The port of Tyre was its normal hive of rambunctious activity. Ships offloaded their goods and others loaded their holds with purple garments and lumber to sell in faraway lands. Tyrian shekels exchanged hands as the blue sea oblivious to the frenetic trade all around it bathed itself lazily under the rays of the evening sun.
The woman had had a long day at the port and with a light heart she made for home her purse heavy. Her steps moved in cadence to the jingling of her day’s profits. There was a heightened edge to her usual jocularity as she greeted all and sundry along the way. It was quite evident that she had had a good trading day.
However her joy was short-lived. The jocularity was about to be cut short. As she got home, she called out to her daughter but surprisingly got no response. More often than not, her daughter would have burst through the door in a bid to hug her at the sound of her voice.
With a heart thundering from the hooves of premonition, she gingerly opened the wooden door and a rash of goose pimples flourished on her entire skin. The room was surprisingly dark which was strange. She usually left the windows open and her daughter loved the sea wind with its briny air.
There was also dankness to the darkness coupled with a foul odour she could not place. She caught herself unconsciously checking whether she had entered the wrong house. The python of fear uncoiled itself within her belly and wrapped around her neck, choking in its intensity. She wondered what was going on as she stepped gingerly into a room littered with pieces of broken pottery.
Then she noticed something stir in the pool of shadows in the darkest recesses of the house. She was petrified as her daughter emerged but the thing was also not her daughter. Something was off. There was an air of malevolence around her child, something she could not put her hands on but that seemed to pre-date the existence of man. Her normally azure eyes were like smouldering coals in a brazier and hair stood on end like nail spikes. The new clothes her mother had bought recently clung on her in tatters.
Then the little girl spoke with breath so rank her mother thought someone had turned the all the rotting carcasses in Abaddon. The stench slammed into her with such force that she gasped for breath.
The words were, “I have come to stay,” and uttered with the sibilance of the world’s oldest serpent. Then the child cackled hysterically, a maniacal sound from a choir of hyenas that lived in jungles beyond the human imagination. It was a devilish symphony from regions where it so hurts the sun to shine.
Terror loosened the woman’s bowels and the undeniable reality that had been crawling through the thickets of her horror fogged mind burrowed to the surface. She clasped her hand over her mouth as realization dawned!
Her daughter was possessed!!!
The woman’s entire life changed that day. Profits and trading were forgotten, everything was packed on the shelves of life while she sought a solution to her daughter’s malady. The girl’s life changed too. She could not go out to play with friends and was cooped up in the house all day. No more could visitors visit. Their existence became a nightmare and continued so for a long time. Agony, desperation and shame became their relatives. The woman lived perpetually on the precipice of insanity. If not that her life was now hinged on getting a panacea for her daughter, she would have allowed herself a free fall into the pools of madness that perpetually whispered to her with the seductiveness of sirens. What their lives became was unimaginable……
The Galilean heaved a sigh of relief as relief as he tucked into his bread and fish. Peace and relief at last. The frenzied pace of living had made him seek out vacation along the beaches of Tyre. He had shut down the daily machinery of labouring to take a breather, a much needed rest.
As he ate some grapes, a loud banging disturbed the drowsy afternoon. The rapping on the door mirrored the desperation of the person behind it.
“Lord, my daughter is been tortured by a demon and needs deliverance,” a woman shouted.
Jesus was surprised that anyone had found out his hideaway.
“How could she have known,” He wondered.
The woman had been so desperate, she had researched all means of treatment she believed would help her daughter both far and near. She had heard about Jesus and His miracles and had doggedly traced his itinerary up to the present moment. For her daughter, she removed the stops, went the whole nine yards. She would not be deterred.
Jesus, however, did not answer her. He just wanted a little break from all the woes of humanity. The woman continued knocking maniacally until the disciples could not take it anymore. They went out and told her to leave but she would not be budged until she wore them out.
They came back when they could not succeed and told Jesus to drive her away. However, He told them to allow her in.
“Woman, I was sent to the covenanted ones and not everybody, “Jesus told her.
Looking at Him, clouds of majesty billowing all around his person, she went to her knees and worshipped.
“Lord, help me, help us!!!” she cried.
“It is not good to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs, “Jesus answered.
“I agree, but dogs do eat of the crumbs that fall of their masters tables,” she replied.
Jesus was thrilled by her answer. He told her, “Woman, you have great faith, let it be to you as you have believed.”
She left light-hearted, pleased she had been able to pass the test. For her daughter, she had put her pride and everything on the line. The margins of the expected had been breached by not taking no for an answer.
She ran all the way home and at the sound of her voice, her daughter rushed out blue eyes filled with merriment. They crashed into each other in suffocating hugs. As tears of joy cavorted exuberantly down her face, she thought of how privileged the covenanted ones are. If crumbs had such power to rip out demons then what amount of authority would reside in a whole loaf? If crumbs could have such endless possibilities, what result would a whole loaf command? She wondered if the people that have the right to the loaves knew……Do we know??
This is the story of the Syro-phonecian woman. Matthew 15
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
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