Day Eight Hundred Sixty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I find myself warming to our erstwhile friend Jezer. I begin to think that he only acts the scoundrel to acquire what others need. With only minimum thought to himself.

And I also understand better the reason for our call to Damascus.

There are scatterings of Hamashiachites throughout the city. Late comers to belief after the Great Appearance. Living lives in fear and persecution when found out. And sorely in need of a leader.

And Elijah shall fill that need, willingly and most gladly. I shall help, of course. But unlike with other groups we have gathered in the past, we shall lead them ourselves to Jerusalem, and not hand them over to others to direct.

And time is short.

Advertisements

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

During the daylight hours, the constant din of construction assails our ears. I find myself longing for the relative quiet of the night.

Jezer welcomes the noise. To him it means, that for the time being, the authorities have chosen to ignore the goings on in this quarter, one in which can be found a multitude of those not bearing the mark.

As to himself he is currently basking in plenty, having sold off all his camels. And is contemplating his next investment.

I just hope we do not end up part of his calculations.

Meesa has praised him to Elijah and said his aid has been pivotal to the needy in this quarter. We passed the afternoon with her.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Over night Elijah and I separately received confirmation that today was our day to enter. We timed our arrival at the gateway to coincide with the morning rush. However, we were intercepted on the way by Meesa and our guest at the desert well, Jezer.

She had been on the way out to our spot to introduce us, and to inform us about the best strategy for entry.

A few awkward moments ensued, then we were talked into entering later in the day as part of a labor crew bringing scraps from outside for reuse.

The stratagem worked. This evening we are within Damascus. And thankful for the Spirit’s timing, for without Meesa’s intervention we would have been turned away.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our observations of the last day and a half have brought up something very curious. The two main roads are often backed up at certain times as the vehicles are checked before entry. A third way into the city lies between them. A steady stream of people on foot depart the main roads on either side to join the path to this gateway.

So, to my mind without a vehicle ourselves, this looks to offer the best way in, leaving the only decision as to the morning or the evening busy times.

But Elijah hasn’t ruled out one of the vehicle only entries. In fact he rather prefers it.

In which case I think it calls for a closer look.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This time Elijah wasn’t the only one to notice. When the young woman overtook and passed us by on the road, I saw that she bore a mark, and I could tell it was very much like that of Jezer. Phony.

For her part when she looked back at us, shock registered in her face. And I knew that her surprise was due to the absence of the mark on either of us.

She stopped in her tracks, not knowing what to do.

Elijah rushed forward to reassure her. The fact that she was alone on the road, I believe, made her even more apprehensive, so I held back.

Elijah was able to calm her.

It was a propitious meeting.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The villages we passed through yesterday and today were quiet and almost empty, for their inhabitants were out laboring in the fields. The requisite posters of Stan increased in number as we grew closer to Damascus.

And as we were getting closer, Elijah and I strategized about our entry.

We decided that we would hold up at a distance and observe the patterns of movement into and out of the city.

It would also need to be an out of the way site, the better to seek the Spirit’s direction.

We have noted already that at certain times of the day the road traffic slows due to an increase in vehicles and backs up. This may prove an important factor.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Town police rousted us from our sleep this morning. We had chosen a place too close to the town for their liking. Thus we were a little earlier on the road than planned.

It worked to our advantage as we made good progress being the only ones on the road at that hour.

Ahead we could see a series of villages nestled along the road surrounded with fields under cultivation.

I debated with Elijah whether or not to leave the road and go around them. He felt no need or compulsion to do so. I wanted to avoid anything like yesterday that could hold us back again.

We concluded that walking in the fields would bring unwanted attention to ourselves.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I thought Jezer merely unscrupulous in his business dealings. Clearly his attempts to sell to people not bearing the mark (Elijah and me) would make him guilty in the eyes of the authorities. At the time I guessed that his view was just a matter of – no witnesses – no crime.

But that he bore a phony mark didn’t change my estimation of his character. And that was at the crux of my apprehensions to being in the same city as him.

As ever Elijah is unconcerned. He points out that we have no idea how we will be treated much less whether or not we will be allowed to enter the city.

He just knows that we must go there.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We planned to let a whole day pass before setting off on the road to Damascus. Neither of us wanted to overtake Jezer and fall into his company.

We had just collected ourselves together when an army truck rolled up to the well and accosted us. They couldn’t understand us and we couldn’t understand them.

The man in charge searched us, then dismissed us in disgust. They remounted and sped away north.

The way ahead looked much the same as our route from the south, more rock cliffs channeling our path.

I fell into a discussion with Elijah about our former guest.  I supposed that the soldiers were in pursuit of him.

Elijah nodded and said, “His mark was false.”

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Jezer bid us farewell in the late morning. Charming as ever despite his failure to strike a deal or two. He took the eastward road, saying that he was headed for Damascus. It was the first we knew that we were further west than we had supposed, which meant our final destination lay somewhere north of us.

But the mention of Damascus resonated in my being. And lingered. So much so that I  asked Elijah if that was the waypoint through which we must pass before ending in Jerusalem.

His answer in the affirmative went a long way in explaining his former reticence. I would not have wanted to go there either. For it has been long under the mark.