I tasted bitter dirt and grit between my teeth. My face covered in sand. I pushed my body back to its feet. To keep running. Fast as the wind.
Everything ached. I was no longer the picture of athleticism as I was in my youth. The years had made way for a rounder belly and more mature physique. But that day called for a return of the fitness of my youth; muscles unused and almost forgotten were at full capacity. I was on a mission. To save my baby’s life.
Crowds started to build. I pushed past friends and members of the synagogue. What did they think of me; running with my robe hitched above my knees?
I heard a man’s voice ask, “Is that Jarius?”
“No,” replied a woman, “he would not barge past so aggressively.”
There was no time to explain. No time for niceties.
I forced my way through another group strolling toward the sea.
“Watch where you’re going will you?” Along with other words of abuse.
“That’s Jarius from the synagogue. Why is he rushing so?”
If only they knew. They would have understood.
My legs were burning; breath strained. My body wanted to give in. I could not let it. She could not die; my mind reeled at the thought and pushed me forward through the throng.
I reached the peak of the incline and paused to assess the valley. That was the first time I saw Him. The man who made blind men see and deaf ears hear. The man who called the lame to rise. Could he heal my daughter? My little one; love of my life.
I surged forward at a faster pace, but lost my footing once again, tasted dirt, and who knows what else. But with my eyes on the one they call Teacher I was invigorated. I pressed on as though angels carried me toward Him.
Jesus wandered through the crowd smiling and engaging everyone. He left no one out. Pure love and compassion radiated His being.
I was far off but closing the gap. Teacher glanced up from the child on His arms and gazed into the distance – at me. It was as though He saw me; saw my pain. In His glance I knew everything was going to work out.
With renewed hope and energy I thrust myself through the crowd of a least one thousand. I heard murmurings of, “Wait your turn,” but pressed on. They would have done the same in my shoes; if they had left their only daughter pale and still. Nothing could stop me from getting to the man who would save her life.
With the Teacher in my grasp, I lunged forward and fell at His feet. But the journey was far from over.
I looked up. Compassion and love held my gaze. I was overwhelmed and reassured – everything would alright. He knew my plea before I uttered a word.
“My daughter,” I stammered amidst shortness of breath. “She is dying. Come.”
And with that, we were off. Slowly at first, because of the pressing crowd. I sped ahead to clear a path.
I ran for minutes before realising Jesus was no longer at my heels. He had stopped and was talking to a woman, her face to the ground; every now and then she looked up with tear stained face.
I raced back in frustration to join Jesus, oblivious to my own servants charging over the summit, shouting my name.
“Your faith has healed you. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
I stopped. I wanted to tell Jesus to hurry, that my daughter was near death, He should not waste time here. Instead tears of joy streamed down my cheeks. The atmosphere was electric. She was healed. She found her miracle. I hoped I had found mine.
“Jairus. Master Jairus.”
I was woken from my dream as I turned to see my personal aide heading toward me; his face ashen. Before he reached my side I knew what he would say.
I collapsed. Defeated. Broken. It was over. Her life was over. And so was mine.
My aide embraced my bent form; his tears flowed as heavy as mine.
“Oh, Master, she is gone. Gone. There is no need to bother the Teacher any more.”
We were so close, I thought it would be alright. I thought He would make her better. But He was too late. I was too late.
As I lay there on the ground sobbing I felt hands grip my cheeks and raise my head. It was the Teacher; His eyes like fire burnt into mine.
He spoke with power yet in a voice so soft only I could hear, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.”
The weight of death fell from my shoulders. He called His three closest confidants and we moved forward. But this time was different. Fear was not chasing me.
I believed. Everything would be alright.