The Parable of the Two Rooms.
May 4th, 2003
Received by H.
Poor Shmu’el was a very well-known character in Kpar Nakhum. Every day, at the first light of dawn, he appeared with his donkey in the city, right there in the market place next to the pier, where the ships landed and where the market booths stood.
Galilee was a rich country, but its wealth was distributed unequally. A few rich landowners enjoyed enormous prosperity, but an army of poor peasants had hardly enough to earn their daily bread. Shmu’el was one of them. He had a small parcel of land at the outskirts of the city, but it did not suffice to feed his family. This was the reason why he worked in the market: he helped to load or unload ships, and he helped people with their shopping, loading the heavy bales on his donkey and taking the merchandise to the client’s houses or the retail stores.
One day in the afternoon Jesus was teaching in the shade of a carob-tree. This was near that corner of the market where the street branched off to the synagogue that stood at a distance of two blocks, and Shmu'el was passing by. Jesus greeted him:
“Good afternoon, Shmu’el,” the Master said. “I see that you have finished your work.”
“Yes, Master,” the man answered. And he stopped in front of us, rubbing his hands nervously.
Jesus smiled when he saw it. “You have something on your mind that you want to ask. Tell me, what is it?”
So, Shmu’el took heart and asked:
“Master, every day I come to work here in the market. And then, in the afternoon, I go back to my field to work there. So I earn a few coins to sustain my family. But at times I observe the Pharisee when he comes from the synagogue. Every now and then he stops and prays, he bows before God and murmurs his prayers. I know that he is a holy man, and I also would like to be as holy as he is. But if I also stop every few yards and pray, nobody will hire me, because I would not get on with my work. Sometimes I think that it is my own poverty that prevents me from being a good man.”
Jesus got up, and with a smile put his hands on Shmu’el’s shoulders.
“My dear friend,” he said, “when you work weeding through your field and loosing the earth with your hoe, your back curves until deep folds furrow the skin over your heart. And our Father in Heaven watches you and approves of what He is observing.
“But listen to me well: The heart is like a room of a house. There were two brothers. Each of them lived in his own room. One of them always had the door and the window of his room shut tight. Very soon, the stones of the walls began to sweat, and a layer of mold grew on them. The air was stale and poisonous, and the man was sick all the time.
“The other brother always held the door and the window of his room open. The light of the day and the breeze of the afternoon came in. The air was fresh and the walls dry. This man never got sick.
“And likewise it happens in the heart: In the open heart the Light that our Father sends to us will enter, and the Wind that He sends will come in. This heart brings health and life to its owner and finds the Father’s approval. The heart shut tight only gives off bitterness.
“Your heart, Shmu’el, is open, so its love and its longings can go out. But whatever there is in a heart that is shut tight, will rot in it.
“Go in peace, and do not worry.”
I hope you have liked this anecdote. And yes, you are right, the phrase “the Wind that He sends” is a play on words, because wind and spirit are one and the same word in Aramaic.
God bless you always,
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013