Ariella: A Woman from Nain

My name is Ariella. I live in Nain, Galilee, which is six miles south of Nazareth, with my son Galen. When my husband Hector and I were first married, I joined him in his store where we sold staples and vegetables to those living in Nain and the surrounding countryside. Since our home is attached to the back of our store, it seemed natural for Galen to help with the business as a young boy.

Though I had asked Jehovah for many years for a daughter, this was not His will. Nevertheless the three of us were a very happy family. Hector was firm yet fair in running the store. In spite of Hector's firmness in business matters, he always treated me gently. As a boy, Galen enjoyed playing with the children in our village, but he was always ready to come inside when I called, for he liked to learn about the scales and counting money just as much as he liked to play.

Galen learned much at the school in our synagogue, but he learned even more from his father. When customers were not in the store, I would pretend to be lost in my weaving. My heart would be warmed as I listened to Hector explaining to Galen about fair markup for each item in the store. The markup for staples like barley, raisins, figs, salt, and spices was set. Vegetable prices varied based upon the spoilage of the various produce items. Of course, people always liked to bargain, so we had a secret price range with a fixed minimum.

A year ago, however, my happiness was shattered when Hector complained of a terrible pain in his chest, then collapsed in the aisle of the store. I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do but pray and tell my neighbor to quickly find a physician. When he arrived, he said that Hector died just moments after he had experienced the pain. Galen, now a responsible sixteen-year-old, stepped in to manage the store just as his father had run it. He was a great comfort to me during my months of grieving.

I had just begun to accept my circumstances when my life was shattered once more. Galen was returning from Maritina Caesarea with supplies for the store when he was ambushed by robbers and killed.

So I had no alternative but to prepare for my second funeral in the space of a year. There were times that I felt so numb and empty inside, but many women from the village who had been our customers stood beside me. No one knew exactly what to say, but I found their presence comforting. On the day of the funeral, the men left their workplaces to be there as well. As the funeral procession moved from the synagogue through the city gate on the way to the burial site, my heart was so broken that I was unable to control my weeping. Two of my husband's friends physically supported me as I retraced the steps taken during his funeral one year ago.

As the procession made its way through the gate, a tall man followed by a crowd of people approached me. At first I was a little apprehensive because I had never seen Him before and didn't know what it was that He wanted. But when He spoke and said in a soothing, compassionate voice, "Do not weep," my fears seemed to fade away.

I felt such a peace come over me that I stopped crying and watched this stranger as He walked over to my son's coffin and laid His hands on it. The pallbearers appeared stunned and didn't know exactly what to do, so they stood still.

Then in a strong, clear voice this stranger said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!"

My heart leaped with expectation at His words. Then without any further warning Galen sat up. When he saw the man standing by his coffin, it was almost as if he knew Him, and he reached up to Him. The man helped Galen out of the coffin and brought him to me. With tears streaming down my face, I embraced my son for he had been dead and was now alive.

With great amazement the townspeople began to praise Jehovah and say, "A great prophet has appeared among us. Jehovah has visited His people to care for them."

Now I knew who He was. He was a prophet. I had never met a prophet before, so I asked Him, "Who are you?"

Then in a calm voice He replied, "My name is Jesus."

"You must be the prophet from Nazareth who the people say is the Son of God." When I reached out to thank Him, His large hands engulfed mine, and I asked, "How can I ever thank you Jesus?"

"Ariella, all that I ask is that you continue to love all My children in Nain as you have in the past, for as you love them, you are also loving Me."

Based on Luke 7:11-17.

Copyright 1997 by John C. Westervelt

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