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Title: New Paths through Old Palestine
Author: Slattery, Margaret
Language: English
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NEW PATHS THROUGH OLD PALESTINE


[Illustration:

  Instead of the soft-footed camels, the motor truck stood at the gates
    of the Holy City.]


NEW PATHS THROUGH OLD PALESTINE

by

MARGARET SLATTERY


[Illustration]



Printed in U. S. A.

The Pilgrim Press.
Boston      Chicago

Copyright 1921
by
Sidney A. Weston

The Pilgrim Press
Boston



                                   TO

                                M. R. H.

                      THE UNDERSTANDING COMPANION
                           OF THE PILGRIMAGE



                       A WORD ABOUT THE NEW PATHS


From our earliest childhood when at Christmas time we gazed with intense
interest at the Wise-men on their gaily caparisoned camels, those great
awkward ships of the desert have been associated in our minds with
Palestine. The Child held close in Mary’s arms as she sat upon the
donkey while Joseph urged it on through the day and the night in the
hurried flight into Egypt has made that faithful little beast a part of
Palestine.

We saw both the donkeys with loaded panniers driven along by wandering
Arabs and the strings of camels, soft-footed, heads held proudly high,
moving off over the yellow sands up to the hills. But we sat in a modern
train, with comfortable leather seats, and a madly puffing engine
dragged us over the wind-blown sands up through the hills of Judea to
the little modern station just without the walls of Jerusalem. Once when
we stopped at old Lydda we heard a rushing, whirring sound over our
heads. It grew louder and, as we searched the sky, a plane swept out
from the soft clouds into the clear blue, came down nearer, nearer to
earth, rose again, and passed out of sight. It had come from the City of
Zion: it would go into Egypt.

The Wilderness, the Dead Sea and the forty long years of wandering, the
victories over the Philistines, the waters of Jordan parted for the
passing of the hosts of Jehovah, the tumbling walls of Jericho, the
spots where “the arm of the Lord prevailed”: with these we had long been
familiar. They were associated in our minds with tents, with much
cattle, with slow beasts of burden, with men, women, and children who
moved leisurely in times of peace and fled in wild confusion in times of
war.

The Wilderness, the Dead Sea, the Jordan, and Jericho we saw. A motor
car driven by the son of an Arab chief took us over and past them all in
less than a day!

Old Palestine still lies between the great desert and the seas. The
women still grind the corn, stand gossiping about the well, and wrap
their babies in swaddling clothes. The shepherds wander through the bare
hills with their sheep and lead them, when spring comes, to the green
pastures and the still waters. But there are _New Paths Through Old
Palestine_. They cross age-worn desert-ways, go down into the shadows of
deep valleys, climb hoary mountains, follow Elijah’s chariot through
great spaces of the sky. The new paths bring new days fraught with
possibilities. In time they _may_ bring a new Palestine: not the mystic
land of the Zionists but the promised land of which the prophets and
poets of Israel sang. Old Palestine died in nineteen-fourteen with the
rest of the world that was and will never be again. New Palestine is
born. What its future shall be depends upon the souls of those who
follow the new paths. They may lead only to temporary triumph, to the
selfish goals of the kingdoms of men: they _may_ lead to the Kingdom of
God.

[Illustration:

  Margaret Slattery.]

 NOVEMBER 1, 1921.

             “_Ah no! that sacred land
             Where fell the wearied feet of the lone Christ
             Robs not the soul of faith._”
                             —_Richard Watson Gilder._



                                CONTENTS


                                                  PAGE

                  I GO UP TO JERUSALEM               3

                  I GO OVER TO BETHLEHEM            21

                  I GO DOWN TO JERICHO              39

                  I GO TO BETHANY                   61

                  I GO OUT TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES   79

                  I GO TO THE GARDEN                97

                  I GO DOWN INTO EGYPT             113



                          I GO UP TO JERUSALEM


            _Our feet are standing
            Within thy gates, O Jerusalem,
            Jerusalem, that art builded
            As a city that is compact together.—
            Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
            Peace be within thy walls,
            And prosperity within thy palaces._

            _Praise Jehovah, O Jerusalem;
            Praise thy God, O Zion,
            For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates;
            He hath blessed thy children within thee.
            He maketh peace in thy borders._
                                    —_Psalms 122, 147._



                          I GO UP TO JERUSALEM


There was a moon that night. Now it was half hidden by soft clouds, now
clear, brilliant, white against a velvet sky. We stood crowded close to
the heavy ropes stretched across the bridge, which had swung open to
permit one boat after another to pass. We were at Kantara on the Suez.
Across the canal was the train dimly lighted, standing on the tracks
that seemed half buried in the soft, yellow, desert sand. We waited
impatiently. Nearly three hours had passed since the train from Port
Said had left us there to attend to baggage and troublesome passports,
and to eat a meager supper from boxes brought with us from the Port.

Now a Japanese boat passed slowly along the canal; then a smaller craft
with cargo, flying the Dutch flag; a British boat brilliantly lighted,
its passengers, many of them in uniform, dancing on deck. The canal is
so narrow that great ships must creep slowly and carefully along, with
no place for miles where one boat may pass another. It is a miracle,
this Suez Canal, and the story of its building a most fascinating tale.
Its banks are scarred by the battles of the great war. Barbed wire, old
dugouts, the remains of hastily constructed forts reminded us of the
desperate struggle made by the Allies to protect it against the enemy in
the air and under the water. Had any one of their many attempts
successfully closed the canal, the war would have had a very different
ending.

We had just spent nineteen and one-half hours coming through the canal
at the slow speed permitted by law—five miles an hour. Even then our
boat twice grazed the retaining wall. In a single year over three
thousand boats passed through the locks, crept along through the canal,
then hurried to far ports, east or west.

As the fifth boat swung lazily past, a sigh of relief went up from the
crowd pressed against the ropes. A moment and the great bridge moved
back into place and we were given the signal to cross. It was a weird
group that hurried along in the moonlight—a party of Americans, a group
of British officers, some Australian soldiers, Jews from Russia
clutching their permits to enter the land of promise, Egyptians,
Syrians, Arabs in native dress. There were but few women. Our porter
found us seats close to the window in one of the compartments. We were
sorry for this later, as the fine sand sifted in and covered clothing
and baggage. No sleeping-car was possible, so we made ourselves as
comfortable as we could with bags for pillows and heavy coats for
blankets. We were most grateful for this railroad from Kantara to
Jerusalem, realizing that before the war we would have been compelled to
make the inconvenient and dangerous landing in the small boats at Jaffa.

We made our way slowly through the night across the desert that
stretched as far as the eye could reach in the moonlight and slipped
away into blackness when the moon had set. What it had cost the men who
had laid those ties in that wilderness of sand, under the scorching rays
of a pitiless sun, no history of war can adequately relate. How often in
those days, as we looked reverently at old battlegrounds, we searched
for words with which to describe the miracles performed by the
engineering corps of the fighting armies!

With the morning light, we began to see signs of life on the desert.
Great masses of cacti, in clumps as tall as trees, with stems as thick
as a man’s body, were growing but a few feet from our windows. Here,
during the war, the enemy had hidden their machine guns, a refuge from
which they might safely do their deadly work, practically certain that
they could not be captured. Many a brave soldier of the Allies gave up
his life in agony, caught in the cactus hedge to which the rush of
battle had driven him, and many an heroic rescue of a comrade held by
the cruel thorns took place on that desert plain. When the cactus growth
cleared and the desert was unbroken we stared in amazement at what
seemed to be a line of dark earth—a road made in the shifting sand. When
we got nearer we found it to be strips of chicken wire. This wire was
the solution of a problem that at first threatened to tie up all the
plans of Headquarters, for the heavy artillery and the loaded motor
lorries, sinking deep into the sand, made progress impossible. The wire
road was the result of the ingenuity of some of the men in the ranks. As
the fine and coarse net used alternately pressed down upon the sand it
gave the resistance that enabled the great guns and loads of supplies to
pass over places otherwise uncrossable. When they had passed, soldiers
rolled up the wire, loaded it on the camels to be used again over some
hard stretch ahead. The war over, it lay there rusting in the sand.

Again and again, as one crossed the battlefields of Palestine, he saw
evidences of the triumph of man’s mind over earth’s obstacles. Nothing
was too ordinary, too commonplace, too insignificant to be used to
further the success of the great cause. For fresh supplies of food and
water, for “heavies” with which to batter down the defenses of the
enemy, the army was for a time dependent upon temporary tracks of
chicken wire laid in a waste of moving sand!

Against the horizon we could see the slow moving train of camels. A
group of Arabs on horseback halted to watch us pass. We were in
Palestine, that land of small distances and great deeds.

“I cannot believe that I am in Palestine,” said the young daughter of a
British officer who was to see her father for the first time in four
years. “I have not been able to think of it as a real land. I know, in a
way, that Moses and Joshua fought here. But think of father’s fighting
here, too!” The girl had expressed the thought of hundreds of others who
have studied the Bible stories, become familiar with the difficult
names, drawn maps and located the cities of Moses and of Paul, marked
the journeyings of Christ, but to whom the land has never been a real
land and its records, shrouded in vague mystery, have never seemed a
part of the earth. But now we knew it to be real. We began to comprehend
“the wilderness and the solitary place.”

It is only about the size of my own state of Massachusetts, I told
myself again and again. Its greatest length is but one hundred eighty
miles and it is nowhere more than fifty-five miles wide. If I had the
railways and engines of home I could cross it in less than two hours. I
could travel its entire length easily in five or six. But the present
train, with its light engine, on a roadbed hastily made, parts of it
finished under fire from enemy guns, moves slowly. We are stopping at
Gaza.

Once Gaza was the largest city of the old country of the Philistines. I
can almost see Samson, strong and powerful, coming down over the hill
called today Samson’s Ridge, bearing the great city gates upon his
shoulders while men stood aghast. I can see him too, blinded and
powerless, walking the treadmill of his enemies. As I look out over the
desert road, I remember the Ethiopian struggling to find the meaning of
the words of the prophet Isaiah and young Philip running by his chariot,
eagerly responding to the invitation to sit with him and explain the
prophecy. Riding along through the dust, I can hear him talking with the
ruler about Jesus and what He had taught of God and man; and,
half-astonished at the quick response, I can hear the Ethiopian, as they
came near to a place with water, saying, “Behold, here is water, what
doth hinder me to be baptized?” But I am brought back suddenly from the
long past. Men in British uniform are on the platform of the little
station. They follow the mail bag eagerly, joking each other in clear
English accents about the probable contents.

For eight months in nineteen hundred and seventeen, Gaza became again
the center of a great battle area. We could see the remains of the
Turkish trenches, dug deep into the earth and protected by great masses
of wire or by sand bags made from the gay colored hangings and curtains
taken from the houses of its people. But in spite of all their careful
preparations and their gallant defence, Gaza fell into the hands of the
British troops whose splendid officers and men had braved heat, terrible
thirst, sand-storms, deadly fire that robbed them of hundreds of their
comrades, that they might take this important post on the road that was
to lead them through untold suffering up to Jerusalem, as it had led
other armies of days long ago. The British Tommies read their Bibles in
their spare time these days. They read over again the battles of
Israelites and Philistines which they had found very stupid when they
were boys in Sunday schools but which are exceedingly interesting to
them now. As they fought, step by step, for possession of that same
land, they asked themselves if, battling against a foe to whom the
desert was home, on trackless wastes whose every spring and rock was
known, they could ever win. Never for a moment did they hesitate in
their answer, but many a brave young officer and many a hardy soldier of
Australia or New Zealand must have had misgivings as he looked at the
cactus hedge, miles deep, or out over the still, barren, hopeless desert
hills.

We left Gaza to climb slowly up to Lydda, now called Ludd, where we were
obliged to change cars. On all sides were signs of the fighting of two
years before, and now and then white crosses or Turkish graves reminded
us of the terrible price youth has paid throughout the long centuries of
history to make this land holy indeed.

As we climbed up into the hills, it began to rain, the air was fresh and
cool, the vineyards here and there on the hillsides brought great relief
after the glare of the sands through which we had been passing for so
many hours. Our first glimpse of Jerusalem was in the soft mist through
which the sun was attempting to shine. The walls looked high and
forbidding, the whole city, from its point of vantage crowning the
hilltops, seemed to look down upon us as though we were but very little
things, little and unimportant, come to gaze, without half understanding
what we should see, upon all man has dreamed and suffered in his reach
for God and happiness.

A thrill of anticipation had passed up and down the corridor of the
train. Not a person sat in his compartment. Corridor windows were opened
and eager faces crowded about them. The face of the young girl who was
to see her father after the four years of separation was flushed with
excitement, but the face of her mother was pale and there were tears in
her eyes. She had given her two sons—one in France and one in
Mesopotamia—to the world’s great effort to preserve its freedom. I shall
never forget the light in the eyes of two thin, haggard, long-bearded
Hebrews, looking out from the windows, then turning to speak with each
other in Russian words that, though unintelligible to us, seemed to be
on fire with passion. Their gestures were expressive of emotion that
could not be restrained. Long before the train stopped they were at the
door.

The faces of young British officers on leave, coming up for the first
time to see the city for whose delivery they had prepared the way down
on the dry parched plain, were keen with interest; no detail of the
approach escaped them. The residents accustomed to the journeyings from
the Port to the city looked at us all with mild curiosity and kind
tolerance.

From the station, the horses dragged us up through gray mud that flew
about us in showers, covering carriage, baggage, and robes,—there was no
escape from it. From the mist the walls of the “city of cities” emerged,
clear, strong, unbroken, no mark of battle upon them. As we went through
the great gate, the sun, breaking through the mist, flooded with light,
for a few moments, the narrow street and brightened the faces of the
crowd of people of every nation that poured ceaselessly in and out. We
stopped before the hotel that during the war had served as the Red
Crescent Hospital. Lunch was waiting and we sat down with the Mohammedan
in his red fez, the Bedouin in his long, beautiful, gay-colored coat,
the French officer and the British officer on leave, Jewish business
men, the Greek and the Syrian—the world, it seemed to us as we listened
to the various languages. All orders for food were given in French, and
in French men of different nations spoke with each other in courteous
greeting.

We were in Jerusalem. Here Samuel sat; here at the gate was David’s
tower; King Solomon once lived over there on the hill in his glittering
palace and by his wealth and wisdom made himself famous throughout the
world, and here he lost his wisdom as has many another in the courts of
the women. Herod and Pilate looked out over these hills; the Crusader
stormed the walls and the Turk brought terror and slavery with his
sword. Twenty-three times in its history Jerusalem has been captured. It
has been pillaged, plundered, burned, utterly destroyed, rebuilt only to
be plundered again. Yet here it stood. Upon what unspeakable sorrow the
stars of Palestine have looked down! We gazed from our balcony out over
the low buildings of solid rock, out through the break in the wall made
that the Kaiser, on his visit to the Holy Place, might enter in great
pomp and glory with his impressive army of followers, the break redeemed
by the simplicity of the entrance of the victorious General Allenby into
the city that he had conquered without the destruction of a single
building or a foot of wall and accepted, when surrendered, as a sacred
trust placed once more in the hands of Christians. It may be that the
white crosses in long rows, out on the hillside, guarding the graves of
soldiers from every part of the British Empire, young, very young, will
continue to remind these latest conquerors of the tremendous cost of the
victory that left the city unharmed and help them govern the land with
an unselfishness of purpose that will measure up to the high standard of
their victory.

After lunch we found that dark clouds had gathered low over the hills,
and before we could leave our room the rain came. We studied the map of
the city, searched out the location of its sacred places, read over
again the words of poet and prophet describing the days of its great
glory, when from Mount Zion king and shepherd could look over at Mount
Moriah where the smoke of the sacrifice from the temple of Jehovah
ascended to heaven.

Late in the afternoon the rising wind scattered the clouds and the sun
set in a blaze of glory. We stood just outside the gate on the city wall
looking down across the valley over toward Bethlehem. The hills, deep
purple, reached up on every side to touch the sky. Their bare rocky
slopes became soft as velvet in the fading light.

A young British private, leaning against a part of the parapet, took out
a khaki Testament and turned the leaves slowly. He seemed to find what
he wanted and read, following the lines with his finger. Then he closed
the book, put it back in his pocket and turned, half apologetically to a
companion not in uniform.

“We fought out there,” he said, “the 53rd division. We fought around the
very hills where the angels sang about Peace on earth.”

A moment of silence and the other spoke: “Yonder is the road He must
have climbed when He came up to Jerusalem.”

“I’ll take you over it tomorrow,” was the answer. “We’ll see all the
places where He used to go. It makes the story in the Book very plain.”

They moved away. Reluctantly, in the face of coming darkness, we left
the great wall and joined the group of Arabs who, with camels and
donkeys, were passing in and out of the gate. As we climbed the long
stairs to our room, we remembered that tomorrow would be Sunday at home.
In thousands of churches all over the world, trusting little children,
strong, courageous youth, men and women bearing heavy burdens, the old,
the sick, the missionaries would read the story of what He did and said
centuries before, in and about Jerusalem—the story that, despite the
limitations of those who have told it, has changed the world and that
must continue to change it until it shall become what He prayed it might
be—the kingdom of God upon the earth. Tomorrow we, like the young
soldier in khaki, would begin our journeys to “all the places where He
used to go.” And we hoped that for us, too, the sacred spots would “make
the story in the Book very plain.”

In a long procession with torches the worshipers of the Greek church,
chanting an evensong for their feast day, passed beneath our balcony. A
torch lighted up the cross held high over the heads of the marchers. Out
over the hills of Bethlehem, hidden now by the night, bright stars were
shining. We fell upon our knees and worshiped Him.



                         I GO OVER TO BETHLEHEM


 _There was a baby born in Bethlehem.
   I know they say
 That this and that’s in doubt, and, for the rest
 That learned men who surely should know best
 Explain how myths crept in, and followers’ tales confused the truth._

 _I know—but anyway
 There was a baby born in Bethlehem
 Who lived and grew and loved and healed and taught
   And died—but not to me.
 When Christmas comes I see Him still arise,
 The gentle, the compassionate, the wise,
 Wiping Earth’s tears away, stilling her strife;
 Calling, “My path is Peace; My way is Life!”_
                         —_Author Unknown._



                         I GO OVER TO BETHLEHEM


It was clear and cold. The hills of Moab were deep blue. They seemed
very near. In a low carriage that bore every mark of long service, drawn
by two thin dark horses and driven by an Arab in a dull brown Bedouin
coat, with the long, heavy head-dress falling over his shoulders and
protecting him from rain or sun, we drove out through the gate. Dark
eyes watched us curiously. The horses at first were swift of foot and
the carriage lurched and rolled down the steep grade of the valley of
Hinnom, past the former German colony, over the new bridge; then, losing
their enthusiasm, they climbed slowly. On a hillside the sheep were
feeding, but how they could find enough to sustain life on those bare
rocky slopes is hard to understand. Now we passed a flock following the
shepherd in his vari-colored coat down a steep incline and through a
valley which in the rainy season would be a rushing stream. We could
hear the lambs call, and now and then the shepherd’s reprimand to a
straying sheep. Over there were the fields of Boaz. How beautiful they
must have looked when the heavy sheaves of wheat were yellow in the sun.
The land of Moab seemed such a short distance away as we who had been
half-way round the world thought of distance, but to loyal, faithful,
loving Ruth those desert plains, rounded hills, and deep valleys meant
distance enough to separate her forever from the home and kindred she
must leave behind. The brave words came back to us: “Whither thou goest,
I will go; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God.” She
deserved the happiness she won out there in the fields as she followed
the reapers. As if agreeing with our unspoken thoughts our guide turned
and looked down at us. “Boaz, the owner of the field, married Ruth, the
Moabite girl. She was very beautiful,” he said.

The wind was bleak on the hilltop as it was that night centuries ago and
we were glad when we reached the protection of the low stone houses of
the village of Bethlehem. Such a tiny village! Nothing was left of the
glory of that other day when the busy tax-gatherers checked up the names
of the people and the keeper of the Inn hurried about trying in vain to
find room for his guests, when officers of the army in resplendent
uniform and civil officers proud and haughty made every Jewish pilgrim
conscious of the power of great Rome.

Nothing remains of the old inn or khan which was crowded on that night
to its very gates. Thankful indeed must both Joseph and Mary have been
for the protection of the cave with its great manger hewn out of the
rock. Over that spot to which they went so gratefully for shelter now
stands the Church of the Nativity. It is a simple beautiful church, but
the shrines within are garish indeed.

By General Allenby’s command, the high forbidding walls of stone that
have so long divided the interior and marred its beauty have been taken
down. The walls had formerly separated the church into sections claimed
by the various faiths. The nave of the church belongs to the Greeks, one
transept to the Coptic Christians, the other to the Armenians. The
Romanists have built a church and monastery close beside the little
church of the Nativity, but worshipers could only reach the grotto to
kneel at the manger of stone through a devious, difficult underground
path. When the Turks captured Palestine they compelled the Armenians to
open a passage through their wall that the Romanists might enter. As we
stepped into the church we heard the chanting of their choir, and soon
through the door in the Armenian transept came priests and altar boys in
the rich robes of the church to say mass. We stood aside until they had
passed and only the echo of their voices could be heard floating up from
the cave below.

Ever since the coming of the Turks, Christmas and Easter services have
been marred by desperate quarreling and bloodshed. At each service
Turkish soldiers were on guard and swords and guns punished offenders
but were unable to prevent the paying of old scores by Armenian and
Romanist, Copt and Greek. The British general was exceedingly anxious
that no such quarrels should mar the celebration of the first Christmas
and Easter after the return of the holy places into the hands of
Christians, to be theirs no matter what their creeds might be. In many
languages, he made his appeal to the people. The American Colony of
Jerusalem was asked to be present at the services to help quiet any
trouble-makers, but they did not wish to assume the responsibility.
Therefore certain individual members of the Red Cross Commission
answered the General’s appeal, and were present all day at the services,
quietly warning any of the rougher element who, as in the past days,
attempted to start trouble by taunting words. Not a British soldier was
present. The Commission members, wise, alert, and friendly, did their
work well and the day passed in dignified impressive worship for the
first time since the Turks took the Holy City. The General expressed his
gratitude in most cordial notes of thanks to the men who had so
successfully endeavored to carry out his wishes.

We waited until the mass was over and then, with our lighted candles,
went down into the shadowy grotto. Myth and legend, superstitions weird
and fantastic have gathered about all the sacred places. While these
things mean little to the modern Christian, he is bound to respect the
reverent belief in them held by many of his comrades in the faith. With
confidence the guide tells of the hundreds of years the fire in the
hidden place has burned, not once going out, just as it has burned in
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. If, as one kneels and
prays, holding his taper close to the opening, it is lighted by the
unseen holy fire, rich blessings will come to him and those he loves.

I shall never forget the thin, tired, sorrow-marked face of an Armenian
woman whose taper, as she knelt murmuring prayers, suddenly caught the
sacred flame. It was transformed. She went up the shadowy steps in a
transport of joy. Nor shall I soon forget the face of a Russian woman as
she swayed back and forth on her knees in an agony of prayer. When at
last she rose she could not stand and a kindly attendant steadied her.
He spoke to her in Russian and they talked softly for a moment. She was
in Jerusalem on a pilgrimage when the war broke out. Her husband, her
son, and a son-in-law were in the Russian army. Of them she had had no
word. She had received a month since confirmation of the news of the
death of her two daughters in prison. She could not go back to her home
in the hot-bed of Bolshevism. She took a taper from the hand of a priest
and went toward the place of the holy fire.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, Underwood & Underwood_

  “’Twas a humble birthplace, but oh, how much God gave to us that day!”]

I was glad when we were in the fresh crisp air again, wandering through
the streets of the little village, stopping for a few moments for coffee
with a Syrian shopkeeper who wanted to sell us olive-wood beads with a
beautiful carved cross as pendant. His son, a boy of twelve, spoke
English. The father brought him out proudly. He attended a Quaker school
for boys over in Ramallah and was having a holiday. The souvenirs
offered for our inspection were poor tawdry things, but the faces of the
salesmen were so eager that we could not disappoint them. Visitors had
been exceedingly rare during the years of the war and curious friendly
eyes followed us hopefully everywhere. There had been great excitement
in the village that morning. An Indian prince who was a Christian had
visited the church, had left a gift for the priests, had made purchases
in all the little shops—his taper had been lighted by the holy fire.

We were just about to go back to our carriage when, turning the corner
abruptly, we were face to face with the young Britisher and his friend
who had stood on the wall with us in the sunset the night before. He was
pointing out over the hills. We smiled our recognition and asked if we
too might hear of the coming of the army to Bethlehem.

“There is not much to tell,” he said, in the way of those who have
risked all in battle. He told us a little about the difficulty of the
fighting in the Judean Hills, the gigantic task of feeding the army and
supplying it with water, the intense sufferings of the men in the cold
drizzling rain and the chilling wind on the hills. Wrapping our own
coats tightly about us, we could understand something of what they must
have endured lying out on the bare unprotected hillsides as they did
those nights before the city of Jerusalem was captured. After a moment
he pointed out to us the hill Beit Jabor two miles northwest of
Bethlehem won by the Welsh Division troops and opening the door for the
entrance into Bethlehem, showed us the great house just south of
Bethlehem where the Turks had seven mountain guns turned upon the road
over which the troops must pass. But a thick heavy impenetrable fog
settled down and, taking the risk, the heavy guns of the British passed
up the road within easy reach of the enemy had they known. “Whenever a
fog settled down like that, to our advantage, the boys would say, ‘the
Lord sent a great fog,’ or ‘the Lord hath covered the moon with a
cloud’; but when rain or moonlight favored the enemy they said nothing.”
He smiled. “The war is over,” he said, “yet it seems as if at any moment
this silence might be interrupted by the booming of a gun.” “God
forbid!” said our guide fervently. “We have had enough of guns.” We
echoed his words heartily as we said a warm word of appreciation of what
British arms had done and went back to our carriage.

Two miles or more outside the village we looked down upon the place of
Rachel’s tomb. There have been few more beautiful stories of devoted
service for love than that of Jacob who had “loved Rachel” and laid her
there with a breaking heart. The simple, homely record of the joys and
sorrows of every-day life written in the Book that is so full of human
interest seems very real indeed as one looks into the faces of men and
women about him, almost any one of whom might have played the part of
hero or heroine without change of costume on a stage with scenery set. A
little further down the long hill we stopped while the guide pointed to
the place where the shepherds had watched their flocks. It was a plain
lying close between the higher hills. Even on a chilly night it would be
a sheltered spot and, huddled dose together with the fire blazing near
and the watchman at the gate of the fold, shepherds and sheep would be
safe and warm. So they lay that night when the dark sky was suddenly
flooded with light and voices sang over the awestruck hills of Judea.

We looked back at the little spot on the hill that was Bethlehem, where
that night was born the baby who turned the world upside down—the baby
who inspired the world’s best art, its finest literature, its greatest
music,—there in that little town with its stone houses, its irregular
streets, its simple people struggling with poverty! There was Bethlehem,
the city of David, the shepherd boy of the hills, strongest and best of
all the sons of Jesse, born to be a king and through his long line of
descendants at last to give to the world the King of kings.

When we stopped at the desk for our keys and to ask for a fire in the
little square stove in our room the clerk, in hesitating, careful
English, said, “You have found it cold out on the hills. You have seen
Bethlehem. It is a small place, Bethlehem. There is little there that a
man may do. Many travelers are disappointed by Bethlehem.”

“That depends upon how much one sees when he looks at Bethlehem,” I
thought. For me it held no disappointment.

That night in the great hall, around the stove that could not warm it,
men talked of the future of Palestine. A good friend, who understood
many languages and spoke Arabic fluently, interpreted much of the talk
for us. The present population of Palestine, Jews, Christians and
Mohammedans, is not even a million! Jews and Christians together number
perhaps less than one-third. The Mohammedans make up most of the
population and are found in every city and village. Arabic is the
language of the people, but in Jerusalem and in Jaffa most European
languages are freely spoken. The people who live in the towns are called
Madaniyeh, the villagers are the Fellaheen, and those who live in tents,
whom we called Bedouin, are Arabs. Despite its rocky, unpromising
hillsides and its deserts, Palestine is an agricultural country and that
must be its future, the men told each other. Wheat and barley, maize and
lentils, figs, watermelons, grapes, pomegranates, mulberries, apricots,
tomatoes, oranges, and olives could be easily raised. We heard glowing
descriptions of the Jaffa oranges and some sent later to our room
fulfilled all that had been said of them. There was much talk of the day
when the cultivation of raisins and the manufacture of olive oil would
make men rich; talk of the bananas that could be made to grow in large
quantities at Jericho and of the date palms that would make Gaza prosper
once more. There must be new plows, new machinery of many sorts. They
talked of the Zionist movement, but the talk was cut short by an Arab
who would not hear of it and, as some faces darkened and voices grew
louder, our friend rose and took us to our room. Sometimes in these days
a friendly talk about Palestine’s future ends in hot words and even
blows. The Arab does not want Palestine to be passed over into the hands
of the Jews. Many of the Jerusalem Jews express no pleasure whatever
over an influx of their brothers from many lands. The problems of
Palestine today are very grave and only great wisdom, unselfishness and
patience will solve them.

After trying in vain to warm ourselves over our small wood stove we put
on our heavy coats and stepped out upon our little balcony. There was no
moon. Save for a light over the Jaffa gate and soft rays from the
windows of our hotel, Jerusalem was dark. The narrow little street at
our left was black. The stars were clear, sparkling, very near. One star
seemed larger and brighter than all the rest. As if unconscious of my
presence my friend sang softly:

                  “O little town of Bethlehem,
                  How still we see thee lie!
                  Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
                  The silent stars go by.
                  Yet in thy dark streets shineth,
                  The everlasting Light;
                  The hopes and fears of all the years
                  Are met in thee tonight.”

We hurried to our beds with their gay colored hangings and lay buried
under blankets and rugs for warmth. For a long time, gazing out into the
darkness, I could see the star.

O little town of Bethlehem! Small indeed—but spreading over all the
earth. Only a few days before in America millions of children had heard
its story, hugged their precious gifts, and thought of the angels and
the shepherds. Thousands of parents, forgetting the pressure of dull
gray days, filled with problems of food, clothing and shelter had smiled
upon their own children and thought tenderly of the Child, and many men
and women without a child to love remembered the days of their own
childhood and greeted each other with “Merry Christmas.” Small
indeed—but I had heard the children of Japan with beaming faces sing its
story; I had heard the youth of China with strong, beautifully serious
faces tell of white gifts to be given in the name of the Child who found
His way into the world out there on the hilltop of Judea; in India I had
heard the story told by a girl whose face shone in the telling, as rows
and rows of little dark faces looked up at her. I knew that in the sands
of African deserts, in the snows of Arctic lands, in the farthermost
islands of the sea, they had heard of Bethlehem. A long line of familiar
words surged through my mind—democracy, freedom, liberty, justice for
all, the brotherhood of man, love—as women may say it in Christian
lands: ... how many of them were also born with Him that night in
Bethlehem!

No, “thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah art not the least among the
princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a ruler ... and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.”

The wounded, hungry, puzzled world—the memory of the sufferings I had
looked upon pressed hard upon me. I closed my eyes to pray that men may
have the courage so to love and the faith so to act that the Prince may
soon come into the possession of His kingdom.

When I opened my eyes, low over the hills against the blackness of the
sky the star was still shining.



                          I GO DOWN TO JERICHO


                 “_He passed by on the other side._”

             _That ‘other side’ is trodden smooth
             And worn by footsteps passing all the day;
             Where lie the bruised ones faint and torn
             Is seldom more than an untrodden way.
             Our selfish hearts are for our feet the guide,
             They lead us by upon the other side._
                                   —_Author Unknown._



                          I GO DOWN TO JERICHO


An interested group surrounded us that morning at nine o’clock as the
car which was to take us down to the Dead Sea and the Jordan drew up to
the door of the hotel. I call it a car by courtesy. It had seen hard
service. It had a battered running board, a mudguard with many dents, a
front seat bending in the middle to the breaking point, no windshield
and no horn. We protested, but our guide said it was the best that could
be had.

“It is the engine that is important,” he said, “the engine and the brake
both are good. As for the horn, no fear—he is a horn with his mouth.” He
was a most successful human horn as we found when we passed through the
gate into the traffic outside the wall. Our guide was not an enthusiast
on the subject of motor vehicles. As we swept around the hairpin curves
he was restless. “The Arab is not the temperament for a driver of cars,”
he said seriously, “he is the temperament for a horse.” And again after
a pause, “It is well to go to Jericho in a carriage. The inn near
Elijah’s Spring is a good place for a rest, and three days—it is a good
time for the trip.”

There was little traffic passing after we turned onto the long
hill—donkeys with panniers loaded with products to be exchanged in the
markets of Jerusalem, a boy driving a few sheep slowly up the steep
hill, a lone Arab on his horse. The air was still, crisp, and very
clear. We were exceedingly thankful for the road built by the Turks in
excellent fashion for the visit of the Kaiser twenty-three years before
and carefully repaired by the British troops for military service. We
passed the rest house built that William Hohenzollern might refresh
himself before approaching the Holy City. Lower and lower into the
valley we went. The road now had a thin covering of soft gray mud.
Suddenly, turning to avoid a huge rock that had rolled down the hillside
into the road, the car skidded. A second and the light machine had
crashed into the retaining wall of rock and cement. The axle bent, the
front wheels turned at an angle, we were thrown back and forth in our
shaky seat. The car stopped. We heard the sickening thud of the rocks as
they fell to the dry bed of the stream below. Then we climbed down
carefully over the loosened mass of cement. “Thank God we are to live!”
said the guide reverently. The driver was trying to turn the wheels
back. He pushed the car into the road. The engine would still run but
the axle looked hopeless. The guide spoke again—“As I have said, a
carriage is better for Jericho.” After all our effort, we had failed to
impress him with the fact that for us to give three days to the trip was
impossible. “Of old,” he continued, “they fell here among the thieves.
We have fallen among the rocks.” We could not help smiling at his look
of dismay as he walked around the car again and again. He was so proud
of his record of over thirty years as guide to whose care was due the
fact that no serious mishaps had ever befallen any of his people. We
were so grateful that we were not lying down there among the jagged
rocks in the dry bed of the stream that our present difficulty seemed
slight indeed. We were midway between Jerusalem and Jericho. If no help
came we could walk in either direction twelve and a half miles though
the prospect was not tempting. While we were discussing it we heard a
rumbling, then a horn. It was a British hospital car taking an officer
down to Jericho. It was pay day for the soldiers and he was late. The
driver of his car felt sure that with a little help the axle might be
repaired enough to enable our driver to crawl back to Jerusalem, but the
steering gear had been damaged and it would be an uncertain venture. A
lorrie was on its way to Jerusalem and was to wait at the Good Samaritan
Inn to give a message to the officer. He would leave instructions for
them to help our driver back to the city and he could get aid for us.
The men in the lorrie which came along according to schedule looked the
car over with the air of expert mechanics. They spent a half hour or
more on it with the help of our driver and then the little Ford turned
and climbed slowly and bravely up the hill, keeping with greatest
difficulty close to the safe side of the road. The lorrie was out of
sight in a few moments flying along to make up for lost time. It would
take word of our trouble and send another car.

[Illustration:

  There lay the boat in which one might row across the Jordan to the
    land of Moab.]

There was nothing to do but wait and nothing to see but bare hills. We
climbed one great rocky mound only to see more hills with deeper valleys
lying between as far as the eye could reach. They reminded us of the
hills in the most desolate part of the Mormon trail in our own American
desert. The sun rose higher and the heat became almost unbearable. We
drew down our hats, put on our dark glasses and sat on the rocks in the
dry bed of the stream. There was not a sound, not a bird note, no
bleating of sheep. There were caves in the side of the hill. They looked
dark, cool, and inviting, they had sheltered many people good and bad
during the long centuries, but the guide warned us that they were full
of vermin and unclean. There was a tiny boulder half-way up the hill
which made on one side a narrow strip of shade and we made ourselves as
small as possible and sat there.

Noon came and we ate our chicken and hard boiled eggs, French bread,
figs, dates and oranges made ready by the hotel, and drank the water in
our thermos bottles sparingly. A group of Arabs clattered past us over
on the road. One sang a couplet in a clear, ringing voice and the others
joined as in a chorus. They did not see us, or, if they did, made no
sign. “When the Turks ruled Palestine,” said our guide, “we could not
sit here so safe. There was much danger on this road and no man traveled
over it at nightfall.” He told us tales of brigands in league with
Turkish high officials with whom they shared their spoil that would have
made excellent material for certain types of American motion pictures.
Suddenly the simple story that Jesus told to the crowd in answer to the
half-mocking question of the keen Jewish lawyer came vividly before us.
It was in these hills, in the desperate loneliness of them, that the
certain man, stripped of all his goods, beaten and half dead, lay
helpless. He might wait for help for many an hour before out of this
place of emptiness any would come! How could Priest and Levite pass him
by on the other side and leave him in this forsaken spot that their own
journey might be undisturbed? To them he was only a man robbed by the
bandits. He would die as had many another. It was a common thing, and,
inhuman as it seems, they went on to their task of holy worship and to
the seat of judgment.

How keen was the mind of Christ! How quickly and unerringly He put his
finger upon the very center of sin! It was easy to see, coming down the
narrow camel path in the hills, the hated Samaritan with the spirit of
justice, mercy, and brotherhood in his soul. He stopped—the man one
would least expect to stop—and rescued with generous tenderness the
suffering victim of thieves, while the servants of Jehovah and his law
passed by on the other side, doing in that day even as, in all the days
since, the followers of the letter and not of the spirit of the law have
done.

There was only one answer to the question the lawyer had asked of Jesus
and he was forced to give it—“He that showed mercy.” I doubt if any who
had heard the question, “But who is my neighbor?” ever forgot the
answer, or the command that followed it: “Go and do thou likewise.”

I was so lost in a new sense of the significance and sincerity of His
wonderful teaching that I did not see our guide make his way toward the
road. “A car comes,” he called, but we, lacking his desert-trained
senses, heard nothing. Two or three minutes and we could see it coming
rapidly along the white road on the farther hillside. The guide was
overjoyed when he saw the new driver. “Ah!” he said, “this is the man I
wanted. He drives anything that can go. Through the war he drove over
hills with no road—always safe! He speaks English, too.” He examined the
car. It had both windshield and horn. It had an extra tire and seats
that were straight. Hope revived.

“We shall now get quickly back to Jerusalem,” said the guide. “Tomorrow,
perhaps, we shall have the carriage.” “To Jerusalem!” we said. “It is
only one o’clock. With such a driver we can surely get to the Dead Sea
and the Jordan. If it is late we can stay tonight at the Inn near
Elijah’s Spring and go back to Jerusalem in the morning. Our time is
short and we cannot take another whole day.” Jamil looked at the driver.
“They are Americans,” he said, “and when they will go, they will go!”
After a moment he added, “The sun has been very hot. Perhaps for you it
has dried the roads.”

So we climbed the steep grade, ran along a level strip, then a steeper
grade to the Inn of the Good Samaritan where Arab traders and men of the
caravans stop for coffee. There was a tank in the yard where one could
buy gasoline!

The road before us was down grade now, and the driver more than lived up
to his reputation. Once Jamil turned to show us a Mohammedan mosque in
ruins in a desolate spot high up in the hills and again to point out a
tomb. “It is the tomb of Moses by the word of the Mohammedans,” he said;
“but we do not believe it, for no man knoweth where God hath buried him.
He never came into the land so we shall not believe it.”

Neither of us who took it will ever forget that ride through the
Wilderness. There was no road. Two deep ruts here and there marked our
way. We wound through soft ooze turning now into the rut, now out again.
On every side were hillocks of soft gray sand. “This is a good place to
ride the donkey’s back,” said Jamil as we bounced up and down in the
car, but he smiled. We told him we had motored to Germany over the
shell-torn roads fording the bridgeless streams and this seemed very
simple. Three miles of it and we were on a rough road close by the Dead
Sea.

It lay still and calm, a blue gray thing crossed here and there by
ribbons of silver where the sun glistened upon it. I should have said it
had no motion but for the tiny little ripples that broke on the pebbly
beach made frosty with salt deposit. A thousand feet and more below the
Mediterranean it lay there. Sitting beside it we were lower than any
submarine has ever been. The city of Jerusalem is two thousand five
hundred feet above the level of the sea so our descent had been over
thirty-five hundred feet since morning. It was very warm. Though the
great body of water lay there now so still, Jamil told us that when the
Turks were using it to transport supplies, fierce storms swept over it,
thunder roared in the hills and over the plains, and giant waves dashed
upon the smooth shore. We looked across the fourteen miles of sea to the
plateau in the hills of Moab and knew that there was no living thing in
it nor on its whole great stretch of fifty miles! Hungrily it swallows
up the rivers and the tiny streams, the Jordan alone pouring millions of
gallons into it every day, but never, never does it send out even a tiny
streamlet. It grants no answer to the plea of the thirsty land that
seems to reach down into it hopefully. We put our hands into the water
four times as heavy as the Atlantic and they were covered with an oily
salty deposit that would not come off until we had scrubbed with hot
water. Suddenly we heard a sound—the bleating of a sheep. It was so
welcome in that dead silence! Beyond the bend in the shoreline was a
tiny house with children and the sheep!

We walked slowly along over the smooth gaily colored little pebbles to
the spot, half a mile beyond, where the car was waiting. But we turned
to look back again and again. The great silent sea held for us the awful
fascination of _death_.

There was a road of a sort across the plain to the Jordan. When the
river is in flood this plain is covered inches deep with ooze, rank
vegetable growths spring up, the brown bushes are green, clouds of
mosquitoes, scorpions, vipers and all manner of crawling things make
their home here for a season; but now there were only long cracks that
crossed and recrossed in the dried mud. Twice our wheels spun round in
pockets of soft gray clay, but small thick boards, a spade and dry sand
helped us out. A turn and we could see the river!

To one who has never studied the geography of Palestine or to whom books
of travel are strangers, that first sight of the Jordan must bring far
greater disappointment than to one in a way prepared for the dark, muddy
stream whose swift current hurries on ceaselessly, gathering silt as it
goes. Within its normal banks it is such a narrow stream! We stopped for
a moment in the house where sweet Turkish coffee and oranges were served
us and where the boats used by fishermen and by tourists who like to row
across to touch the land of Moab lay moored to a tiny wharf. The banks
were steep here and soft willows bent over them. We sat down in the
little boat that swung lazily at its moorings. It seemed the strangest
and the most wonderful of rivers, this little muddy stream! Over it the
great hosts of Israel passed; along its banks John, coming out of the
desert, preached the kingdom of heaven to the multitude; and here came
even Jesus Himself to be baptized in the waters His presence made
sacred. We dipped our bottles carefully into the stream and filled them
with water as all pilgrims do. We listened to the stories of the feast
days when pilgrims come down to the river to worship there; we read the
story of Naaman and understood why the proud leper of the king’s court,
even at the command of the stern prophet, hesitated to bathe in its
waters. We lived in another day. Proud armies marched over the plain
toward Jericho and we could almost hear Joshua’s ringing commands. We
were brought back to our own day suddenly by the sound of a voice, a
very American voice, singing in the distance, “Roll, Jordan, Roll.” We
looked at each other in amazement. After a moment’s silence the voice
rang out again, nearer now:

               “Some day I’m going to murder the bugler!
               Some day you’re going to find him dead!
               I’ll amputate his reveille
               And stamp upon it heavily,
               And spend the rest of my life in bed.”

We climbed out of the boat and up the bank. A man in the early thirties
stood there with a sapling, root and all, in his hand. He was an
American working with the British under a commission for reforestation.
He was most enthusiastic over his work and painted for us a wonderful
picture of the hills, now bare and desolate, and the banks of the river,
with the low scrubby growth, transformed some future day into valuable
fruit and olive orchards, irrigated pastures, great stretches of light
timberland. Jamil shook his head. “There is much talk these days about
the changes that are coming to this land, but we shall see—we shall see
and _then_ we shall believe,” he said. Our friend went into the little
house for food and rest and we stood in silence watching the stream
which artists for centuries have painted, the river which has always
stood for separation, under whose spell poets have written their sad
hymns—watched it rushing on pouring more and more water into the Sea
that is _Dead_.

The dunes, yellow and gray, between which we rode on to Jericho were
round as though a giant hand had played with them, smoothed them over,
and left them there. Twice we passed low stone houses with cisterns of
water cut in deep rock hidden below the surface, and there were oranges
and green things in the garden in the midst of the desert. It was cooler
and the air was soft and balmy. The walls of Jericho—City of
Palms—though now there are none, had indeed fallen, but there was no
fear upon the faces of the people. The once mighty city is now but an
ordinary village of lower class Arabs, with a supply station, a few
shops, and the hotel where British officers live. Traces of recent
battle over the very ground where the men of Joshua had routed the
ancient enemy were all about us. The story of the taking of Jericho from
the Turks by British troops when the river at its flood had to be
bridged by boats and the temperature ran to 120° and more, is as
thrilling, as fascinating, and as triumphant as that of Joshua himself.

Passing through the center of the town, we came to the orange groves.
The air was fragrant with the perfume of thousands of jonquils growing
wild along the edges of the irrigated section. The children offered two
huge bunches for sale and we rejoiced in them. Our driver took twenty
bunches for a friend to sell in Jerusalem. He tucked them away neatly in
the folded top of the car. We bought delicious oranges and our machine
became a chariot of delight. We went out to Elijah’s Spring, whose
waters, made sweet and wholesome by the prophet, were responsible for
the luxuriant flowers and delicious fruit, past the home of Rahab who
had saved the spies in Joshua’s day, stopping for a moment at the spot
where the sycamore tree had sheltered the rich publican Zacchæus when he
determined to see Jesus. It was easy to imagine the consternation that
filled the city when it became known that Jesus had commanded him to
come down because He would be a guest in his house that day—the house of
a _publican_. It was on this road, too, that Bartimæus met Jesus and,
despite the demand of the multitude that he be quiet, continued to cry
aloud until the Healer saw him, opened his eyes and set his soul on fire
with gratitude. How close the multitude must have pressed in those
narrow streets, as driven by curiosity and longing for help, they
followed Him! How often the body and soul of the Master must have cried
out for the shelter of the mountain, the stillness of that waiting
desert where in the night God could come very near with a new message
and new strength for the coming day! It was at times like these, when
half carelessly they pointed out to us the spots where on common days
Jesus passed by, changing forever the lives that He touched, that we
loved Him.

The sun was creeping on toward the horizon. We must turn back toward
Jerusalem. Every foot of the road the driver assured us he knew. He
would leave us in the Inn with the guide if we wished and send for us
early in the morning, but he would get back to Jerusalem. So would we
and he was content. He got all possible speed out of the car. It must
climb back over those thirty-five hundred feet we had come down such a
short time since.

We stopped a moment to peer at the lonely monastery where monks still
live on the Mount of Temptation and pray daily for all who are tempted.
The road which had been so lonely in the morning was stirring with life.
Groups of Arabs on horses and little swift-footed donkeys moved aside to
let us pass. Twice at a signal from a man riding ahead on horseback we
stopped to let a great caravan pass us. The leading camels wore gorgeous
trappings and tinkling bells. Once a camel without cargo, following in
dignified fashion behind two others, stood perfectly still, trembled,
then turned and ran ahead of us. We were amazed to see how swiftly he
ran. In vain the rider of the other camel shouted and called. Had it not
been for a friendly companion, who, coming down the hill, drove his own
camel straight across the path, spoke soothingly to the great beast
while a man on a donkey grasped his chain, he might have led us a chase
all the way to Jerusalem. They did not attempt to take their prisoner
past us in the road but turned off into a deep defile. When we looked
back from the hilltop they were again on the road moving on toward
Jericho. But most of the camels bearing their burdens merely sniffed and
passed us by in scorn.

It grew very cold as we reached the heights and the discarded robes and
coats were welcome. We could see shepherds and sheep seeking places of
shelter. Sometimes we caught glimpses of herds of goats reluctantly
following or plunging ahead silhouetted against a soft violet sky. The
sun set calmly and we missed the blazing glory. Suddenly it was night.
We were glad to be well past the scene of our morning’s mishap and
nearing Jerusalem. When we stopped at the door of the hotel, Jamil gave
a sigh of relief. “We have had a wonderful day,” we said. “We have had a
day of miracles,” was his answer in a solemn, devout tone. Both he and
the driver were most happy a moment later when they received their extra
fee.

Dinner was over for most of the guests, but we were given a warm corner
and more food than it would be possible to eat in many meals. We found
that the entire hotel had joined in Jamil’s sigh of relief when we
returned. There was a snapping wood fire in the little stove and hot
water bottles that made the great curtained beds seem more inviting. The
maid wished us “sleep without dreaming.”

But for a long time, lying there in the darkness, I dreamed with my eyes
wide open. Dreamed of the forty years wandering in the wilderness while
one generation passed and a new one was born. Dreamed of the kings and
the prophets, of David hunted like a wild thing through the desolate
hills and caves, of captives marching across the sands to Babylon.
Dreamed of the Man who, with weary feet, in the heat and the dust
_walked_ about the Jordan Valley, through Jericho, walked up the long,
long hills even to Jerusalem with men and women following, always
_seeking_, only a few sharing. Dreamed of the demand that He made upon
all who did have the courage to share—that they love God—and the
challenge that they love their fellow men as He loved them, ... dreamed
of the day when the challenge would be answered and the other man’s
welfare would become each man’s passion.



                            I GO TO BETHANY


           _I tell you when I looked upon these fields,
           And stony valleys,—through the purple veil
           Of twilight, or what time the Orient sun
           Made shining jewels of the barren rocks,—
           Something within me trembled; for I said:
           This picture once was mirrored in His eyes;
           This sky, that lake, those hills, this loveliness,
           To Him familiar were; this is the way
           To Bethany._
                           —_Richard Watson Gilder._



                            I GO TO BETHANY


One afternoon when we were driving about the busy semi-modern streets
that lie outside the walls of Jerusalem we suggested to Jamil, our
guide, that some afternoon we walk to Bethany. He answered briefly that
it was too far and turned to call our attention to the well-equipped
postoffice, the modern looking shops, the Italian hospital, the
well-built hospices of the French, Italians and Russians which before
the war were thronged at the feasts with devout pilgrims. There was an
atmosphere of western life about the outer city. Signs over some of the
shops looked amazingly like New York’s East Side. Books, pictures and
maps, school supplies, men and boys’ clothing of every sort, girls and
women on the streets dressed in European fashion, together with Cairo
papers in French and English, helped us to see the trend of the new,
growing city without the walls. The streets were wide and well kept. The
church of St. George was an artistic, beautiful reminder of the reason
why the word of the capture of the Holy City had been received with
solemn joy in every English household. We passed the dignified Damascus
Gate and the Sheep Gate before which camels knelt grunting and little
groups of sheep huddled close each around its shepherd; lorries passed
us on the road, then a motor taking General Storrs to confer with the
High Commissioner on important business. We stopped to visit the British
High School for girls, doing its work against great odds in a former
German orphanage poorly equipped for school work. The girls of twelve
nationalities with most excellent _ésprit de corps_ were studying there;
the principal, a real educator, formerly head of the girls’ school at
Beirut had wise, far-seeing plans for the future of the school and,
through it, for the welfare of the city. As I listened to them I wished
that my purse were well filled that I might make some of them possible
now in the day of crisis when the whole future of Palestine is in the
making. Surely there are new paths through old Palestine.

When we again entered the city through the Jaffa Gate it seemed
centuries older than when we had left it, so great was the contrast
between the air, sunshine, and breathing spaces outside the walls and
the narrow, dark, and crowded little cobble-stoned alleys, shared by man
and beast, where no full ray of sun ever shines. Only the flat roofs of
the houses save the people within the city from life in a semi-dungeon.
It was this plunge back into the city of age-old days and deeds that
made us long the more to walk leisurely to Bethany and so, on Saturday
night, we told Jamil we should not need him until Monday morning at
nine.

We left the city just after noon on Sunday by St. Stephen’s Gate,
stopping reverently for a few moments close by the steep hillside to
think of the brave words of the young martyr as he looked into the hard
faces of his accusers and his wonderful address, recalling to them each
step of their history and the reason for each great defeat. We
remembered the daring words: “Which of the prophets have not your
fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the
coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and
murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and
have not kept it.” In fierce anger they ground their teeth and hissed
their reproaches at him. But he did not even see them. Suddenly, looking
up to heaven, they heard him saying, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man on the right hand of God.” It was enough. Seizing
him, they rushed him through the narrow street and cast him out of the
city. They laid their garments at the feet of a keen young man named
Saul, who watched with approval as they hurled down upon their helpless,
suffering victim the jagged stones of the hillside. But above the noise
of their mutterings of revenge the young man Saul heard the words of
prayer: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And again, “Lord, lay not their
sin to their charge.” And Stephen died—but Saul never forgot.

From St. Stephen’s Gate the smooth, broad road makes a steep descent
down to the valley of the brook Kedron, then it climbs again around the
shoulder of Olivet, where we stopped to look back at the city with the
dome of the mosque of Omar glistening in the sun. The air was clear and
the hills, with the light, shifting clouds above them, changed color
every moment. Jamil had told us that the hills about Jerusalem bore
always “a luxuriant crop of stones” and his words seemed true indeed, a
crop made even more abundant by the heavy shell-fire of the months past.
Still, in little square patches between the ridges, men were plowing.
One plowman had a thin, patient ox and a donkey together under what
seemed a heavy yoke. Here and there thick vines leaned against sunny
walls as in the days when Jesus used them for the text of His great
sermon “I—the vine: ye—the branches. Without me, ye can do nothing.”

It was when we walked out a little from the main road to Bethany to look
over into a deep valley that we saw a carpenter at work in his sunny
yard, making yokes for the oxen. He worked deftly with his clumsy tools
at his primitive bench. The court-yard was swept clean, save for the
corner where the shavings fell. There were green things growing in a
garden. After a moment a woman appeared in the doorway. She looked
curiously at us but answered our smile. “Ing-leesh?” she queried. We
shook our heads. “American,” we said very distinctly. The man at the
bench turned quickly. A shower of words in the Hebrew tongue and a
motion to wait answered us. The woman hurried into the house and was
back in a moment with a photograph in her hand—a man, a woman, two
children. The photograph was taken in _New York_! She pointed proudly to
the word. As we were about to leave, being limited to conversation by
means of nods, smiles and gestures only, a boy came from the rear of the
house. He had great, dark, dreamy eyes, his head was a mass of thick
curls, in his hands he had two irregular blocks of wood which he gave to
his father. He smiled at us shyly, but turned to look again with frank
interest and curiosity when his mother repeated the word American.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from this picture of the carpenter
with his little son and the mother at the door, but there was no excuse
for lingering. We could only hope that this young son of a carpenter
might sometime know the story of that other Son, of whose early days in
the village of Nazareth he served so forcibly to remind us.

[Illustration:

  It was here that He came to talk with one who seemed to understand—and
    there were so few.]

It is not a long walk to Bethany, a little over four miles they told us,
and we soon saw the low gray stone houses with their roofs of mud not
far ahead. As we approached the village, a veritable host of children
rushed to meet us, calling, with a score of accents, words supposed to
be English. At first we covered our ears then motioned to one child to
speak. We learned that they were offering their services as guides. The
moment we appeared to understand, the babel began again. “Mary and
Martha,” they called. “Simon-Lazarus, I will show.” When we spoke they
listened, but only for a moment. “You cannot all be our guides,” I said.
“If you all follow we will go back to Jerusalem and no one will have
_back-sheesh_—not one. We shall not look at the house of Mary and
Martha.” The tallest among them, a lad of fourteen, he told me
afterward, evidently repeated our words and he emphasized them with a
flourish of a stout cane which he carried. He showed us a soiled card
with a name written upon it which he said was his. We chose him and one
other guide, a little girl of six who had pointed to herself proudly,
saying, “I know—I know, Mary—Martha—Lazarus.” At a word from a villager
passing on his donkey the children scattered and it was a great relief.

Our young guide knew the method perfectly. Driving the dogs out of the
way with his cane, he led us up a steep path to the house of a man who
was a dwarf, badly crippled. He was to take us to the tomb of Lazarus
which he did, when we had paid the piastres he asked. He insisted upon
telling us the story before we went down the long winding stone steps
worn smooth by the passing of men’s feet for centuries. He told it in
very graphic fashion. We had only the dripping candles to light our way.
Following him, we could hear his call at each turn, “Have care! Have
care!” We decided not to make the entire descent of sixty steps but
contented ourselves with looking down from the fortieth step into the
black pit below. The air and sunshine were most welcome when we climbed
back and, giving more piastres for the shepherds’ slings the old dwarf
took from his pocket, we left him happy. We stood for a few moments at
the entrance to the tomb, thinking of all that spot had meant in the
centuries since it was recorded that, in warm human sympathy with the
suffering sisters, “Jesus wept.”

We stood a long time on the wall of the ruins that covered the spot
where the home of the three friends of Jesus had stood. It looked out
over the valley on one side and toward Jerusalem on the other. Our
guides, big and little, sat down on the stones and were silent. Nowhere
in our journeys through Palestine did we trouble our souls over the
arguments of men as to exact spots and identical places. If not to the
place of this ruined wall, then to some spot near by Jesus came. Came to
receive rest for His body and comfort for His soul. Came to forget for
the moment Jerusalem with its noise and confusion, its need and its
hate. Came to talk with one who seemed to understand and sympathize—and
there were so few. What it would mean to us today if we could know the
many things about which Jesus talked that have never been recorded for
us! We remembered that it was from Bethany over the hills through which
we had come that Jesus made his way to Jerusalem on the day when He
found the colt and rode triumphantly through the streets to the temple,
amidst the shouted hosannas and waving palms that filled the Pharisees
with jealous anger. It was here that he may have spent the nights of
that last crowded week until the night of the Supper when he sought the
Garden. One could feel, standing there looking toward Jerusalem,
something of the agonizing sorrow that swept over that household when
they learned of the trial that was a mockery of justice and the
condemnation of their beloved friend to death on a cross.

When we were ready to leave, the young guide asked if we would like to
go into one of the houses and see the upper room where a guest may
sleep. We hesitated to walk in this fashion into a home but he explained
that we were sure of a welcome and a little _back-sheesh_ would pay.

The upper room was a dean and quiet spot. There were small woven rugs, a
cot with handmade covers spread over it. A bed roll stood in the corner.
There was a heavy metal basin for washing and two lamps, ages old,
filled with oil. The window was open toward the road that leads to
Jericho. It was a place where one might rest his soul. “Many guests came
to this room before the war,” said the boy, “the family is large. Some
live far away in Damascus. They come for the feasts. But not since the
war—there is not money and some have died.” The _back-sheesh_ was
accepted gratefully with many words of thanks by the two women below—one
very young with a baby in her arms.

Our next stop was at the spot where once had stood the home of Simon the
leper where a woman did the Great Teacher high honor as she broke her
very precious box of alabaster and, in an abandonment of love and
gratitude, poured the fragrant perfume over His head. We could hear the
petulant voices of those who complained because the ointment had not
been sold for a good price and the money given to the poor. But Jesus
understood.

“This is all for Bethany,” said the guide of fourteen years. “It is not
large and it is poor.” We did not need his words to make us realize it.
The little girl who had called herself _guide_ so proudly had not spoken
a word, but, as she had climbed over the steep places, had waited
patiently, had listened intently to the boy, and had given us at every
turn a smile which we remembered for many a day, she had earned her fee.
When she received it she ran madly toward a house near by and
disappeared. The boy walked with us courteously to the edge of the
village. In response to our query as to where he had learned English he
said, “Off a merchant I worked for since I was six. He lives just
outside the city.” The “off” with which he began his sentence sounded as
though the merchant might at one time have lived in America.

At the outskirts of the village, where we had met them as we entered,
were the children. They ran beside us shrieking “_back-sheesh_” and
holding out their very dirty little hands. We shook our heads
vehemently. It meant nothing. Then we stopped and reminded them that we
had paid our two guides and all the people who had helped us, but that
they had done nothing for us. “We are poor,” said a girl with a baby in
her arms as though that were reason enough for her demand. I shall never
forget the thin face, the piercing black eyes of a boy, perhaps ten.
“America rich,” he said, “plendy, plendy, _plendy_ money.” There was the
deepest reproof in his voice.

“Some people are _very_ poor,” I said, “the children cry for bread. In
the winter they are very cold. There are many very poor people in
America.”

“No,” said the boy stoutly, and I saw that he did not believe me, but he
repeated what I had said to the others. It was very hard to refrain from
giving them money, but we remembered the request that we should not help
to train a new generation of beggars and steeled our hearts. When we
started on again a few accompanied us but we paid no attention and one
by one they dropped out, having followed us almost a mile. Some said
good-bye cheerfully, others made gestures of disgust. One lone lad still
walked patiently beside us. He had great hollows under his eyes and, now
that we could see him separated from the others, we noticed how very
thin and pale he was, how ragged and dirty. In his arms he carried a
baby whose eyes were in a pitiable condition, one so swollen that it was
entirely closed. He said faintly in a weak, tired voice,
“_back-sheesh—back-sheesh_” over and over. He looked as though in dogged
determination he would follow us back to the city gates. Unable to
resist the pleading we yielded, gave him some coins, watched the light
come into his eyes, saw him turn and make his way slowly back—one of
these little ones who so easily perish while waiting for the coming of
the kingdom of God—the kingdom that Jesus said was _theirs_. It may be
that the school now being opened in the little village will help to
bring them their rights.

When we told Jamil next day of the children he said, “Ah, that is why
you should have me! The guide saves you. You should not go alone, and
walking you cannot get away.”

“Where are the parents of these children,” we asked.

“Poor,” he said slowly, “very, very poor. Always poor and the war has
made it very hard. It will be better now, but they have learned bad
habits.”

A turn in the road and the village was entirely out of sight. We
overtook a flock of sheep and for a time walked slowly behind them. The
bleating of the lambs who seemed weary sounded like the voices of the
children. The shepherd turned into a narrow path between the hills,
called in clear, urging cadences, and the sheep followed him. We climbed
up from the road and sat on the rocks under gnarled old trees. A tower
on the mount of Olives stood out clear against the sky. We read aloud of
the Holy City from the words of the prophets and the Psalms of David.

Night would soon steal down over the valleys, so reluctantly we moved on
past a cluster of tiny stone houses, past the cemetery of the Hebrews,
when, flying up the hill at reckless speed, shaking us rudely back from
the past into the present, came a motor rushing toward Bethany. Bethany
that seemed to be out of the world of motors! It was the doctor’s car
from the hospital, they told us when we described it. Just before the
road drops abruptly into the valley we stopped to look again at the
City. There was always something strangely gripping in the sight. The
words of Jesus wrung from Him as, in deep compassion that was agony, He
looked at the City, feeling the weight of its sin, its pain, its need,
came back to us—“O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets and
stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy
children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
and ye would not!” We hurried on through St. Stephen’s Gate.

On the hills it was light but in the narrow streets with their gateways
and buttresses it was quite dark. We took out our faithful flashlights,
and with our canes to help over the shadowed steps went rapidly up to
the hotel that stood as a strong and sheltering friend in the faint glow
that still lingered in the western sky.

“Not much in Bethany,” they said to us at the desk as they had said of
Bethlehem. “Too far to walk for the few stone houses and the ruins.”

How could they know what we saw in Bethany? How could they know the
overwhelming sympathy that surged in upon us as we stood on the walls of
“the house of Mary and Martha,” looked upon the hills and valleys He saw
in their purpling shadows, thought how much harder the friendship and
fellowship of that home must have made it to remain true to the message
that was to take Him to Jerusalem to die, thought of the short day of
triumph, waving palms and lavish praise, thought of his youth and his
glorious undaunted soul!

No, they did not know what we saw in Bethany.



                    I GO OUT TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES


             _He turneth a wilderness into a pool of water,
               And a dry land into watersprings
             And there he maketh the hungry to dwell,
             That they may prepare a city for habitation,
             And sow fields and plant vineyards._


  _Instead of the thorn shall come up the figtree; and instead of the
  briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to Jehovah for
  a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off._

  _The latter glory of this place shall be greater than the former,
  and in this place will I give peace, saith Jehovah._

                                                         —_The Bible._



                    I GO OUT TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES


Before we met our carriage at the Damascus Gate to ride out to the
farthest point on the Mount of Olives we walked through David Street to
the Wailing Place of the Jews. Every book we had studied warned us of
the unspeakable condition of the narrow filthy streets in this Jewish
quarter of Jerusalem the Golden. But they were all written before
British arms had captured the Holy City and, even in these short months,
made it in so many ways a new Jerusalem. In the windows of the shops we
had seen the quaint pictures of the water-carrier with his leather bag,
but not one had we seen in the streets of the city. The menace of the
water bag with its myriad germs is already a thing of the past. For the
first time in all its long history, under rulers of many great faiths
and names, the City has water, plenty of water, fresh, clear, safe. What
that simple statement means can be appreciated only by those who know by
experience what a priceless boon water is to cities that have little.
One could change the whole record and history of Oriental cities with
water systems!

When the history of Palestine in the war is fully recorded, one of the
most thrilling chapters will be written about the lead pipes now
standing boldly in the city streets two feet above the ground, capped by
very modern shining faucets. The girls and women who come to them with
their water jars beamed with joy as they watched the silver stream
pouring out in the sun. For four hundred years the Turks ruled in
Jerusalem and in all that time no attempt was made to establish a water
system although more than once the inhabitants were taxed with the
promise of water that was some day to come. In a little over two months
the British engineers had brought running water into every street of the
city. New paths are so rapidly making their way through old Palestine!

For its water Jerusalem had depended upon winter rains to fill its great
cisterns. The houses had underground reservoirs, some of which had not
been cleaned in more than twenty years. At the Mosque of Omar was a
large reservoir where the water from the springs about Solomon’s Pools
flowed down through a great aqueduct built by the Romans when Herod
ruled over the Jews. The searching engineers had found springs in the
hills with fresh, pure water running to waste and, at the rate of
fourteen thousand gallons an hour, it is now pumped up to the top of a
high hill, run by gravity down through a long pipe-line to a great
reservoir that has been built and carefully protected on the outskirts
of the city. Direct lines take this pure water to the hospitals and into
the city streets. Despite the shrinking of the population, caused by the
evacuation of the Turk, more than ten times as much water has been used
as in previous years, which silences the oft-repeated statement that the
people would not appreciate the water if they had it. We were interested
to learn that some of the pipes had been sent to Egypt to be forwarded
for use in Palestine by the American Red Cross Commission after we
entered the war. But the Commission found that the need for water which
we had anticipated had been practically answered by the Royal Engineers.

One is deeply impressed by the change in the record of contagious
diseases. The reduction in cholera, smallpox, typhoid, and typhus is
remarkable. Even under the sound of booming guns, children’s welfare
bureaus were organized, lessons in health given, nurses trained and
kitchens opened to provide food for the babies, the sick and the old.
The workers of the American Red Cross deserve and receive full gratitude
for their enthusiastic and intelligent work in and about the City in
those days immediately following its surrender.

The people on David Street seemed to have lost something of the fear
that writers of the past saw in their haunted faces. It may be the fact
that now they are free. The old-time pressure and petty persecution by
corrupt officials is past. The Turkish prison no longer yawns
threateningly. A trader may go unmolested about his work. The heavy
taxation demanded in the past by a succession of officers, from the
least to the greatest, has disappeared. Contentment not known for untold
generations reigns in humble homes.

[Illustration:

  From the brow of the Mount of Olives where they lay sleeping under
    white crosses—these also “fling to us the torch.”]

It may be for this reason that on both occasions of our visit to the
Wailing Place there were but few present and they were old men, old
women, and some very young children. Young manhood was not there, it was
hard at work. Many of the older boys and girls were in school. The
leader of the group chanting the Lamentations that morning was an old
white-haired patriarch with eyes of fire. He was the only one of the
group that did not interrupt his wailing to look at us. One tall,
strong, impressive specimen of womanhood moved along the line to quiet
some women whose wailing had become a piercing shriek or to straighten
out a child who irreverently chased a playmate up and down the path. The
guide said that her name was Miriam and that she had a son with much
money in England. Erect and fine, forceful and devout, she reminded us
of that other Miriam who led her people to victory. Here and there one
saw women’s strong faces stained with tears and marked with suffering.
They leaned against the foundation stones of the old Temple area in an
abandonment of emotion and sorrow. Near the end of the line was a very
old man leaning tremblingly upon his staff. Jamil said that he was
repeating one phrase over and over. “O God, the heathen are come into
thine inheritance!” His voice was bitter and full of anguish. A great
wave of pity swept over us for these and all they have suffered, and yet
survived. Against those massive walls of the past, Babylonian, Assyrian,
and Egyptian had hurled their hosts and battered them to earth. They had
risen again only to meet the Roman and the Saracen, the brave Crusader
and the unspeakable Turk until in very truth they lay “in heaps.” Piled
one above another, the various cities lie waiting until the hammer and
spade of the excavator shall open up all their secrets for us. Buried
deep down in the earth is that early city of the Jebusites, over it the
glorious city of Solomon, the city heroically brought again into being
by Nehemiah, the city of Herod which Titus hammered into ruins and
Hadrian rebuilt, above it the city of the Saracens built after their
wave of conquest, the city of the Crusaders, and now the city of the
Turks, standing boldly above the ruins of the long past. It stands, the
protected property of a new conqueror who loves it, whose army chose the
hardest road to victory to save it from the marks of war, whose people
have come into it with knowledge that they may overcome its ignorance, a
conqueror who bears no malice, who is tolerant of the Jew and the
Mohammedan though he worships at the Cross which they hate.

As if reading our thoughts, the guide said quietly, “Some day it will be
only the wall for the wailing that we shall see. There will be no more
need for wailing, and the children will forget. So the young prophets
among the Jews say in the markets. We shall see.”

We walked through a section of the Temple area and out past the Austrian
Hospice through the Damascus Gate where, according to agreement, the
carriage waited.

The road out to the spot where the Mount of Olives drops abruptly to the
plain has been repaired, stray shell holes filled in and a large section
of new road built since that wonderful day when the last line of Turks
were driven from the position they thought secure. The air was as clear
as an October day at home and the shining city “compact together” seemed
substantial and strong. It was along the high ridge of Olivet that, in
the pressure of the days when relief workers toiled twelve and fifteen
hours without respite, they came to renew their strength. In the home of
the Greek Patriarch more than one strong soul, overcome for the moment
by the ceaseless stream of dirty, hopeless, despairing human things that
he must strive to save from the wreckage of war, found, in the white
moonlight sifting down over the hill, in the kindly stars, in the
silence and in sacred memories, courage to attempt again tasks that had
been called impossible.

We had been gazing so steadily at the city that when the driver suddenly
stopped we turned in surprise. There on a gently sloping stretch of
ground, close to the road at the left, stood row after row of crosses
over the resting places of Scot and Londoner, Welshman and Irishman,
Indian and Anzac who had paid for the Holy City with his life. On some
of the crosses fresh green garlands were hanging, and on one a wreath
with English holly.

We got down from our carriage and walked slowly along, looking now at
the crosses and now at the place where in agony of soul Christ had
prayed for the strength to meet the test of Calvary that has made the
Cross forever the symbol which shall mark the spots on earth most sacred
to us. These lying out on the hillside had also been to Calvary.

A little farther on in the road we passed men in the British uniform.
They had survived the terrible test of those wind-swept hills with the
rain falling in torrents, the benumbing cold, the soft, thick, gray mud,
the night in the open with no shelter save a little wall of stones built
up with care only to be blown over by a sudden vicious blast, with
little food and only the ammunition that could reach them on the backs
of the pack donkeys. It was through this they had won that peaceful city
lying contentedly there in the sun, even the shining dome of its
Mohammedan Mosque unharmed.

The German hospice, Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, lies out on this road. It
is exceedingly well built and untouched by shell fire. Although the Turk
utterly demolished the mosque of Nebi Samwill and shot away its stately
minaret, he turned no gun on this that was German property. Even when
his airmen, flying over Olivet, knew that an enemy signal station had
been set up in the garden of the hospice no shot fell upon it. “This
house,” said Jamil, “is like a German castle on the inside. The tower
was built higher than any tower on the Mount, the trees set out with
care. The picture of the Saviour is painted in the chapel and the
pictures of the Kaiser and the Kaiserin are on the long wall. It was
common talk at the beginning of the war that the Crown Prince should
live here when he became King in Palestine. Now it is the Headquarters
for the British Army.... It is the Will of God!” he added solemnly after
a moment. We took a picture of the hospice with two British Tommies
standing at the gate.

We had to leave our carriage and walk to the point where the Greek
Church tower looks down over the stretch of rugged upland crossed by
many a wadi, over the walled-in level spaces where green things were
growing, over the plains of the Jordan and the Dead Sea so blue in the
distance, away to the far mountains of Moab. It was a wonderful picture
at which one could look for long hours and come back to enjoy again and
again. It was from this point of vantage that the relief workers watched
the taking of Jericho. In the grove we found the “husks that swine did
eat,” lying about on the ground. Jamil picked one of the long brown pods
from the tree and under the pressure of his urging we tasted it. It was
sweeter than sugar cane, nauseatingly sweet. It took no imagination to
understand why one would accept it as food only as a last resort. In
this grove we found the hyssop which the women at the hospice use both
as medicine and for the whitening of their clothes. In a sunny sheltered
spot we found violets, although we were wearing our warmest wraps.

Jamil sat down on a stone to talk with a workman while we, wandering
about on the slopes of the hill, found a warm sheltered spot looking
toward Mount Moriah. In all the days that we were in Jerusalem we could
not fully sense the fact that the Christian was now free to visit all
the sacred places, that the Temple area was open to him, that he might
enter the sacred Mosque of Omar which once it had been death to enter.
_The Turk had gone!_ We took out the Book and read the old instructions
for the building of the Tabernacle, read the orders for the building of
Solomon’s temple and the majestic words of its dedication when at last
the building was finished:—“and Solomon stood before the Altar and
said—‘O Jehovah, God of Israel, there is no God like thee in heaven
above or on the earth beneath; who keepest covenants in loving kindness
with thy servants that walk before thee with all their hearts.... But
will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold the heaven and the
heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I
have builded!... When thy people Israel are smitten down before the
enemy because they have sinned against thee; if they turn again to thee
and confess thy name and pray and make supplication unto thee in this
house then hear thou in heaven and forgive thy people Israel and bring
them again unto the land which thou gavest to their fathers.’” Of
Solomon’s Temple scarce a vestige remains, yet Israel again is returning
to the land of its fathers. We read of the visits of Jesus to the new
temple which, great as it was, had so little of the glory of the old.
How it must have thrilled Him, a little country boy from the village of
Nazareth, when He saw it for the first time at the great feast. He seems
to have had no fear, as with all simplicity He pressed near to the great
doctors of learning, listening eagerly and asking keen questions, the
keenest questions that can be asked—those that leap from the alert and
hungry mind of a boy of twelve.

And we read of that other day when He heard the quarrelings and
cursings, saw the gross wickedness of the bargainings of the
money-changers and those who bought and sold the sacrifices, and cried
aloud in words of burning denunciation, “My house shall be called of all
nations the house of prayer but ye have made it a den of thieves!”

Little wonder that the scribes and Pharisees looked aghast at the crowds
that pressed to hear as He taught daily in the temple, or that they
demanded by whose authority He did these things and asked each other
helplessly what they could do, since “the people were very attentive to
Him,” and “the whole world had gone after Him.” In the temple courts how
keen were His answers to their clever questioning designed to condemn
Him, so keen that after awhile none dared ask Him any more questions.
Yet when the teaching was over and, leaving the half-hostile,
half-admiring crowd, He went out to the Mount of Olives to pray—then He
knew that He must die.

It all seemed very real as we sat looking down upon the City. So real
that we dreaded to read of the days before Him, of the hard way that the
rulers of the synagogue, because of their jealous conservatism, the
desire to make their own places secure, the fear lest the people should
follow Him as prophet and leave them as priests, had already in their
hearts condemned Him to go. So we closed the Book.

Leaving the carriage again at the Damascus Gate we wandered back past
the convents, through Christian Street. The city was becoming a very
live thing to us. The children smiled at us as we passed through the
narrow arcade to our hotel. Oranges and dainty soft spring flowers from
the valley were in our room.

“I have lived thousands of years today,” said my friend. “I have been
fighting all the battles from the days of King David to the days of King
George and I am weary.” I smiled in sympathy, for one does not live in
days or years in Palestine but in centuries. The march of events over
broken cobblestones, past walls crumbling with age, catches one in its
onward sweep and leaves him breathless as he hurries on from what has
been to what is, and from what is to what is to be.

We took up our American mail. The steady tread of history’s myriad
marchers halted for a moment. The clippings from the papers told us of
the wedding of a girl whom we love. Across the top of the clipping was
written in the girl’s own hand, “Unspeakable happiness. The greatest day
of my life!” Names of guests, the most minute details as to flowers and
gowns followed. In another clipping we read of the divorce of a girl we
had known in school. She had been married twenty years. I remembered the
account of her wedding. In the hall we heard laughter. Marie was
listening to the extravagant compliments of Alphonse. A letter from a
boy of eleven asked for stamps from Egypt and Palestine. “I want them
more than anything in the world,” he wrote. The next letter brought a
clipping making passing reference in six short lines to a critical
misunderstanding in the Far East. While we were reading it, a woman came
to tell us a story of great sorrow and desperate need. The wild storm of
human wrath and revenge that swept over Russia had left her, who had
never known anything but love, happiness and plenty, stranded, utterly
alone, with not even a ruble of her vast estates.

It is a confusing world. Great events and small jostle each other along
its highways. Wrapped securely about with affairs of self, old and young
fail to see the momentous hours of human destiny as they pass—pass so
swiftly, to leave them on some future day dumb with surprise, aghast at
the significance of the things which, having eyes, they saw not and,
having ears, they heard not. It is a most confusing and perplexing
world, but alas for him who does not love it, pity for him who does not
believe in it, shame upon him who will not share the task of saving it.

Tomorrow would be Sunday and we would go to the Garden.



                           I GO TO THE GARDEN


               _Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
               Who talks of scheme and plan?
               The Lord is God! He needeth not
               The poor device of man._

               _I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
               Ye tread with boldness shod;
               I dare not fix with mete and bound
               The Love and Power of God._

               _Ye praise His Justice; even such
               His pitying love I deem:
               Ye seek a King; I fain would touch
               The robe that hath no seam._

               _Ye see the curse which overbroods
               A world of pain and loss;
               I hear our Lord’s Beatitudes
               His prayer upon the Cross._
                               —_John G. Whittier._



                           I GO TO THE GARDEN


Light clouds hung over the city that Sunday morning when we looked out
at the tower of David, one of the oldest monuments of Jerusalem,
standing directly across the open space in front of our balcony. It
still looks the part it long played as a watch-tower and a place of
refuge and strong defense. The people call it the Citadel, and until the
coming of the British it served as a garrison for Turkish soldiers.
During our first days in Jerusalem we had walked about Mount Zion, had
read of the various controversies waged over exact locations, had gone
into the House of Caiaphas, the House of Annas, and had looked at the
upper room. They may or may not have been the exact spots made tragic or
sacred by that last week of the Great Life. It did not matter to us. The
stone courtyards, the little chapels, the marks of Crusaders’ crosses,
the burial stones made us conscious indeed of the triumphs and tragedies
of men and nations that had written themselves from that hilltop into
the history of Palestine and so into the making of the world. It was
very easy, standing in that upper room, bare now save for an ancient
picture, to imagine the long table, the couches, the reclining
disciples. One is almost overwhelmed as he realizes the effect of that
simple supper of bread and wine upon the characters of succeeding
generations of men. What breaks in the ranks of Christendom the varied
interpretations of its significance have made! To what heights of
spiritual power, to what depths of shame, sorrow and repentance has it
led those who, following His request, have celebrated it in remembrance
of Him. In wonderful cathedrals, in rude chapels, in the lonely spots of
earth, in the jungle, in the desert, on the islands of the sea, in the
hospitals, in prison, on the fields of war kneeling before improvised
altars within sight of the no man’s land which tomorrow would be their
graves, men have heard the words: “As oft as ye eat this bread and drink
this wine—”

How intensely He struggled, in those hours in the upper room, to make
them understand that He loved them, to lead them to a comprehension of
the meaning of service, to help them to accept the great commission His
death would leave them to fulfil.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, Underwood & Underwood_

  Out there on the wind-swept hills, without priest or altar, we could
    better understand the words of the Book.]

We could almost hear the voice of our Lord saying: “Behold the hour
cometh, yea is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own
and shall leave me alone: yet—I am not alone because the Father is with
me.

“These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In
the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. _I have
overcome the world._”

It was easy to see Peter standing by the fire in the place which they
showed to us and to hear the cowardly words, “I never knew him,” but
easier still, as though a beam of light had fallen upon a dark picture,
to hear Jesus saying, “Tell my disciples _and Peter_.... Peter, lovest
thou me?... Peter, feed my sheep.”

From the background of Mount Zion we went to the Garden, not to the
formal garden of Latin or Greek, with their chapels, their neat little
gardens, their oranges and their olive trees planted about with fragrant
flowers and green grass, though they are very beautiful, terraced there
upon the steep sloping hillside. We went instead to the Armenian Garden,
kept as nature made it, a wall with the vine leaning over it, a fallen
trunk covered with doll moss, and the olive trees, large and small, gray
green with twisted boughs ages old, grass as in a meadow, with lilies of
the field nodding here and there in sunny spaces, though it was still
winter. A soft mist hung about the hill and settled in low lines over
the Garden. In one of the trees, hugging a branch, was a tiny gray bird.
We could hear its song in the silence.

The friend who had come with us had been often in the Garden. He told us
of the beautiful service of the Relief Workers here on Easter morning,
of the night after Allenby entered Jerusalem when the workers filled
with joy over the manner of the victory came to this sacred spot to pray
in gratitude and for strength for the long wearying days of toil which
lay ahead. He told us of the Armenian girl, kneeling early one morning
in the damp grass, trying to repeat Gethsemane’s prayer. She was a
graduate of the American Woman’s College, was teaching in a girls’ high
school when deportation orders came, and from then until her rescue had
been an Arab’s slave in his dirty tent.

It was very still. The walls of the city shut out its sounds, and it was
too early for regular traffic along the road to Bethany. A British Tommy
climbed over the wall and sat upon a great rock under a gnarled old
tree, his hat in his hand. Pictures of the old masters painted on walls
of cathedrals, hanging in great galleries, hymns tender and sweet that
had thrilled the souls of thousands, poetry that had comforted man in
his deepest hours of need, shadowy forms of Crusaders who had dared the
perils of sea and land, hunger and thirst and the swords of the enemy,
the monk, the pilgrim, the student searching for truth:—all these passed
before us under the olive trees and went out into the mist.

Suddenly the day seemed to fade and that night of centuries ago came
stealing into the Garden. Kneeling there under the olive trees, we saw
Love make its supreme sacrifice and were not ashamed of the overwhelming
emotion that stirred our souls to greater depths than ever had been
touched before. We read the words softly—“if possible—if
possible—nevertheless thy will be done.” The rest of the picture was not
so hard to look upon for He had triumphed. He rose from His prayer a
_Conqueror_.

There was more than one grassy hollow near the sheltering wall where the
disciples might have slept in the open, as did many at the time of the
Passover. Regretful, He wakened them. The Roman soldiers with staves and
smoking torches were coming down over the hill. His doom was sealed.
What the law gave them no right to do, misunderstanding, cunning, and
craft had done. Judas kissed him. We read the rest of the story from a
little book that made it very plain.[1] Then we prayed, but not with
words—there were no words.

Footnote 1:

  _By an Unknown Disciple_—Hodder and Stoughton.

On the little bridge that crosses over the Kedron to the Bethany road we
stood for a long time looking back, loathe to leave. We remembered the
white crosses of yesterday standing in long rows over there on the other
side of the mount. He was not alone in the Garden! With Him there had
gathered through the centuries an understanding multitude, young and
loving life as did He, who had met their own Gethsemanes and gone out
from them bravely to die.

Again we went through St. Stephen’s Gate and along the path where the
Roman guards had led their prisoner. We stopped at Pilate’s Hall. Like a
king indeed he met the false testimony of his accusers, the cynical
questions of Pilate, the jesting soldiers who had seen many a man
condemned to die but none who met the madness of a multitude that cried
“Crucify! Crucify!” with such dignity and calm. No wonder Rousseau cried
aloud as he studied the story, “Socrates died like a philosopher, but
Jesus died like a God!” With what ardent devotion have the great artists
of the past attempted to paint for us those scenes. So vivid were they
as we stood there in Jerusalem, looking up at the tower of Antonius
where Jesus suffered the scourging, that their reality pierced our
souls.

When the fickle crowd left the hall shouting curses as they had shouted
hosannas, they moved along the narrow street which still bears the name
Via Dolorosa.

Opposite the Pretorium is a convent. In it are orphans and stray waifs
picked up about Palestine. The ravages of war have added to the usual
number and the place is crowded. On this Sunday they were at service,
and the clean happy faces as they sang made us feel that it was because
of the Sorrowful Way over which He had walked that they were sheltered
and fed. Although intended for Jews, Turk and Armenian, Jew and Gentile
sat together in the Chapel of Love and Forgiveness. It is under this
convent, many feet below the level of the present street that one finds
bits of the old Roman pavement over which the multitude, curious, cruel,
mocking, followed Him to the place of crucifixion.

Each spot along the Via Dolorosa is marked—the place where the Master
took up His cross, the turn in the narrow street where in answer to the
tears and prayers of the women He said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep
not for me, but weep for yourself and your children,” the spot where,
staggering from weakness, He fell beneath His cross and Simon lifted it
and carried it to the hill of Death, dumbly sharing the Saviour’s pain.
At each place of suffering as we passed, we saw men and women praying
and making the sign of the cross. All men walked silently.

Via Dolorosa, since the coming of the British, is scrupulously clean.
The houses of stone with beautiful doorways and old carvings on the
doorposts make a solid unbroken wall on either side, and very early the
street is quite dark. Narrow and not even a mile in length, it stands
out in the memory above all the great highways of the world.

We did not follow the narrow streets to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
where reverent worshipers were at that moment kneeling before the tomb,
or kissing the stone upon which are the marks of the three crosses. It
seemed incredible to us at first that this small church could cover both
the spot which was called Calvary and the tomb in the garden of Joseph
of Arimathea. Within the church are the chapels of the Greeks, the
Romans, the Armenians and the Copts. In each are beautiful shrines with
very precious lamps studded with jewels, lamps that burn in honor of
each of the four Christian groups. Once there were four great doors of
entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but so frequent were the
quarrels of those coming to worship that these doors were closed leaving
only one way of entrance. The key to this door is still held by a
Mohammedan according to the command of General Allenby, in memory of the
fact that the Caliph Omar spared and continually protected this Church.
Priceless jewels are hidden within it, the gifts of Pilgrims from every
land. Its treasury is the richest in the world. Jamil saw it when it was
shown to the former German Emperor for whom he interpreted, but could
never find it again, so devious were the ways that led to it. The
Kaiser’s gift, presented as with impressive ceremony he knelt to pray,
was of great value—in gold.

But it was not to this church of the Holy Sepulchre with its wonderful
shrines, its most sacred associations reaching back into the long past,
filled with memories of devout men and women, rich and great, poor and
lowly, young and strong, weak and old, who had reverently worshiped
before the rent in the rock, the place where the soldiers parted His
garments, the tomb in the solid stone down in the very bowels of the
earth, worn smooth as glass by the feet of pilgrims who, like Peter and
John, must stoop to enter it, and Golgotha, reached by winding steps cut
in the rock and leading up almost to the roof of the church—it was not
this place which we sought as we came from the garden of Gethsemane,
following Him along the Sorrowful Way. It was out on the hills beyond
the Damascus Gate to the spot called Gordon’s Calvary that we went, not
because we cared to enter into all the reasons why many believe it to be
the place of suffering, rather than the other, but because out there on
the wind-swept rocks under a darkening sky, with a garden in the little
valley and the tombs cut in solid rock, their “great stones” lying
near—out there with no priest and no altars it was easier to read the
words of the Book and try to understand them.

It was on this Mount of Calvary, looking down upon the city, that there
came to us an overwhelming sense of the sin of selfishness and greed. In
the ruins of Belgium we had felt it, in the tumult of war on the
battlefields of France we had seen what it could do, in the records of
the desperate struggles of the Peace Table we had caught glimpses of its
power, in China we saw its work, in Korea we looked upon its suffering
victims, and here on Calvary the weight of the world sorely wounded and
dismayed by sin, pressed hard upon us. It would not have been possible
to bear had we not read also of the stone rolled away and the great
triumphant Victory.

A deep conviction settled down upon us until it possessed every muscle
and fiber of body and mind, until it possessed our souls—the thing that
He preached and that only can save the world. His great command that man
love his God and serve his neighbor—this principle alone can rescue
humanity from the abyss of chaos into which blind greed, individual and
national, has plunged it. As the pilgrims knelt at the Holy Sepulchre,
we knelt there under the open skies on the hill that is called Calvary
to accept again His first great commandment, and the second that is like
unto it, in repentance and humility to pray for pardon for past failures
and strength for new endeavors.

That night at evening service in clear soprano voice a boy in the choir
sang:

                   There is a green hill far away
                   Without the city wall
                   Where the dear Lord was crucified
                   Who died to save us all.
                   Oh dearly, dearly has He loved
                   And we must love Him too,
                   And trust in His redeeming blood
                   And try His works to do.

                   There was no other good enough
                   To pay the price of sin:
                   He only could unlock the gate
                   Of Heaven and let us in.
                   Oh dearly, dearly has He loved
                   And we must love Him too,
                   And trust in His redeeming blood
                   And try His works to do.

The echo of the last line followed us home. There is work to be
done—challenging, mighty world-building tasks—and for the doing of them
those who call themselves servants and followers of Him whose brave,
suffering footsteps we had traced from the Garden along the Sorrowful
Way to Calvary have waited too long.



                          I GO DOWN INTO EGYPT


             _The strings of camels come in single file
               Bearing their burdens o’er the desert sand;
             Swiftly the boats go plying on the Nile
               The needs of men to meet on every hand.
                     But still I wait
             For the messenger of God who cometh late._
                                     —_Author Unknown._



                          I GO DOWN INTO EGYPT


It was sitting on a housetop overlooking Jerusalem on the last day of
our visit to the Holy City that we heard in detail the story of the
official entry of the British forces. The woman who told us had spent
the years of the war as well as most of her life in Jerusalem though she
is an American. Her children were born there, she speaks many of its
languages, she knows its people and she loves it. She is one of the
women appointed by Lord Samuel, the High Commissioner, to serve on an
advisory council to assist the government in establishing policies for
the protection and betterment of women. She is the Christian
representative, the others being Mohammedan and Hebrew.

The story, as she told it, revealing all the fear and anxiety of those
hard years, the pressure of uncertainty, the daily, hourly struggle for
food with sufficient nourishment to keep the children and the old people
alive, made us feel again, as so many times before, the sharp stab of
the fact that it is not those who bear arms alone who go to war. Little
faces, whose right it is to be round and rosy, covered with smiles, must
be pale and wan, yes, must even forget how to smile, as millions of
little ones have forgotten since nineteen hundred and fourteen. Old
faces, whose right it is to bear the marks of peace and contentment
after the struggle of the years, must be left instead with marks of pain
and anguish as have millions of the aged since nineteen hundred and
fourteen. He is a cruel monster, War, and if man, after what he has seen
these past years, does not imprison him, starve him, and leave him to
die, then man deserves the bitterness of the fate that will be his.

[Illustration:

  When we opened our eyes, the Nile lay almost at our feet.]

Threatened deportation, first by the German, then by the Turk, had been
again and again postponed for the little group known as the American
Colony but finally word came that in ten days all must go. The men of
military age, though neutral, had been ordered away a week before and
were expecting the arrival of a Turkish officer at any moment, to tell
them the time had come. Food was very scarce, there was no sugar, little
flour, and no fats. The woman who told us the story was herself doing
all-day and sometimes all-night duty as a nurse in the Red Crescent
Hospital which was our present hotel. Some of the letters she showed to
us proved what a consolation she must have been to the young British
soldiers, who lay with the Turks, prisoners, and sorely wounded. The
thundering of the guns had been drawing nearer but, despite rumors that
crept into the streets and the hospital wards that the Turks were slowly
losing ground, they themselves reported progress. Great airplanes droned
over the city, cannon roared in the hills. One afternoon there was
unusual commotion in the open space before the hotel and, standing by
the window, our friend saw the Germans making hurried preparations for
leaving. Signal wires, telephone wires, rugs, removable furniture, tons
of supplies, went out through the Jaffa Gate. The Turkish General
visited her—he must leave the wounded in her care. The German doctors
would go with the troops. He would leave two days’ provisions and
medicines, after that—

When he had gone, half afraid to believe it, she whispered the word to
the British patients. They were nearly mad with joy, and there was
little sleeping that night. “When? When?” they would whisper as she or
her helper passed them. She could only answer, “I do not know. We have
provisions for two days.” Very early in the morning, before it was fully
light, the Mayor of the city, one of the direct descendants of Mohamet,
sent her a message saying that he was about to surrender the city.

At half-past eight that morning the outposts saw the white flag
approaching. General Shea was the officer sent by General Allenby to
accept the surrender of the city. At half-past twelve Jerusalem had
passed into the hands of the British, guards were placed at all public
buildings, and instructions given to the Chief of Police. The joy of the
people—Jew, Christian, and Moslem—was shown in the crowds that filled
the street, the tears and embraces, the shrill cries in many tongues.
Even the Turkish sick and wounded in the hospital showed relief. For the
twenty-third time in its history Jerusalem had surrendered. But this
time there were no cries for mercy, no bitterness, no wailing, no
terrible fear of the conqueror.

Outside the walls the guns banged and hammered at the Turkish defences.
Much had to be done before Jerusalem was safe from attack, but although,
spurred on by advices from Germany, the Turks made an attempt to
recapture the City, it was a disastrous failure.

One of the young men joined us on the roof and contributed his share of
the description of the next thrilling days. It was on December 11th,
1917, that General Allenby, Commander-in-Chief, took formal possession
of the City. He would not enter through the break in the old wall made
when the former Kaiser with his great retinue entered as a Crusader.
Indeed orders have been given to have the break closed. Allenby would
carry no flag. On foot and accompanied by a Guard that altogether
numbered about one hundred fifty, he stood on Mount Zion on the steps of
the Citadel at the entrance to David’s Tower. He had been met outside
the narrow gate by the Guard representing all branches, faiths and races
that make up the British Army. Behind him, as he stood on the steps with
his staff, were the leading men of the City, ready to listen to the
reading of the Proclamation. There were no shouts of victory, no
trumpets, no evidence of the spirit of triumph over a foe. The
Proclamation was read in Arabic and English, in Hebrew and Greek, in
Russian, in French and Italian. As the people, standing respectfully in
the open spaces and upon the housetops, heard each in his own tongue
that all men might “pursue their lawful business without fear,” and the
promise that “every Holy Place, revered and held sacred by any faith,
will be defended and protected,” a look, first of incredulity, then of
confidence, passed over their faces. Many Mohammedans ran from the
square to repeat the words in homes from which some fearful ones had not
dared to come. Murmurs and gestures of approval were given on every
side. The windows of the Red Crescent Hospital were filled with faces of
those who, though very ill or badly wounded, could not miss this
significant moment of the Great War. All the promises made that day have
been sacredly kept, our friends told us.

In the old Turkish barrack square the Commander-in-Chief met the heads
of all the religious communities. The sheikhs in charge of the Mosque of
Omar, the representatives of the Priests and Patriarchs of the Latin,
Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Coptic churches who had been deported by
the Turks, the heads of the Jewish communities, the Syrian Church, the
Greek Catholic, the Abyssinian and the Anglican Churches, all were
there. It was indeed a cosmopolitan company as to religious faiths. “The
bright color of the holiday dress which most of the people had put on, I
can see in detail at this moment,” said our friend. “Not one step in
that simple ceremony shall I ever forget. In two hours, leaving guards
over all holy places, with Mohammedan officers and soldiers from the
Indian regiments to guard the Mosque of Omar, the General walked back
through the Old Jaffa Gate as he had come, received the salute of his
troops, entered his car and went down to the fighting area.”

The relief workers took up the heavy burden of bringing food to the
people whose thin bodies and pale faces showed the effect of months of
starvation diet. All supplies must come up over roads muddy and torn by
heavy traffic, crowded with army food and equipment that must have
right-of-way. The task was one that taxed patience and energies to the
utmost. The health commission assumed the equally great task of clearing
the streets of unspeakable filth left in the wake of the Turkish rule,
our friends shouldered their burden of securing medical attention and
food for the sick, helpless and wounded men.

“Only gradually,” said our friend walking up and down on the roof, her
cheeks flushed by the memories of days so vividly recalled, “did we come
to realize that this Holy City was _free_. It was as though we had been
going about in heavy chains that, suddenly taken from us, had left us
too dazed to move. We unconsciously looked for old restrictions, old
threats, old taxes suddenly to be laid upon us. Despite the glory of its
past,” she added, leaning far over the parapet to look out upon it, “the
City in all its long history was never so truly the City of Zion as
now.”

When we went back to our hotel, standing at the windows from which the
wounded had looked, we felt that though other scenes of many cities in
many lands would fade with the years, the description of that day when a
victorious army under the leadership of a great General, a true soldier,
and a Christian gentleman had, beneath the shadow of the Tower,
proclaimed a message of possession more truly in accord with the word
and teaching of Jesus than any ever recorded in history, would never
leave us.

The sunset that night was more glorious than any we had seen. The hills
were on fire with it, the Gate was gold. Then the valleys darkened, the
streets were still, the crowd of Arab and Greek, Jew and Moslem, the
shepherds, the merchant with his camels, the shopmen and the traveler,
all sought shelter. It was night, and we looked for the last time out on
the hills to the place where the stars shone over Bethlehem. Never did
more reluctant pilgrims leave a Holy Place.

The train, going twice each week down from Jerusalem and connecting with
the train for Cairo, had begun to carry both sleeping compartments and
dining car. We boarded it late that night at the foot of the long hill.
Before it was light, we had pulled out of the Jerusalem station and did
not get even one more glimpse of the city set on a hill. Instead when we
opened our eyes we were almost out of the Judean Hills and soon were
moving along through desert-rimmed lowlands. Then the desert itself lay
about us for hours, livened by occasional caravans that also were going
down to Egypt. Once an airplane flew over us and on into the glare of
the cloudless sky. We thought often of Joseph and Mary and the Child
fleeing through this lonely desert, to find in alien Egypt refuge from
the jealous wrath of the Roman king. How rapidly the world has learned
to cover time and space since then! How slow has been its progress
toward the kingdom the Child, whom Herod feared, had come to build. God
grant that now over the new paths through old Palestine messengers
bearing Good Will may come with all speed.

At Kantara we saw a company of Jews sent by the Zionists into Palestine.
They were a weary group, their faces bore marks of deep suffering. They
spoke Russian only, so we could not talk with them. They were going by
train to Haifa. We could only hope that their sorrows were over and that
in the land of their fathers they would find peace, a chance to forget,
shelter, food and a home. But we could not feel sure. The threatening
words we had heard from the lips of the Arab, the protests on the part
of the Jews that there was not land enough in Palestine capable of
bearing crops to give food to those who now struggled to live, the
bitter race hatreds and religious feuds very near the surface always
ready to burst into flame,—these things made us doubtful. The
transformation within a generation of this land of Palestine into a safe
and happy home for all the Jews of all the world seems but the futile
day dream of children when one faces conditions as they are. Many lands
have done many things to the Jew who once in simplicity worshiped the
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and tried sincerely, not only to obey
the great commandments of Moses, but to teach them to his children.
Whether again they can gather from all lands and bring with them the
best who shall say? It may be that the fervent exhortations of rabbis,
the wisdom of judges, the training of educators, the science of
agriculturists, the modern irrigation miracles of engineers, the proper
placing of peoples, will make of Palestine a modern state where the
dream of economists, political and social, will one day be demonstrated
in action. The only spot we saw that seemed like the coming of the day
was Ramallah, the city that had to be taken by storm before the troops
could reach Jerusalem and visited by us to see the splendid work of the
schools of the Quakers who for long years have given learning and new
life to children of Syrian and Armenian, and now and then to a Moslem or
a Jew. From that little town between six and seven hundred Jews and
Syrians had emigrated to America. Since the war many had returned and
were rapidly building the city. Others had sent money to rebuild the
homes of their families. These homes were of stone built two stories
high with the flat roof but with plenty of space for light and air.
Gardens surrounded many of them and trees were being planted everywhere.
The children were well nourished, well clothed, and well trained. It
helped us to have more confidence in the dreams with the fulfilment of
which all Christendom is in sympathy. If only patience and unselfishness
can be set as watchmen over against the door of enthusiasm! We were told
that the Hebrew High Commissioner of Jerusalem looks to Ramallah as a
prophecy.

We sat for a while on the journey from Kantara to Cairo with a British
officer and a nurse who had seen hard service during the war and is now
in charge of a number of stations where the native nurses meet her to
report progress and receive further instructions. She helps them to
understand the care of mothers and young babies and trains them to fight
the terrible diseases of the eye that result in a staggering percentage
of blindness. The native girls are taking up their work with enthusiasm,
even the little children are sharing in the campaign against flies.
“That is a far harder campaign than any we have ever waged when you
consider the people you have to train to fight,” said the officer. And
remembering the flies on our days at Suez and Port Said, we could agree
with him. It was nearly midnight when she left the train at a little
station in the sand. Her man-servant was waiting with her horse and we
watched her ride off to her hospital out there somewhere in the
blackness. “No finer women on God’s earth than those who wear that
uniform,” said the officer.

A half hour or more and he left us. He was a lover of the desert and
almost made us forget how pitiless, how cruel, how destitute of all that
makes life for most of us, it is. He knew the names of all the stars and
when they would appear in the velvet sky over his great stretch of
camps. He loved the cold of the night and was not afraid of the heat of
midday, he loved the sunrise and sunsets and “the desert-folk worth many
times the puny men of cities.” He, too, rode off into the darkness.

At last—Cairo—and we left the train through the long station, bright as
day. A car was waiting. The luxury of our room made us feel that we had
entered fairyland. It had been so long since we had seen the things for
rest, comfort and cleanliness that had in our past been common
necessities, that now after these months of journeying about the world
they seemed extravagances indeed!

The next morning we looked through the open French windows with their
rose hangings, out upon the Pyramids and the Nile. The river lay almost
at our feet. The beauty of it was intoxicating in the soft light of the
rising sun. When my friend broke the silence she said, “It is indeed
beautiful,” then smiling she added “but,—

             If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
             Let my right hand forget her skill.
             Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
             If I remember thee not,
             If I prefer not Jerusalem
             Above my chief joy....


  Awake, awake, put on thy strength; put on thy beautiful garments, O
  Jerusalem, the holy city.... Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit
  on thy throne, O Jerusalem.—Peace be unto thee, O Zion.”



------------------------------------------------------------------------



Transcriber’s note:

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.

 2. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
      printed.





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