He could hear people again. The sounds of laughter and chattering kept going. He could pick up some of the conversation. They must be coming back from Jerusalem. I wonder if it’s a holiday? It’s been years, too many to count, since he last celebrated Passover or any holiday with his family, or since he’s been to Jerusalem. Oh, how I wish I could go to the Temple to worship just once more, his heart longed. He wanted to hear more from these men, they sounded interesting. But how could he? He was too tired to shout ‘unclean’, his pain was intense and yet he couldn’t stand the stifled air of the cave. I’ll just get closer..it hurts to just sit here. He knew the pain wouldn’t last long, he was already numb in most of his body, food was impossible to eat, his nose kept running. He knew it was only a matter of time till he died. But he wasn’t ready.
“Did you see how He overthrew the tables? and all the coins that were scattered on the floor?” The other laughed so hard. “Yeah, and did you see all the sadducees? They didn’t know if to go after Him or pick up the coins first so no one would take them”. Both men kept talking and laughing as they recalled the events they saw. A man went against the pharisees and sadducees? I’ve never heard that, who is He? He wanted to hear more, and for a second forgot he was nearing the men on the road, until he felt a stone hit his head. “Get away you stinking leper! You need to shout ‘unclean’!” and another stone hit him. He fell to the ground and tried crawling back to his cave. He got so caught up in hearing them he forgot. A stinking leper. That is all they have to say. How can they treat people this way after returning from Jerusalem, from the worship of God? He managed to lie in his cave and as the bleeding stopped, his thoughts turned to what he had heard. Who is He?
Every now and then some kind people threw food over the side of the road, where the lepers lived in the caves. They never stayed long enough to receive a thank you from them, nor did they bother to look if anyone came. But they knew the lepers took the food. If only they would add a kind word.
The crowds passing the road started to sound more and more interesting. It seemed all the conversations he could hear, had to do with this man he heard of before. Yeshua. Him again! He couldn’t help but wonder what made this man so special, why he cared so much about people. He decided to go nearer to hear more. This time he crept slowly and hid. “He heals people all over the place. The Sanhedrin has no idea how to deal with him. He healed people of their sickness, even those who have been sick for years and the doctors had lost hope on them”. A woman replied, “Yes, but He associated himself with prostitutes as well as tax collectors. Have you heard that? How can a man like that be sent by God?” The conversation faded as the people walked on, and He hoped to hear more. Healing the sick? rebuking spirits? and what to make of his proclamation of the Kingdom of God? His mind was busy contemplating these things and bits of information he gathered from others who shared of Yeshua’s acts. Yeshua was different, and He spoke with authority, non which had been heard or seen before. Such a man who associates himself with the outcasts of society, yet speaks and acts so extraordinarily, and boldly defies our leaders…can it be? He could only hope that this was the promised one whom his heart longed for. He knew the leaders had burdened them with so many things that God did not want. God, if only I could see Yeshua. I believe You sent him, all I want is to hear Him. He wished he could pray loudly, but his voice was cracking, his coughs increasing. Now it was a matter of days until it would all be over.
There was a commotion near the mountain. People were running and shouting to each other to hurry. Yeshua was coming! Can it be? I’ll see Him! A thought ran through his mind. Dare I? But it’s never been done, not in Israel anyway. Only Naaman was healed. His heart raced and his thoughts were many. He healed so many, He’s proven his authority over men, I’ve heard enough to know He can. God, if it be your will…
He decided to go. It would seem he had nothing to lose as he was dying, but the desire to live was so strong. Oh, to be a part of the blessings again, to go to Jerusalem. Dare I hope? His heart pounded as he approached. It seemed no one but Yeshua noticed there was a leper near them. He threw himself on the ground, bowed down and begged, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. He knew Yeshua could. But he was willing to accept any answer. He looked up. Those eyes, I’ve never seen such compassion and, it seems, love…Yeshua did look at him with compassion and love, and then, what is He doing? and suddenly he felt it. A human hand. Oh if only I could feel the warmth of his hand! How many years has it been since someone reached out to me like this and touched me! He nearly wept but then heard Yeshua say, “I am willing, be cleansed”. Immediately he felt strength, he felt his body, he felt the warmth of the hand of Yeshua on him. He looked at himself and he was clean! The leprosy had left him the instant Yeshua spoke. “Go, show yourself to the priest as commanded and bring your offering. Tell no one”. Jerusalem! I need to go make a sacrifice! But tell no one? and Yeshua continued on with his disciples as the man stood up and began praising God. But how can I go? I’ll be stoned, no leper can..and then it occurred to him that he was no longer a leper. He was dressed like one, he still thought like one, but he was no longer one. He looked at himself again, as if in a dream. His body was smooth as that of a newborn, all the sores were gone, the numbness ceased. I’m clean! God, thank you! and songs of praise so clear and loud burst from him, as tears of joy streamed from his cheeks.
Years later, the man remembered how not long after this, he gazed upon his Lord, the hand that gently touched him, was nailed to the cross, and the eyes that then looked at him with compassion, were filled with love and pain, as people shouted for his death. He remembered the joy that followed as he heard of his Lord rising from the dead, knowing that the day Yeshua touched him, He touched also his soul, which now called Yeshua Master and Lord.
© Hannah Kramer