By the Water's Edge

by Barbara Howard and Debra Bruch

(An actor portrays an older Jewish woman dressed in Jesus' times.)

Oh! Here you are! I came to tell you about something that happened to me the other day.

I heard that John the Baptizer was coming. Well, I didn't really want to go. I mean, I really needed to bake bread that day and do some sewing. So I didn't really have time to go. Besides, I thought that this man named John was pretty arrogant and self-righteous. Sometimes I call him John the Judge. But Ruth wanted to go. Ruth is my six year old granddaughter. She's sweet.

I tend to give in to my granddaughter. I'm glad I did now. But she had to plead a little to do it. She pleads -- very well. Besides, I really love her. So I gave in.

Anyway, she dragged me all the way to the edge of the water. John was baptizing people as usual. Then a man walked into the water and John did an extraordinary thing. He fell to his knees in front of this man. I never thought that John would humble himself like that. I asked a woman next to me if she knew who that man is. She said that he's Jesus of Nazareth. She said he's a rabbi.

I saw Jesus lift up John and speak to him. But I couldn't hear what he said. Then John baptized him. It was strange. It was so quiet that you could hear a piece of straw drop onto a clay floor. I looked around and everyone was quiet and looking at Jesus of Nazareth.

Then Ruth pulled on my dress and said "Look Grandma!" And I looked. And I saw a white dove above Jesus and John. The dove was more than beautiful. I can't explain it. Something about the dove. Something about Jesus of Nazareth.

I knew I was experiencing something. But I didn't understand it at first. I think Ruth did though. She reached into her pocket and took out a stone. She said, "Here Grandma. I took this 'cause I thought it was pretty. And I wanna give it to you." So she gave me this stone. And I took it.

That's when it hit me. I took this stone -- this gift -- and I looked at Jesus. And Jesus looked at me. I mean, he touched me with his look. He touched me deep inside. At that moment, I realized that I am a person. I AM A HUMAN BEING! I am worthy of this gift! And I claim myself. Then, I became alive! I experienced life with its pain and sorrow and regret and joy and the wonderment of love. And I was connected. I am connected. I am connected to this stone. I am connected to you. I am connected to Jesus of Nazareth.

And I can hear.

I did hear. It was a voice within me, but a voice outside speaking within me. It was the voice of God within me. It said, "This is my beloved son." And I knew that the beloved son is Jesus of Nazareth.

And then the voice said, "Hear him." Hear him.

I don't know exactly what it means --- But -- I listen.

I listen.


Copyright 1997 Debra Bruch