"Come on Eli, it's time to go! We want to get there before there are too many others." Mama is calling me. We are going on an adventure today, to see the Rabbi man. Mama says He is a very special Rabbi, and He knows lots and lots of stories about Yahweh. I like stories about Yahweh. I like learning to say His words by myself, when I get them right Mama gives me a taste of honey as reward. "remember my son, GOD's words are sweet to our hearts, like this honey is sweet to your tongue." I like that. Papa says that if I study hard and learn all the words, when I am bigger I can read the scrolls in temple. But I have to wait until I am bigger cause they wouldn't let five year olds read scrolls in temple. And I have to finish learning to read first.
Now Mama had the babies ready to go. I take Hannah and Mark's hands and Mama carries baby Esther. Hannah is 3 and Mark is one and a half, so they are too little to walk alone, but Papa says I am big enough to help Mama when he is not home. Papa says that when he is not home I am the big man of the house and I should be a help to Mama. Mama says I am always a big help and a blessing. She says that soon I can begin to go to the well by myself to get the afternoon's water. That will be a big job!
We walk past my friend Joseph's house and I smile at him and his big sister Priscilla. They are waiting for their mama, so they can go see the Rabbi too. Joseph is a good friend. He is five too and we like to play catch with the ball his papa made for him. His papa is a tentmaker and he made a ball out of pieces of scrap material.
When we get closer we can see lots of people gathered. "Mama, is that Him?" I can see a man sitting in the middle of the crowd. He has dark hair and bright dark eyes. He looks happy and friendly. Mama and the other mamas are waiting quietly while He talks to the other grown ups about being married and stuff. I am getting tired, but Mama always says that it is important to be patient, so I hold tight to Hannah and Mark's hands and scuff my feet in the dirt. I look around while we wait. I can see the mountains in one direction and the desert in the other. I can hear the flocks of sheep way far away, grazing with their shepherd. I am stretching to try to see which flock it is when I hear angry voices. I grip my siblings' hands tighter and look at Mama to see if she is worried. One of the Rabbi's friends is mad because one of the mamas has asked if the Rabbi will pray for the children.
But the Rabbi isn't mad. He is smiling at all of us children. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” He reaches out to us. I look at Mama and she is smiling and nods at me that it is ok, so I step forward. The Rabbi reaches down and picks Mark up and sets him on His lap. His hands are rough and calloused. Mama says that before He was the Rabbi He was a carpenter. His clothes are simple and worn. But His smile is gentle and goes all the way to His eyes. I feel shy, but His smile makes me feel safe, so I step closer. He starts to talk, and He is saying the words that Mama has taught me! Without thinking I start to say them too, then stop because I am embarassed. But He looks at me and smiles. When He nods I finish the words and He puts His arm around my shoulders and gives me a hug. I feel safe and happy. Mama says that this teacher is the one that people are calling God's son, that He will save our people. I don't know how they know that, but I believe that He is. I think that if Yahweh would send us His Son, He must be like this teacher, gentle and happy. And one who loves children! I'm not so sure about his friends. The Rabbi looks at me with a grin, and I think He maybe knows what I was just thinking.
After a few minutes of talking, JESUS (He told us that is His name) prays and blesses all of us. I feel warm all the way to my toes. When He is done blessing us He puts Mark down on the ground and I take his hand. I look up at Him one more time and He smiles again at me. I don't know how Yahweh sent Him, or what some of the things He says mean, but I know that He loves me, and I know that I want to be one of people when I grow up. His smile gets bigger, and He leans over to me before I walk away.
"You already are one of my people Eli. Never forget how much the Father loves you."He whispers.