Yes, I know Joseph will take care of her, Lord, but couldn’t you have delayed the census a little while? Is this old lady’s request too much for you, Almighty G-d? Would it have too hard to have Mary’s needs considered? After all, she sings with great joy that you have chosen her. Yet you let her travel? Have mercy, G-d on this old woman. Forgive my arrogance. I just love my granddaughter and fear for her and the baby she’ll soon deliver. Lord, can you give me a sign… a little one perhaps? To show me that Mary is well?
The tears continued to flow, as I neared the well.
Oy, at least I can draw the water without the other woman smiling while looking at one another with their “I know the real story” expressions. I don’t even understand… how could they?
“Woman, why are you weeping?”
Frightened, I turned to see a Roman soldier looking down at me.
What does one say to a Roman? He knows nothing about women’s trials or the promised Messiah.
“Forgive an old lady, Sir. I am worried about my granddaughter traveling all the way to Bethlehem for the census.”
“So you weep? I thought you Jews trusted your god to take care of everything!” He turned and marched off laughing.
I sank to my knees and wept bitterly.
My G-d, forgive me. A sign… I ask for a sign and you send me a Roman soldier. Oy, after all these years, this old woman still doubts . . . still doesn’t put all her trust in you. Forgive this old woman once again. You alone know why Mary must make this journey. Why she is with child that’s not Joseph’s; and yet he trusts you and takes her into his home. My G-d, my G-d, help this old woman to understand . . . to trust in you in all things. Until the Messiah comes, I am your servant.
Little did I know that as I wept at the well, Mary, too, was weeping as she knelt in the hay before the manger that cradled her newborn baby. A son, as G-d had said. To be named Jesus, as Joseph had been told. Yes, Mary wept with both joy and fear as she pondered all that was and was to come.
This great-grandmother will not live to see this little one grow into a man. But I will serve the Lord faithfully all my remaining days, as I promised that quiet morning by at the well.
~ ~ ~
This writer spent the birthday of the Messiah at home alone . . . also in tears. Illness kept me from my family and I wept for understanding… for the loss of memory-building moments with my grandchildren and son.
I, too, asked for a sign that God was with me for it didn’t feel that way. No Roman soldier appeared. No sign… just the loneliness, and the feeling of being rejected.
The next day, I asked the Lord, “What was I suppose to learn throughout the day of tears?” He gave me the story of the anxious great-grandmother, who, even though she loved the Lord, struggled with the unknown. Her fears were real. For Jesus, who left His throne to be born frail and helpless in a stable, and came to deliver the news of hope and forgiveness, was rejected and despised. What loneliness He must have felt as He hung upon the cross for us!
Like that great-grandmother, I knelt at the Well of Living Water and prayed, "My G-d, forgive me. After all these years, this old woman still doubts . . . still doesn’t place all her trust in you. Forgive this old woman once again. My G-d, help this woman to trust in you in all circumstances and for all things. And until the Messiah comes again, I am your servant."