Cananite Woman and Jesus“Lord!” she squeals, scratching through the crowd, running to the Master and raising dust.

“Go home,” says a man, a temple leader, shoving her to the ground.

“It’s not for me,” she screams as if stepped on. “I’m nothing. Not worthy of your glance. It’s my daughter, Lord. She’s stricken by demons, but I know you can heal her.”

His followers blocked Him from her. “Send her away,” they whispered in His ear. “She’s filthy. And a Canaanite.”

Irritated, Jesus shakes his head. He turns to the woman and bends down to her. The crowd expects a rebuke, but He whispers. “Woman,” He says, “the time has not yet come.” He stands and speaks louder, to the crowd. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

Falling in on herself, she paws in the dirt at his feet. “Lord, help me.. Only you can…”

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

His followers nod and turn Him to go. “Let us go, Master. There’s work to be done.”  

“But it is right,” says the woman. His followers gasp, and the crowd stares, silent. No one asking for healing or for favor has ever disagreed openly with Him.

Peter turns to shove her away, but Jesus grabs him. “Woman?” He says. “What did you say?”

She cowers, knowing her place. “It is right, Lord. Look how You’re treated.  Even dogs eat crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

“The dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table. Is that what you said?”

His men had never seen their Master angry at anyone except for Temple Leaders. It was His right as a man to strike her.

The woman, shriveled like a broken frond, rose up. “Yes,” she says. “Even the dogs get a crumb.”

Jesus pierced her with a stare. Then. turning to his followers and to the crowd, He explodes with a great laugh. He looks at the woman and the crowd. “What faith!” He shouts, arms outstretched. “What My lamb Israel could do if she had just a grain of this faith!” He collected Himself from laughing. “Woman,” He says to her, loudly so all can hear. “We are from different lands. We have a different history. But never do I see the faith that you have.” He grabbed for her hand, and she jerked it away, unable to touch him. He bowed to her instead. “Woman, by your faith, you have your request.”

Her eruption of joyous crying and tears were drowned by a murmur running through the crowd. On that very day her daughter was healed and never again showed any sign of possession but, with her mother, followed the way of the Master until she died.

These are my crumbs, fallen from the table. A cookie crumb or a bite of bread. I’m a messy eater. I never imagine they are from God’s table. They are slivers, light caught out of cracks, secret things. I see them as I walk around and write them on the fly and don’t smudge them with corrections or eraser marks. I don’t add photos. Subjecting them to SEO makes me feel dirty, like I need a shower. They might come from insight or they might come from out-of-date yogurt. You decide. I’m convinced, though, that beauty and hurt, which is sometimes another kind of beauty, lies in the folds between our daily doings. My ancient grandmother humming a Czech hymn on Friday night while she swishes the wet mop head back and forth. My wife, breaking down, and then catching herself in the shower, reminding herself to be strong. Reader? That is beauty. Beauty in the face of it. It’s my granddaughter – I like this one – telling her mom “I love you, but I love Grandpa the most.”

To catch the light from the crack before it closes. That’s where it’s at. Keep digging when you see it. Crumbs. Enjoy them before the dogs do.


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