Monday, February 3, 2014
Dead Sea Date
"We need to focus on us." I say. "We need to date more."
He responds the not later in the month or week but the next day. Not with a movie or dinner, but a trip to the Dead Sea Scrolls exibit for $23 a person. Yes, he knows my heart. He wheels me through the crowds, up the elevators and into the dark entrance. The crowds curiously glance down at me. I even get a few pitying stares when they think I'm not looking.
The light appears. It spotlights a large water cistern.
This water cistern. They say it came from the temple in Jerusalem. They say it was there at the time, Jesus entered the temple, braided his whip, and cleansed the temple of greed, and men who sell and take advantage. Almost my height, it would hold a lot of water to cleanse. But then, its cleanse is ineffectual compared to sin erased and hearts new.
Pottery stamps, a pair of leather sandals, a foot bath, fossilized dates. And then the words... those beautiful words penned with exact care as befits their status. Isaiah, the Psalms, Deuteronomy. Then I lean in careful, to hear the ancient docent tell the group of women. "It's right there, and there again." He points. HIS NAME. In documents 2,000 years old. I stand to get a better angle.
My sweetie, he comes back and forth to me. "Did you see that bathtub? Or the table remnants from Herod's Palace? We separate, then merge. Separate, then merge. At first I feel a tinge of guilt that we spend different amounts of time at each exhibit. But then I realize, we ARE at the same place, doing the same thing.
With each stamp, jar, or piece of jewlry, my excitement has grown. He was here. He walked this dirt. This planet. They knew. They all knew from the texts 3,000 years old they called, they asked. "Come. Oh come Emanuel." I went to the enourmous stone taken from the excavation of the western wall. "You may say a prayer or write it." They said. "When the exhibit is closed, we will ship the prayers to the wall in Israel."
What can I write? What is the deepest desire of my heart? I take the slip of paper and rest it on the ancient slab. "Oh come. Please come oh Emanuel." I fold it up small and stick it in a crack.