Jerusalem April 3rd 33 AD
The oppressive heat bore down on them as they trudged toward the outskirts of the city. “Are we really going to achieve anything here? What can we possibly bring back that will create peace in our World? We are wasting our time Adam who is going to talk to us, give us the answers we need”? “I know exactly how you feel Eve; I have been plagued with the same questions ever since we left Hunter River. I know how difficult it is but we must have faith and we must try. Millions of people are depending on us; maybe the fate of the World rests in our hands. I understand all that Adam, but we can hardly just walk up to someone and ask if they know where we might find Jesus. Adam suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. Oh no, I think our friends back in the Highlands forgot to mention one very important detail. The city of Jerusalem is a walled city. On second thoughts I can hardly blame anyone else for something I should have been well aware of. What was I thinking, how on earth could I have been so stupid not to realize there would be a wall. Adam you mustn’t blame yourself, there was just so much happening and so much to absorb in such a short time. Adam almost laughed; well it’s a bit late now to lay blame on someone else’s door step anyway. We are here and will just have to deal with it. The pair scanned the walls ahead looking for activity at the entrance. The path they were on appeared to lead directly to a large arched open gateway. As they drew near Adam was relieved not to see any guards at the entrance. There did appear to be quite a bit of activity, a blind beggar was sitting in the shade of the archway and a few locals were passing in or out. There were women carrying water jugs, a man struggling to lead a protesting goat. A few children laughed as the goat almost escaping its leash tripped its owner. The owner of the goat cursed the laughing children, and it occurred to Adam that not much had changed in two thousand years, children would be children. They cautiously entered through the gates hoping they looked suitable and did not draw any unwelcome attention. Once they’d passed beyond the entrance they found themselves in a quiet narrow street. There was little sign of life until they were about half way down the street. Whispering to Eve Adam said there is a man in the shadow of the third door on the left; he seems very interested in us. If he speaks to us let me do the talking. As they drew opposite the door way the man emerged from the shadows and beckoned them to approach. The pair stopped in the middle of the street unsure what to do next. The man said, “You are the strangers I was told to watch for, quickly, you must come inside. Adam took Eve by the hand and followed the man into the dimly lit room. Smiling he introduced himself as Abraham then indicated to the woman tending the stove, and said, this is my wife Miranda. She stood, smiled and bowed slightly in their direction. Adam was struggling to understand the language, it was Aramaic, but Abraham spoke fast in a dialect that was unfamiliar. Miranda pointed to a bench and a table, it appeared to be the only furniture in the room, and she was indicating that they should sit. Abraham sat opposite preparing to speak again, but first waited while his wife served their guests with bread and a cup of wine.
“My friends he began, it has been foretold you would come today, a follower of the Messiah came to me yesterday and instructed me to watch for you and keep you here until he returned. The city is very dangerous just now, Roman soldiers are everywhere. They are nervous and fear an invasion at any moment. They believe the King of the Jews has a great army just over the horizon waiting to attack. Garrison patrols are picking up anyone who looks even slightly suspicious. You my friends look particularly suspicious; you would not last out the day in the streets. Adam began speaking in a language he knew well but had never actually communicated in before. “Who is this man we must wait for and how long before he comes?
“He goes by the name of Peter and will be here soon. He is to bring you a message from the Messiah. Eve was frantically tapping Adam with her foot trying to get his attention. When he looked at her she indicated with her eyes to look over to the cooking area. Adam was stunned, there in a small recess in the wall stood an empty Johnny Walker Red Label Whisky bottle. Abraham was quick to see what had got their attention. Ah I see you recognize the vessel; I think it came from your world many years ago. I found it one day when I was a young lad tending my father’s sheep. Until this moment I have never understood if it was a message or a bad omen. Now as I look at you I can tell you are good people who also follow the teachings of the Messiah. Indeed the vessel was a good omen.
“This man Peter, is he one of the Lords disciples”? Abraham sighed, “I can only tell you he is a follower of the one they call Jesus. He claims Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God”. Please be patient, he will come soon and will answer all your questions”. Eve took a sip of her wine; it had a bittersweet taste, not unpleasant but with a vague hint of vinegar. She was about to lift a piece of the bread to her mouth when a man silently appeared in the doorway. Abraham jumped to his feet and ushered the man into the room. Eve almost spilled her wine on Adam as they both rushed to stand. Abraham was nervous and somewhat subservient, bowing and motioning as he endeavoured to introduce Peter to his guests. Peter smiled, first at Eve then turned to Adam and began speaking. “Friends, my master bids me give you this message, you must leave this place and return to your home. Jerusalem is too dangerous for you to be here, the Romans will surely arrest you if they find you”. Adam interrupted asking if he might talk with the Messiah. “We have travelled my miles to meet Jesus and seek his guidance, we need his help indeed our whole World needs his help”. I’m sorry my friends, but it is impossible for you to see him. My message is this, return whence you came and all will be revealed in time, fear not nor worry for the Lord will be with you. The master gave me this parchment to give you. You must not read it until you have returned to your homeland. Adam accepted the small neatly folded piece of parchment and tucked it carefully into his belt. Now, I must depart and go quickly, it is very dangerous to be seen about the city today. You too, must go, make haste and I pray you will be careful and avoid the patrols”. As quickly and silently as he had arrived Peter was gone. Adam thanked Abraham and his wife for their generous hospitality and taking Eve by the arm moved to the door. Outside in the oppressive heat once more, they turned and quickly headed back toward the gate they had entered through. As they walked Eve asked Adam, what do you think the message meant, did Peter tell us anything useful, do we have a solution to bring back?. I didn’t hear anything that might help to solve our problems at home. The people that are depending on us, those who funded the millions of dollars to make this possible, do you think they are going to be pleased or satisfied with our results? How on earth do you think we can explain the – oops sorry.” Eve had been so busy talking she collided with Adam who had stopped abruptly in his tracks. When she realized why he had stopped her mouth went dry. Standing in front of them were five Roman soldiers. The leader looked Adam and Eve up and down before he spoke. It occurred to Eve these Roman soldiers were nothing close to the way Hollywood portrayed them in epics such as Ben Hur. Their tunics were worn and yellowed, torn and stained, the armour breastplates and helmets dull metal. Not at all as she had imagined.. The soldiers were dirty, unshaven and reeked of body odor. The one who appeared to be the leader was shouting at Adam in a strange guttural accent. He wanted to know who we were, where we came from and where we were going. He didn’t wait for Adam to answer as he and his companions herded us back in the direction from which we had just come. We were pushed half running half walking for about five minutes. We passed through a maze of narrow streets and alleys finally reaching a rather imposing building surrounded by a high wall. Soldiers stood guard at the entranceway, and more soldiers stood along the walls. These soldiers looked somewhat smarter and cleaner than the ones now roughly marching us into the center of the courtyard. We were ordered to stop while the leader mounted the grand stairway leading into the building. We were awed as we took in our surroundings; huge pillars supported a gleaming white walled building. The lower floors and veranda were shaded from the hot sun with brightly coloured canopies. Half way down the staircase was a landing with a rather elegant bench like seat. It was draped in what looked like a beautifully woven silk cloth with matching cushions at each end. To the right of the courtyard was a blood stained pole with manacles hanging from it. Eve shuddered it was clearly a site where severe torture and punishments took place. Suddenly the four soldiers guarding us sprang to attention. Coming down the stairs was a very smart soldier, obviously an officer; his uniform was immaculate and ornate, the polished armour flashing in the sunlight. Following a few paces behind the officer was our now very subservient and sullen captor.
This new Roman soldier totally ignored Eve and addressed Adam directly. He seemed to believe we were spies from the suspected Jewish King’s army. Adam said he had no idea how the patrol came to that conclusion. He explained we were merely travelers looking for work but having no success had decided to move on. We were on our way out of the city when we were wrongly arrested by the patrol. The officer pondered this for a moment, than spoke. “You are lying; there is plenty of work to be found in Jerusalem”. If you were truly looking for work you would have found it. It would be wise for you to tell me the truth; we know you are spies of this Jewish King. If you continue to lie you will quickly find out how we deal with spies. Think very carefully, if you admit to your treason, if you tell the truth, the Consulate General may grant you both a merciful and quick death. Adam said nothing, Eve stood very still. With a sigh of frustration the officer wheeled around and disappeared into the building. Adam whispered to Eve, We may have a chance to escape if we use the gas canisters. Be prepared to move on my signal, we may fail and we may die, but it’s a better option than standing here waiting to be executed. Eve nodded her agreement; she was tense with fear but knew what had to be done.