A/N The inspiration from this chapter is from Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30.
The apostles, a few other disciples, and Hope followed Jesus out of the city almost immediately after lunch. Judging by the sunlight, Hope guessed they were moving west, toward some mountains, or at least foothills. The walking stick came in very handy.
The followers sighed in relief. "It is good to be away from towns and crowds for awhile," was the general consensus.
Oh dear. Is this going to be a long walk? I'll have to be careful on these rocks.
They settled in for a long journey. Some of the disciples broke off to chat among themselves while the others stayed close to Jesus.
This lasted until nightfall, when Andrew was asked to build a fire. After the flames flared, everyone sat down to eat. There were still plenty of bread and fish scraps in the baskets so after Jesus blessed the food, they passed around the baskets. Hope even snuck a half loaf of bread.
Hope couldn't sleep. The night air was full of rustling bushes, distant roars, squeaks, and maybe a quiet hissing nearby. As quietly as she could, she scooted closer to Jesus. Being in His presence put her somewhat at ease and she eventually fell asleep.
Nothing bothered the group during the night.
They reached the first town they have seen in days around sunset. Jesus told two of His disciples to go in the city gates and ask the last man clearing his market stall for lodging. Hope stayed outside the gate with Jesus and the rest of His disciples. Many of them looked just as tired as her.
"The only way we can rest tonight," yawned one, "is if no one knows where we are."
A few minutes later, one of the disciples he sent came back to lead them to their lodging for the night.
This is going to be a stress-free night, Hope decided.
The host, a man named Abner, set the table as Jesus and His disciples sat down in chairs. Hope sat off to the side on the floor near Jesus.
"How does goat sound?" Abner asked the group. Everyone's eyes lit up at the sound of not eating fish for once. "Yes, please!" most of them cried.
Bread and olive oil was brought out, along with wine. Grape juice, Hope sniffed. Not alcohol.
Jesus prayed over the food and everyone began eating, savoring the flavor. A few minutes later, Abner brought in roasted goat. Everyone ate in peace, except Hope.
I've never had goat before. It looks delicious. Maybe I could sneak a bite. Would that be rude? Please, I'm so hungry.
Once everyone had their fill, they asked for more wine and settled in for idle chatter. Hope looked down at her stomach as it growled. When she looked back at the table, she noticed a small plate on the floor next to Jesus with a slice of bread and a small chunk of goat leg. Since everyone was busy talking, Hope reached over, snatched the plate, and ate greedily. Roast goat isn't that bad.
There was a knock at the door. When Abner opened the door, a woman with long, black braided hair and a red dress peeked in.
"I'm sorry, woman. No more guests tonight," Abner said to her.
"Please! Is the Healer here? I heard He came here. I must speak with Him!" The woman pushed the door open. Abner looked indignant while the woman burst in and looked around before spotting Jesus.
The woman fell at Jesus' feet in great distress. She looked up to Him with watery eyes. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed."
Hope looked to Jesus for His response, but He said nothing.
The woman raised her voice. "Please, O Lord, cast out the demon in my daughter!"
The disciples began to talk among themselves.
"What is a Canaanite doing here?"
"If she pleads any louder, the whole city will be at the door!"
They approached Jesus, saying "Send her away, for she cries out after us."
But Jesus answered them and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Hope stopped mid-bite and tilted her head to the side. Wait, what? That can't be right! Jesus saves everyone!
The woman wouldn't relent. "Lord, help me!"
Jesus turned to her and said, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs."
Hope facepalmed. The children of Israel get first dibs at salvation. Everyone else comes later.
The still desperate woman reinforced Hope's thoughts, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table."
Hope pitied her, and then her eyes lit up. Wait. That's me! I literally got scraps from the table after everyone ate. I'm a Gentile too. I don't know my genealogy well, but my parents said we descended from Swedish folk. Or was it Swiss? I bet the Doctor could find out for me. I won't want to visit them though, as it may cause a butterfly effect. It would be cool to know. Anyway, it is statistically unlikely that I descended from the Israelites. It's not impossible, but improbable.
Jesus smiled at her, "O woman, great is your faith! For this saying, go your way. Let it be as you desire. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
The woman jumped up, thanked Him, and ran out the door.
I want to be just like her.
A/N This chapter looked longer in my notes app. Oh well.
I had to do a bit of research on the land between Capernaum and Tyre. They travelled around Jebel Jarmuk, a mountain in the area. Potential threats included lions and leopards, but none of those bothered the traveling group.
Phoenician women traditionally wore their black hair in long tresses and had red or yellow dresses.
Disney fan5: Hope's goal is to observe without being noticed. However, if you look closely, this isn't always the case. "A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9
MyladyNancy: You're welcome!
DJpaigeDJ: Thank you for your compliment. My story-telling feels meh at best, but that is because I wrote it. A writer's harshest critic is usually themselves. It is nice to know that readers have a more positive view of my writing.
Please read and review!