected thrill. Jesus didn’t react. I guessed he was distracted by thoughts of what to do while we were here.
I didn’t particularly want to see his family, and he obviously wasn’t ready to meet Tom again yet, so we split up and went to stay in separate houses. Tom and Hannah were really kind to me, and they and the children seemed so happy together. We had a lovely evening, but when I fell asleep for a third time during the conversation, Hannah said I should have an early night to recover from my travels. Tom laughed when he saw me getting my diary out and said he hadn’t written his, or missed doing so, since before Yom Kippur.