Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road

Lazarus Tomb

As I shared with you last week, Rev. Bob was my Dumbo’s Feather.  I knew I could do it because he said I could!  But Bob had another talent; shopping.  He knew every merchant and every store and every bargain in the Middle East.

Sightseeing in mid-November is always a little dicey.  It gets dark quickly and often the sites that we long to see are closed.  Yet, there are times when a shopkeeper is willing to remain open for the sake of a few dollars.

Thus, in mid-November, 1997, we arrived late to the town of Bethany famous for the tomb of Lazarus.  It seems Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha were personal friends of Jesus, but something happened that caused Lazarus to die an untimely death.  Jesus arrived with his disciples after Lazarus was buried, opened the tomb and called Lazarus to come forth, in essence, raising him from the dead. (Gospel of John 11:1-44)\ 

The tomb is found in a subterranean cave which has to be accessed by a staircase of narrow stone steps and a very faulty handrail.  It was getting dark but Bob had talked to the shopkeeper and so we lined up to descend the steps to the cave floor of the burial chamber.  When all of a sudden came the screech of tires, a loud thud, and the entire town went black.  And there we stood, unable to see, feeling the wall of the cave to find the rail, to keep from falling in the inky darkness.

At first we all thought it was temporary, but as the darkness continued we tried to carefully turn around and make our way up the stairs and out into the darkened street.  From the entrance of the cave we could see a small beam of light coming from the shop across the street.  And there was Bob – lantern in hand - selling bottles of water and souvenirs and the shopkeeper smiling as he rang up more sales that he had all day.

Travel, IsraelMary Anne Harris