Monday Rewrite: Holy Haggling

It feels as if things are hotting up. He needs a break, and so heads for Tyre. Away from Israel for a while, out of the limelight. He keep his head down as he walks. Finds the first place he can for the night and slips inside. He chats with his hosts as he eats but makes no startling or stirring remarks. Anonymity for now. Doesn’t need any more attention at the moment. A knock at the door. Hopefully just friends of the family. But the second knock comes too soon after the first. There’s an urgency about it. There’s a woman at the door. Now she’s inside, crouching on the floor and gripping his feet.
‘They say you can do miracles,’ she gasps, short of breath after hurrying here, ‘they say you can heal people. My daughter’s sick. Very sick.’ She looks up at him now, dark rings smudged large beneath her eyes. ‘She has an evil spirit in her. Please. Can you cast it out? Please?’
Jesus feels suddenly so tired. He has come here for a break, not to do more things for others.
‘I… I’ve come for the children of Israel. For my own extended family. I only have so much time, so much energy.’
‘Please!’
‘It’s not right…’
‘Please, please PLEASE!!’
‘Listen to me, it’s not right, is it, to take away food from the children you love and hurl it under the table for the dogs to eat!’
She stops for a minute. Thinks about this as she leans back from crouching to a kneeling position. All eyes are on her. She glances around as she tries to work something out.
‘True,’ she says eventually, and she stands.
Jesus relaxes. She is leaving, turning away.
‘But!’ She twists back suddenly, and everyone jumps. She’s holding a finger in the air and pointing right at him. ‘Even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat up the scraps that the children leave behind. They get the bits and pieces left on the plate. Don’t they? Don’t they?’
Her urgency is back and Jesus has to smile. This woman is not only full of wit, but faith too. He’s surprised. And impressed.
‘Well said,’ he tells her, ‘that’s a good answer. A very good answer.’ He pauses for a moment, glances down then back up. ‘Now go home.’
She is about to protest again but he stops her with an outstretched open hand. ‘Your daughter is well. The demon has left her. Go home and see for yourself.’
Her mouth drops open. ‘Really?’ she says after a moment’s pause, ‘That’s it? You’ve done it?’
He nods. She goes. Her mind turning somersaults, her heart thumping in her chest. Her spirit soaring. Her daughter well.

(Mark 7)

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