Chapter 11 - He Gladdens the Hearts
Rebekah and Kitra held the hands of their toddling brother as they made their way down to a shallow part of the shore. Their mother had asked Rebekah to find a safe and quiet place to play with the little ones as the rest of them busily prepared a meal for those who would inevitably be coming for dinner.
Settling with her siblings under the shade of one of the few trees dotting the rocky shore, she set her brother down, and the children began to play. Rebekah began rummaging through her “things-too-pretty-to-throw-away” basket. “Hmmmm…where’s that cup I brought?” She pulled out a long strip of cloth—an old sash of her mother’s. Next came a ragged piece of fishing net, a bluish-gray feather, and a shiny stone. “Ah ha! Here it is!” She triumphantly pulled out a gray and white streaked clamshell.
“Isth that sthupposed to be a cup?” Kitra asked.
“Oh, we’re only playing that it’s a cup. C’mon, we need to go fill it with water so we can change it into wine.” She stood up, brushed off her sandy robe, and set off for the water’s edge with Kitra at her heels holding the baby’s hand.
“From water into what?” asked Kitra.
“Into wine! You see, in Cana just a few days ago—”
“Where’sth Cana?” Kitra interrupted sweetly.
Rebekah shook her head, smiling at her sister. “That’s where abba is.” She tucked a wild curl behind her ear. “Anyway, at a wedding, Jesus…”
“Who’sth he?” asked Kitra. Now lost in the story, she let go of the baby’s hand.
“Well, I’m not sure, but abba’s with him. At this wedding, they ran out of wine and they asked Jesus to help. He told the servants to fill up some b-i-i-i-i-g jars with water.”
Kitra giggled. “With water?!”
“Mmhhm. And then he told the servant to take some to the bridegroom.”
“What’sth the….bride-groom?” Kitra looked quizzically at Rebekah, slowly emphasizing the word.
Rebekah laughed. “The person who’s getting married to the bride.”
“Anyway, when they took some water out of the jar… Oh!” Rebekah gasped, dropping the shell at the sight of the baby toddling toward the water. She ran over to him, heaved him onto her hip, and walking rather awkwardly, she returned to the tree.
“Here, you dropped the cup,” Kitra said, handing Rebekah the shell. “And then did the water turn into wine?”
“How did Jesthuth do that?”
“I have no idea, but you should ask him if you see him,” Rebekah said, setting the baby down on the ground.
“Have you ever stheen Jesthuth?”
“I haven’t, but I want to.”
“I didn’t sthee him either, but you sthaid that he’sth with abba, stho we’ll have to sthee him sthometime.”
“Yes—maybe even today!” Rebekah said happily. “Okay, now you sit down and pretend to be the bride, Kitra. And you,” she said, retrieving the baby, “can be the bridegroom.” She set him next to Kitra. “You have to be still, though.” Rebekah looked at him a little hopelessly.
The girls heard a chuckle and looked up as Ariel appeared from up the slope. “The baby is the bridegroom?” she asked, kneeling down beside the younger children.
“Yesth,” Kitra said and then motioned to Rebekah. “More wine, pleasthe!”
Now it was Rebekah’s turn to giggle. She ran lightly to the shallows and scooped up some clear lake water into the shell. “Here, this is the water. Hmmm. How can we make it into wine?”
“I know!” Kitra said, jumping up. She filled her cupped hands with sand and dirt and carefully poured it into the shell. “There!” Kitra smiled hopefully at Rebekah who was peering skeptically at the mud.
“Um, I guess that’ll do for now.”
She bowed and handed the shell to Kitra, who lifted it to her mouth.
“Don’t really drink it!” Rebekah cried.
Kitra started laughing, “I knew you would sthay that! I was justht pretending to drink it!”
“Hello. What’cha playing?” A deep male voice startled the girls. They fell silent and looked up.
Ariel gasped. “You’re the stranger who helped me at the well!”
“And, therefore, I’m no stranger at all, now am I?” A warm grin spread across the man’s face. “Did I interrupt your party?” he asked, looking at the children and the seashells filled with muddy water.
“Oh, no,” Rebekah began shyly, “We’re just…”
“We’re playing about the time when Jesthuth changed the water into wine at Canaan!” Kitra piped in. Catching the look on Rebekah’s face, she corrected herself. “I mean Cana!” Then, holding up the cup of muddy water, she offered, “Want sthome?”
“Sure.” He laughed, taking the shell carefully. “And I think I’m beginning to figure out who you all are.” The man turned to Ariel. “You, my sweet young lady-of-the-well, must be Ariel?”
Ariel laughed. “How did you know?” The man smiled and turned to Kitra.
“You must be Kitra! Your daddy talks about you all the time.”
“You know my abba?”
“And you must be the quiet one—Rebekah?”
She nodded, asking timidly, “Who are you?”
“Your name is Jesus?!” Ariel’s heart felt as if it would burst. “You are no stranger at all! You never were! You are Jesus!”
Kitra let out a squeal of delight. “You changed the water into wine.” she chattered, prancing around him. Then she stopped in her tracks and looked up at him. “How’d you do that?!”
Jesus laughed, winking at Ariel and Rebekah.
Rebekah’s eyes widened with a sudden thought. “Is abba with you?”
“Yes! See, he’s coming down the beach now.”
Rebekah yelled. “Oh, Kitra, Ariel! Look! It’s abba!”
Kitra didn’t hear. She had grabbed onto Jesus’ ankle and was hanging on for her life while he whirled her around. Jesus hobbled over to rejoin Andrew, Peter, and several other men hurrying towards them. Rebekah and Ariel ran into their father’s arms.
“Abba!” Kitra called from Jesus’ leg.
“I’ll rescue you!” Peter said as he laughed and swooped her up. She buried her face in his bushy hair. Then she looked up into his eyes, puzzled.
“Abba, why don’t you sthmell like fish anymore?”