THE GREAT GOSPEL OF JOHN
VOLUME 10

Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

The Lord on the way to Bethsaida

- Chapter 119 -
Meeting the caravan from Damascus.


 
N
ow we will return to ourselves, and see - but also as brief as possible - about our experiences from the time we left Aphek.
 
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When we were at a distance of about 2 hours walking from the first mentioned city, we met a very big business caravan that came from Damascus and was going to the coastal cities to sell their products there.
 
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However, when the caravan came instead of the bare region, which was well known to them, into the now flourishing, blessed region, they did not know their way anymore and thought they got lost.
 
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When we arrived at the caravan, the leader of the caravan came to Me because I was walking in front and the disciples followed Me, and he asked Me: "Look, good friend, we are businessmen from Damascus and we go to the coastal cities twice a year because we easily can well sell our products over there. We always take the road passing through Aphek, Golan, Abila, Pella and Gennesaret, and thus we well know the way. We impossibly could have been mistaken in taking a different road up to here, and we should be close to Aphek by now so that we should be able to reach it in a couple of hours. However, we know the bare region wherein the old city is located. That started from here where the road is very bumpy and goes through those black basalt rocks, and then we knew that we were in the neighborhood of our resting place for the night.
 
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But just look, this is no more a bare region. Everything is green, and along the way there are groups of all kinds of fruit trees while not even half year ago, when we came along this way, we hardly could see here and there a languishing thornbush. So, although we know this road for already so long we must have taken a wrong way somewhere, and now we do not know where we are and in which direction we have to go to be on the right way again. But you all must be well acquainted with this place and you surely will be so good and kind enough to tell us the right way."
 
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I said: "If you made this trip for already so many times and you did not go wrong up to this spot, then it also will be the right way from here on since we ourselves went on this way and are actually coming from Aphek."
 
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The leader of the caravan said: "Yes indeed, indeed, You must be right, good friend, because the location of the whole environment looks very well like the one we know. Yet, there are regions that, as far as their form is concerned, look like twins but are nevertheless completely different, and such regions can often be seen along the Euphrates.
 
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But I believe what You say, that we are on the right way to Aphek. But what did the inhabitants of the city do with this very big dry region - in the middle of which the city was located with only a few orchards - to change it in such short time into such abundant and flourishing land? From where did they get that obviously very fat soil to cover the bare stones of the whole wide environment, and by what means did they bring it here?
 
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Although we know the Apheks and know that by far they do not possess the necessary means or sufficient working labor to do such work. And if this is the environment around Aphek - what I do not doubt now - then this will certainly not have happened in a natural way.
 
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If the Apheks were like the pious Jews of old, as there still are a few in Damascus, then it could be imagined that a great prophet had arisen, someone like Moses or Elijah, miraculously providing this wilderness with soil and then with all kinds of plants and fruit trees. But the Apheks in particular are hard pagans and infamous enemies of the Jews, and someone like Moses or Elijah would certainly not give such blessing to them in the name and the power of Jehovah, but He most probably would only do for them what Moses did to the hard pharaoh and Elijah to the pagan priests.
 
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So the changing of this quite big region is really a mystery, and it only amazes us more and more. Our intellect is really too little and too stupid to determine what happened here. Forgive us that we halted you here on this spot for longer than was necessary, and you are also travelers.
 
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But please allow me one more thing, dear and very attentive friend, to still bother You with a question, and this is: did you never visit this region before, when it was still a complete wilderness? Because I find it strange that you absolutely do not seem to be surprised that this region is now a very fertile land."