the Samaritan woman who had spoken with Jesus on the day we arrived
in Sychar, insisted that we go to her village.
She was walking ahead of us, telling all her neighbors that she had
met a prophet beside Jacobís well...
comadre Nora!!... And you, Simeon!...
Come and see this man who read my palm and guessed everything I did!... And what if heís indeed the Messiah, huh?.... Hey, neighbors, címon, hurry and donít you ever miss
††††† Abigail knocked
at every door inviting everyone to her house. We were following her,
but not with enthusiasm. As usual, my brother James and I protested
James: But Jesus, how dare you do this.... Are you sick or are
you out of your mind?
John: Iíd rather be tied to a post and be cooked alive than
set foot in the house of these Samaritans!
James: They say whoever enters and sits in the house of a Samaritan
loses his eyesight before the year ends!
Jesus: Well then, stay outside and look the other way...
James: If you do that, youíll turn into salt, like Lotís
Jesus: Itís okay, James and John. You donít have to go, if you donít
want to. But Iím going into Abigailís house and greet her husband.
James: Abigail! What a sweet, little girlís name, huh?
John: For a jug of water, you were taken in by the Samaritans,
Jesus: No! Itís you and your old ideas and biases against the
Samaritans and our relationship with them that put us all in a fix.....
Iíll drink from any well and visit any house. Do whatever you please.
††††† So we went
inside Sychar, Abigailís village. There was a small square along
the road where a group of Samaritans wearing red turbans and gray tunics
looked at us with hatred in their faces.
Samaritan: Hey, hey, look who we have here, huh?
the stinking Galileans! Why donít you just go to Lake Tiberias and wash your armpits clean! Ha, ha, ha...!
Jesus: Donít mind them, John. Canít you see theyíre trying to
Hail to you! Grrr....! Ha, ha, ha...!
hey, what a scraggy-looking group of Galileans I see! I guess your mothers
donít feed you very well!... Whatís the matter
with you, red head?... Come, come over here, donít get
scared. I simply want to beat your ass red! Ha, ha, ha!
Jesus: Cool it, James. They just want to get us into a fight...
James: Well, theyíll get what they want, damn it! I wonít allow
any more insults from them! Listen well, you evil Samaritans, nephews
of Lucifer! How I wish lightning would strike right now and split all
of you into two!
Samaritan: And how I wish youíd lose all your teeth except one, that you may still suffer from pain!
John: May you swallow a handful of ticks that will suck the
blood out of you!
Samaritan: Would that all your relatives be like onions whose heads
are buried under the earth!
James: Öthat fire and sulfur descend right now from heaven, as
in Elijahís time, that all of
you may burn, you sons of bitches!
Jesus: Stop it, James..... You too, John.... Damn those tongues
of yours! They have more venom than a viper!
James: Do you hear that, Jesus?...
Thereís thunder coming!
John: God has answered our prayers! Heíll send fire from heaven
to kill the devilís Samaritans!
Jesus: Okay, okay. You stay here and wait for lightning and
thunder to come. As for me, I wonít allow myself to catch another cold!
††††† Jesus ran
toward Abigailís house. We followed him, too, but grudgingly...
††††† The rain
had dampened all our enthusiasm.... We had forgotten the curses previously
uttered as we hastily crossed the small town plaza... In a short while,
drenched by the rain, we arrived in the shabby little house of bamboo
and adobe stones where Abigail and her husband, Jeroboam, lived...
Abigail: Come in, come in...! This is my house, Jesus. Too small for such a big family, but... These are all my children...
and this is my husband.
Jeroboam: Welcome, Galileans! My house is like Noahís ark, it opens
its doors to all kinds of animals!
Abigail: Donít be rude, Jeroboam...
James: So you and your wife were the first pair that slipped
into it, werenít you?
Jesus: Shut up, James.
Jeroboam: Abigail has told me that one of you is a witch who can
read oneís palm.... where is he?
John: The only witch here is your wife, who went to fetch water
from the well at the wrong time!
Jesus: For Godís sake, will you stop all those insults and letís
start greeting one another first?.....
Abigail: Exactly! Say, Jesus, will you tell this stupid husband
of mine what you have told me by the well, that
this conflict between the Samaritans and the Galileans and the Jews
is all over.... Címon, tell him...
††††† We sat down
and talked... After a while, the rain calmed down and the Samaritan
neighbors started to arrive... Soon, Abigailís little house became full.
Those who could, sat down on the wet ground,
while the older ones remained standing, resting their chins on their
Samaritan: Who said that this thing between the Samaritans and the
Galileans is all over. Who said such nonsense,
Jesus: This stupid guy here.
Samaritan: So?... and who are you?
Jesus: A brother of yours. Youíre my brother, too. We are all
brothers and sisters, kneaded from the same dough, and we breathe the
same Godís breath through the nose. Donít you think so?
††††† A bent-over
old man with a long beard, nodded his head...
Man: Yes. Baruch,
the just man, says the same thing too....
Woman: My aunt
Loida says that the sheep must go with their own kind, in
pairs!... Well, stranger, our skin is not the
same, you must remember that...
Jesus: But the blood that flows in you is as red as mine, cousin.
Canít you see that? Itís not the bark of a tree that matters, but the
wood, and its fruit. Isnít that correct?
Man: Right. This
is what Baruch, the just man, is saying too....
Samaritan: Hold it! Now this is getting tough! You Galileans have
taken so much advantage of us, you have ruined
our trade relations with Damascus!
John: Oh, yeah? Werenít you the ones who ruined the sale of
wheat in the capital? Werenít you, Samaritans?...
set on fire our forest in Ebal!
Woman: It was a
Galilean who stole the scroll of the Law of Aaronís grandson!
James: And who did the filthy thing of hurling those damned
bones of the dead into the temple of Jerusalem?
Jesus: Dammit, will you stop it? Look, the rain has stopped. After
the deluge, comes peace. What do we get by opening the wounds of our
fathers?... We are all one family with only one Father, who is in
heaven. This is what matters more than anything else.
Man: Yes, yes,
this is exactly what Baruch the just man is saying...
Woman: How can we be brothers when we donít speak the same language. When a Galilean says black, the Samaritan thinks
white. When a Samaritan talks of Mount
Gerizim, you think of Mount
Jesus: But when a Galilean says: ďIím hungry,Ē and feels it,
the Samaritan similarly feels the same thing. When a Samaritan cries
for justice, the Galilean utters the same cry for justice!...
My friends from Samaria: we have been divided for many years now, ever since
the Tower of Babel, I believe, when those ambitious men wanted to scale
the heavens to rob the Lord of his place... Now, we have to put up another
tower, not by the use of bricks this time but by joining our hands,
crossing our arms, and those of the Galileans and the Samaritans, as
well. Everyone is needed to be able to build this community of all one
family, all brothers and sisters to each other!
Man: Baruch, the just man, said exactly the same thing!
††††† James lost
his cool when that old man mentioned for the fourth time the name of
Baruch, the just man.
James: Wait a minute. Who the devil is this Baruch, that his
name is constantly mentioned here?... Itís
Jesus talking and not any one else, not even Baruch!...
Abigail: Baruch is a great prophet of ours!...
We owe him a lot! He has enlightened the minds of the people and defended
our rights, the rights of the poor...
Man: Baruch, the just man, always says that....
James: What the hell do I care what Baruch says, dammit! Itís Jesus whoís carrying the staff of command here,
the strong man of Israel!
Man: And what about Baruch?
James: Iíve got nothing to do with him!
Samaritan: Take back what you said, you red head from hell, or else...!
††††† My brother
James and a Samaritan exchanged blows. Simon and Judas likewise engaged
themselves in a fight with the other neighbors while the women were
shouting menacingly.... Abigailís little house shook and I thought it
would have collapsed had it not been for Peter and Jesus who, after
having yelled considerably, were able to get some little quiet...
Jesus: How many times should I tell you that weíre all brothers
and sisters and we must unite, instead of beating one another?!!...
If this Baruch is for justice, then he is with us, and we with him...
What matters is that we are able to change things, and not the person
who changes them!... Tell the just man, Baruch, that we would like to meet
him and talk with him!
††††† Night was
already hovering over the village
of Sychar when a tall and sturdy
man entered the packed house of Abigail... He was dressed in a gray
tunic with the red turban around his head, symbol of the Samaritan leadership...
Baruch: Iím Baruch... You were asking for me?
Jesus: We are just a handful of Galileans here. Weíre promoting
the Kingdom of God in the north. I understand you and your group are doing the same in this part of Samaria.... Can we be of any assistance to you?
Baruch: Of course. Look at the fields: the crops are already
ripe for harvest. We need people... Can we be of any help to you, too?
Jesus: Certainly, Baruch. As they say, one sows and the other
harvests.... What is important is that things get done; who does the
work is not an issue. In the end, both the sowers
and the reapers are happy together, donít you think so?
Baruch: Letís be clear about this, Galilean. On whose side are
you?... the zealotsí?... the rebelsí of the
desert?..... or the Sychariansí
Jesus: Weíre on justiceís side, Baruch. Weíre for the poor who,
day in and day out, are clamoring for freedom... for the rest.... will
that still matter?
Baruch: Iím pleased with your words. You can count on me. We
are fighting for justice for our people.
Jesus: If youíre not against us, then youíre with us!
Baruch: Then this calls for a fraternal embrace, Galilean!
††††† Jesus moved
toward Baruch, the Samaritan leader. The two shook hands and hugged
each other with much respect and excitement, like the two brothers,
Esau and Jacob, when they met after so many years, beside the Yabbok
River, near Penuel.
stayed in the village for two more days, proclaiming the Reign of God
among the Samaritans....