[This is a little experiment, so be tactful if you think it should be a one-off.]
She was sick. I was sick with fear for her. ‘Demons,’ said the so-called wise man. They say that when they have no idea what is wrong; they say that when they should say they can’t do anything for the patient; and they say that instead of saying ‘she’s going to die.’ Wise men, indeed; who heard of such a thing? There I go. It’s why my husbands left, say the wise men. It’s because younger women have firmer bodies, say the wise women. Since neither wise men nor wise women compliment me with their opinions, I feel free to prefer my own; men are led by their lust.
She was sick. I prayed to the gods for help. ‘Gods,’ said the wise man, ‘help you if you offer them a reward’. They say that when they want you to pay them; they say that when they should say that they like the power it gives them; and they say that instead of saying ‘gods are our way of controlling you.’ There I go. It’s why the gods don’t help me, say the wise men. It’s because there are no gods, say the wise women. Since neither wise men nor wise women offer me any hope, I feel free to prefer my own; there is only one God.
I got that from the people we live among – the Jews. They say there is only one God. Why should there not be? All these ‘gods’ may merely be aspects of the one God whose name they will not say. Then he came.
I heard it from one of the women. He they said was a great healer. He they said had done wonders in Galilee. He they said was different. Desperate I did what I knew I ought not to do as a Gentile and a woman, I approached him and begged him to help my poor, sick daughter. I saw him shake his head. I saw him look at me with grief. I heard his silence. His men tried to shake me off, telling him to send me away. But I knew.
Instead of doing as they asked, he told me that his mission was for the children of Israel. I knelt and begged him. He sounded sad when he told me that the food of the children could not be given to the dogs. I understood. We were dogs to the Jews. But the words came that made me say that even dogs could feed from the scraps from the table. Why did I say that? I am not proud. I love my daughter, and if this man could spare even a crumb, I knew it would suffice.
That look will be with me until I die – and beyond. He told me my faith had saved her and she would be well when I got home. I knew it to be so and thanked him. He smiled and nodded. He knew that I knew. I had called him ‘Lord’ and ‘Son of David.’ He was the one long-prophesied.
When I got home, she was well and I rejoiced. The wise men said it was their conjurations. The wise women said it was their herbs. They say that when they want credit but lack knowledge. It was the gods, the wise men said. It was an accident, the wise women said, but thank the gods all the same. But since neither the wise men nor the wise women knew what they were talking about, I feel free to prefer my own knowledge. Jesus is the Lord the Jews expect.