Dawn Rise Work.
An uncomfortable night. The cold. Stars within reach. Must have dozed, eventually, waking to a day already warm but a lot cooler than yesterday; busy-ness all around. Doctor and assistant nowhere to be seen. No travel today and I guess: this must be Preparation Day for tomorrow’s Sabbath.
Every one looks forward to a Sabbath day of rest – no work, no cooking, or washing, no walking, hurrah – children look forward to hearing stories told and as they relax around the evening fire there will probably be singing, a certain amount of slobbing/slouching around. If a Rabbi is nearby, there will be a make shift Synagogue gathering in the morning.
“We’ll see in the morning.” says a voice behind me. The Doctor’s assistant has snuck up on me from behind.
“You were talking to yourself.” says a man’s voice from behind her. “I see the Donkeys have been tethered under trees over there. Did the men do that before disappearing”
I confess to them: “They were all gone by the time I awoke. Between yesterday’s excitement and the rough night, I must have needed it. And..” – in a mock offended voice – “I was talking to my recorder, not to myself!”.
“What’s been going on here?” asks his Assistant.
“Oh!” I exclaim “it’s been busy here. The girls went off with the washing to a stream nearby. The men are foraging, perhaps and might be doing a little trading to get fresh food for Sabbath. Some of the younger boys are already returning with bundles of wood and some look as if they have more fodder for the donkeys. The ‘tinies’ have been enjoying a bit more freedom to run around and play”
I could be more exact if I had conversational Hebrew or Greek.
The Doctor comments: ”Looks as though the women have been busy too, pointing to the increasing piles of bread being put out for a noon day snack but no water jars.” The bread is like Naan bread that we get with a meal at an Indian restaurant. I like it better fresh, like this.
With that, the girls with the water jars appear out of the woodland.
“Oh yes and large cooking pots have appeared from the donkey bundles. Some water is boiling and vegetables are being added. I could smell them being fried in oil beforehand. Perhaps that was what woke me.”
“And what have you two been doing?”
“Us, oh we’ve been back to the transport and brought a donkey, some bedding and we thought a bag of shekels might come in too.” Says his Assistant. “We have also something that might help you with understanding the conversation and getting questions answered.”
“Where did you get all that from?” I ask, somewhat amazed.
“Tell you after lunch. Look the men are back and so is everyone else.”
Pretty soon each of us has been, literally dragged to sit with one or other of the families. We are given a jug of water and one of the younger men is gesturing. Ah! I get it, pour the water over my hands to wash them before having food. Not for drinking!
Meanwhile, each family group is standing around their fire and the eldest present is saying a blessing. I guess along the lines of: Blessed are we by your generous provision of daily bread, Adonai. We sit, the bread is quickly torn up and passed around. More water is poured into cups.
Think very basic stuff. Nothing resembles Porcelain. Mostly everything is a hand-made Terracotta-like pottery and wooden, tray-like plates. But mostly everything is passed by hand and eaten with gusto, sitting on our haunches.
Lots of smiles and gestures and smiles back. I reply L’Chaim! They all smile.
We are not allowed to help with anything. Quite soon, all the men & boys are busy filling the lamps with olive oil, little pottery things you can sit in the palm of your hand, and they are trimming wicks for pushing down the spouts into the oil.
But it is not too long before work fades away and every one is lying on their mats again, asleep under trees, this time keeping out of the sun.
Thankfully my eyes still work until… I too am asleep.