10 A Pilgrim’s Quest  for the Child Jesus

posted Dec 11, 2018, 8:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 11, 2018, 9:17 AM ]
Arvind Pinto

What better preparation could there be for Christmas, than to walk the roads and paths where the Child Jesus was born, lived, suffered death and rose into Heaven? This was my intention while travelling to the Holy Land, just a month before Christmas. Like many of the faithful, I wished to walk the earth that our God who became a human person had tread 2000 years ago, when He willingly chose to enter into human history.

It all started in the town of Nazareth, the capital of the Northern district of Israel, that borders Jordan and Syria, and is close to the Sea of Galilee. This is where the Angel Gabriel came down to announce the ‘good news’ to Mary, the daughter of Anna and Joachim that she, though a virgin, would conceive a male child who would be called Jesus. Today, old Nazareth is the Arab capital of Israel, since the majority of its citizens are Muslim.

Historically, it is known that Mary, the daughter of Anna and Joachim, lived in Nazareth. But the Scriptures tell us nothing about the infancy of Mary or her adolescence. There were no schools in that era, and knowledge and literacy was confined to the Scribes and Pharisees, or those who taught in the Temple. We have no sources of information of the life that the young Mary led during her days in her own family. It was therefore of interest when we stopped at the site of Mary’s Well in the public square at Nazareth. Oral tradition has it that this was the well that the young girls of the time would come to draw water from. In the times of Jesus, public wells supplied water for the surrounding households. Of the many duties of a young Israelite girl was the task of going down to the well to draw water, and carry it home to her mother. It is this well that Mary, like most girls of her age, would come to draw water, and carry the pitcher home to her mother Anna. While today most houses in the region have piped water, this was not the same during the times of Mary, and she, being God’s Vessel of honour, would have had to go down to the well, draw water and carry the pitcher home.