.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms, © 2015
.            refer to
www.church-skits.com

ANNA, THE PHARISEE’S DAUGHTER – written by Tanis Harms

PREMISE:      Jesus’s ministry included reaching out
.          to women and children, as all people have
.          the same need for forgiveness of their sins,
.          and all should have the same opportunity
.          to have personal relationships with God.
.              As a young girl, Anna desires to learn,
.          but being a girl, her training is always
.          household-focused; so whenever she can,
.          she eavesdrop at the boys’ Hebrew school.
.          Now with the talk of Jesus’s ministry,
.          she only has more questions, which
.          does not sit well with her father,
.          who is a Pharisee in Capernaum.
TOPIC:        drama on salvation, pride, faith
SCRIPTURE:    Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
NOTES:        
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SCRIPT:                     ACT 1
.                        CITY SQUARE

(People in background walk about their daily business.
A few MEN stand at the gate in an intense discussion.
There are several WOMEN around the well, talking, as
ANNA walks from house to well carrying two water jugs.)

WOMAN 1  Did you hear?  He is on His way back.

WOMAN 2  How do I keep missing Him?

WOMAN 3  (to W1)  So you’ve actually met this man?

WOMAN 1  I have.  And He is NOT your ordinary man –
.        AT ALL!

WOMAN 4  Careful how you talk.  You would not want
.        your husband hearing about this –

WOMAN 1  NOT like that -

(WOMAN 4 sees ANNA and catches herself, then adds.)     2

WOMAN 4  Or someone ELSE might hear - who could –
.        cause problems.

(WOMAN 4 eye-motions toward ANNA.  The WOMEN get busy
filling their water jugs and ignore ANNA.)

WOMAN 4  Oh hello, Anna.  How’s your father?

ANNA     (speaking carefully)  He’s fine.  But, you know,
.        maybe I want to hear more about this man
.        that you keep talking about?

WOMAN 1  Why, so you can report this to your father?

WOMAN 3  As a Pharisee, your father may feel threatened.

WOMAN 1  Listen, we sometimes overhear how the men talk
.        at the gate.  (motioning to the men at the gate)
.        Anyone who is a Scribe, Sadducee, or Pharisee,
.        does NOT like this Man.

WOMAN 3  I think it’s because - Jesus knows MORE -
.        than all of them put together.

(The WOMEN all laugh, then stop as ANNA remains serious.
ANNA nods then quickly fills her jars with water.)

WOMAN 3  (to ANNA)  No offense to your father.
.        He is a very wise man.
.        We are only saying what we have heard.

(As WOMEN continue chattering, YOUNG GIRLS 1-3 enter from
the gate and walk past the well carrying baskets.)

GIRL 1   Hello, Anna.

ANNA     You’re allowed to go to market by yourself?!

GIRL 2   Mom and Sis are – you know?

GIRL 1   Sh!  Yes, it is – you know - that time of month.

GIRL 2   Have YOU started yet?

ANNA     Ah, no?
.                                                          3
GIRL 1   Sh!  Really, we do not speak of THAT in public.
.        Come on, we have lots of work to do.

ANNA     Must be nice to be in charge.

GIRL 3   (shaking her head)  It is not THAT nice.

GIRL 1   Come on!

(GIRLS exit upper stage right as ANNA finishes filling
the water jugs.)

.                          HOUSE

(ZEB sits at the table, intensely studying a piece of
papyrus-like material.  MOTHER and SAVTA enter from the
house’s interior as they put shawls over their heads.

MOTHER   Anna!  (to ZEB)  Zeb, have you seen your sister?
.        How long does it take to fetch water?
.        (ZEB just shrugs.)  Are you still not finished
.        with your studies?  Your class begins soon.
.        You do wish to be as wise as your father?

ZEB      Mom, please, I am trying to concentrate.

MOTHER   (picking up empty basket to leave)
.        I will let you be.  Come, Savta. (stopping)
.        (to ZEB)  Tell Anna that we have gone to market
.        for the day, and that she should have everything
.        swept and cleaned by the time we return.

ZEB      (mumbling)  Yes, Mother.

(MOTHER and SAVTA leave into the square.  ZEB looks up,
struggling to memorize something, then refers back
to his papyrus.  ANNA enters and puts the jugs down.)

ANNA     Oh, what is today’s lesson?

ZEB      Be quiet.  I should know this ALREADY.
.        (exasperatedly desperate)  Can you help me?
.       (ANNA looks around, worried of getting caught)
.        Mother went to market with savta.
.        And Father has left already.

(ANNA shows relief, then excitement as she sits down      4
next to ZEB and takes the papyrus to look at.)

ZEB      Why are you able to understand this,
.        when it was I who taught you how to read?
.        And you being a girl!  It is just not fair.

ANNA     Maybe there are some things come more naturally
.        to different people.

(ZEB sulks as ANNA studies the papyrus.)

ZEB      (blandly) We copied that from the Psalms.
.        It is like, God is speaking to the people.

ANNA     Okay, (becomes teacher-like) I will read it first,
.        and then we will go over and over each line
.        until you know it.  (reading)  “Listen,
.        O my people, to my instruction; incline your
.        ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open
.        my mouth in - a PARABLE” –
.        Apparently, Jesus speaks in parables,
.        and knows God’s words - like they were His.
.        He could be our Messiah.  So people are saying.

ZEB      (agitated)  Anna – the lesson.

ANNA     (reading)  “But tell to the generation to come
.        the praises of the Lord, and His strength
.        and His wondrous works that He has done.
.        For He established a testimony in Jacob,
.        and appointed a LAW in Israel” (looking up)
.        Father sure loves teaching the Law-

ZEB      The Law is EVERYthing!

ANNA     It is everything, but – okay-okay
.        (sighs, then continues reading)
.        “-a LAW in Israel, which He commanded
.        our fathers, that they should teach
.        them to their – children” -
.        (lowers papyrus and glares at ZEB)
.        See – right there – a commandment from God –
.        that His word should be taught to the CHILDREN.
.        I am a child.  Why am I not allowed to go
.        to school and be taught God’s words?

ZEB      You can hear them at the temple.                 5

ANNA     But I want to learn MORE than that.
.        See?  God wrote THIS for me. (picking up papyrus)
   But men see it - the way THEY want.

ZEB      (shaking his head)  One day, your talk will
.        get you into BIG trouble.  But if I do not
.        finish learning this, I will be in big trouble.

ANNA     Okay-okay, let’s repeat the first line
.        until you know it.

.                       CITY SQUARE

(FATHER walks away from city gate and sees MATTHEW with
a ledger.  FATHER tries to escape, but it’s too late.)

MATTHEW  Ah, Teacher, a timely meeting.
.        Might I remind you that your taxes are due
.        at the end of this week.

FATHER   You are despicable, Matthew, did you know that?

MATTHEW  It is not a mystery that the people
.        hate tax collectors.

FATHER   Oh no.  More than a tax collector,
.        you work for Rome.  You - are a traitor.

MATTHEW  It is a job.  And like everybody else,
.        I need to put food on my table.

FATHER   Seems like you are able to buy much more
.        than food.

(FATHER motions to the big shiny ring on MATTHEW’S hand.
MATTHEW notices and puts his hand behind his back.)

MATTHEW  By Friday! I would hate to add on interest.

(FATHER goes toward the classroom to prepare and pray.
As MATTHEW walks off, JOSHUA, OBED and a bunch of BOYS
run into the square from upper stage right playing catch.
They “boo” rudely at MATTHEW as he disappears, then
continue to house to knock on the door.)

.                          HOUSE                          6

(JOSHUA peeks in and sees ZEB, then smiles at ANNA.)

JOSHUA   Hey, Zebadiah.  Zeb, you don’t want to be late
.        for your father’s class, do you?...  Hi, Anna.

(ANNA shyly waves.  JOSHUA keeps staring at ANNA
then nods at the papyrus piece in her hands.)

JOSHUA   You’re not using your brother’s homework
.        to houseclean are you?

OBED     You need to be careful, those are holy words
.        written on that.

(ZEB grabs the papyrus from ANNA and carefully
rolls it up.)

ZEB      Mom says to have the house clean before she
.        gets back.

(As the BOYS walk to the classroom, ANNA quickly
sweeps and tidies, then looks around the house, satisfied
that it should pass inspection.  Grabbing a shawl,
she cautiously peeks outside.  The coast is clear.)

.                         CLASSROOM

(ANNA sneaks toward the classroom.  Finding a shrub
beside the classroom wall, she sits down low beside it
and presses her ear against the wall to listen.
FATHER sits with his back to the door.  
The BOYS sit on pillows all around him.)

FATHER   These scriptures speak of God’s promises to us.
.        Israel has not had a rightful king on the throne
.        for hundreds of years.  But one day, our Messiah
.        WILL come and take the throne.  The Messiah will
.        be the perfect King, who’ll bring about – what?

(ANNA picks up her head and blurts out.)

ANNA     Perfect obedience and getting all our land back!

(There is silence.  FATHER picks up his head and looks
around, wondering where that sound came from.)
.                                                         7
(ANNA puts a hand over her mouth.  
FATHER suspiciously goes back to his lesson.)

FATHER   Anybody?

(FATHER looks at ZEB who twists his face while thinking.)

JOSHUA   Oh, ah, perfect – obedience.

FATHER   (not impressed)  Yesssss.  And?

(Again FATHER looks at ZEB who still twists his face.)

JOSHUA   And our Messiah – who is already here.
.        Everyone is saying that Jesus is our Messiah -

FATHER   Young man, you better ignore the gossip and
.        rumblings, and stick to your scriptures.
.        Do not be lead astray with these wives’ tales.
.        That Jesus – is a troublemaker!
.        He is making a mockery of God’s Law.

JOSHUA   The scriptures of Isaiah say that our Messiah
.        will be born of a virgin. This is being claimed–

FATHER   He can claim that all He wants,
.        but it does not make it true.

JOSHUA   He is from King David’s lineage. And the
.        prophet, Isaiah, said His name would be Jesus.

FATHER   Clearly this family was setting out to cause
.        trouble right from the beginning.

JOSHUA   AND Micah says that our Messiah will be born
.        in Bethlehem, and this Jesus – WAS born there!
.        AND He is from Nazareth, just as the prophet -

FATHER   People who come from Nazareth never amount
.        to anything!  (OBED raises his arm.)  Yes, Obed.

OBED     I heard He turned the water into wine at
.        a wedding feast in Cana.  Is that even possible?

FATHER   No, Obed, clearly it was some sort of trickery.

OBED     (leaning forward, sucking up)                     8
.        So, how can we be sure that this man is fake?

FATHER   For one thing, that Man, works
.        on the Sabbath.

ZEB      Ah, excuse me, Father, but - what kind of work?

FATHER   It does not matter!

JOSHUA   He heals people.

ZEB      Is that not a good thing?

FATHER   NOT on a Sabbath!  You all KNOW that there
.        should never be ANY work done on the Sabbath.
.        More than that, this man socializes with those
.        half-breed Samaritans.  And speaks to women
.        out in public.  A reliable report says -
.        He even spoke with a Samaritan woman,
.        of all things.  Disgraceful!  

(OBED nods his agreement.  JOSHUA is more frustrated.)

FATHER   I would like to emphasize the Law here again,
.        as most of you boys are over the age of 13.
.        As men, you should not be speaking to women
.        in public.  Not only could that lead you
.        into trouble, but that is beneath you.

JOSHUA   Our scripture from the other day mentioned
.        that fathers should teach the laws to their
.        CHILDREN – Is it not interesting that the
.        scripture does not use the word “sons” –
.        so that could imply women should be
.        treated the same–

(Overhearing this, ANNA sits up, shocked and impressed.)

FATHER   Interesting point, but - (tiredly) that is all,
.        class is finished for the day.

OBED     What about tomorrow’s assignment?

FATHER   Review the Laws.  You will recite them all
.        to me tomorrow.

.                       CITY SQUARE                        9

(ANNA is caught off-guard with the abrupt ending.
Clamoring to her feet, she realizes that she will be seen
walking away.  She dives behind the bush to hide herself.
The BOYS exit the classroom calmly at first.  Once
outside, they continue their game of catch.  Their “ball”
goes near the bushes.  JOSHUA retrieves the “ball” and
notices ANNA.  He calmly throws the ball to someone.)

JOSHUA   Ah, I just remembered, I have a question for
.        our teacher.  I will catch up with you later.

(ZEB goes into the house as the rest of the BOYS
disappear via different exits.  Then JOSHUA walks
around the bush and stands there nonchalantly.)

JOSHUA   Soooooo – (ANNA remains silent.)  Anna!?...
.        (JOSHUA refuses to leave until ANNA answers.)

ANNA     (finally…)  Yeeeess?

JOSHUA   Why, a talking bush! Will it also begin
.        to burn?  I expected God’s voice to be
.        deeper and more rumbling.

ANNA     (sternly)  You mustn’t make jokes like that.

JOSHUA   What are you doing here?

ANNA     I, aaaaaaah, - you should not be speaking to me.

(JOSHUA sits down on the ground and gets comfortable.
ANNA finally crawls to the other side of the bush,
but still hides herself as best as possible.)

JOSHUA   I’m not.  I’m speaking to a bush.  So,
.        were you following me?

ANNA     No!  Of course not!  Iiii...

JOSHUA   Yooouuu?...  Looove me?

ANNA     Puh!  I love to LEARN.  I have been –
.        listening in to classes ever since...

JOSHUA   (starting to be impressed)  Ever since when?
.                                                      10
ANNA     Ever since – Zeb started school.
.        Whenever I could get away, that is.

JOSHUA   Huh!... So what do you think?

ANNA     Lots of things!  What do you mean,
.        “what do I think?”

JOSHUA   (chuckling)  I guess that is a fairly broad
.        question.  Hm, let’s see. What do you think of –
.        this Jesus who is traveling the countryside?

ANNA     I – heard what you said in class – and – I would
.        agree with you.  I think He IS our Messiah.

JOSHUA   (joking)  What would your father think?

ANNA     You KNOW what he would think, Joshua!...
.        I’m serious, though - What else do you know?
.        What else have you heard?

JOSHUA   Did you know Jesus was born in Bethlehem?

ANNA     Yes.  And grew up in Nazareth.  What else?

JOSHUA   You do listen!  Okay, well...
.        after Jesus was born, they had to flee
.        to Egypt – fulfilling the prophet’s words,
.        “Out of Egypt did I call My Son.”

ANNA     Interesting!  Is there more?

JOSHUA   (intensely)  Yes.  Approximately 30 years ago,
.        there were magi from the East who had
.        followed the star.  They came to King Herod
.        asking about the Christ child...
.        King Herod had his men slay all boys in the
.        Bethlehem area - 2 years old and under.
.        This fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy, “A voice
.        was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning-“

ANNA     (continues the quote with new understanding)
.        “Rachel weeping for her children;
.        and she refused to be comforted,
.        because they were no more.”

JOSHUA   You – you know that.  (now wanting to impress)   11
.        My parents and I went to see John the Baptist.

ANNA     You did?  I have heard he is a very – strange man.

JOSHUA   He wore - rugged clothes – that’s for sure.
.        But he preached a message – of salvation.

ANNA     Salvation?  What is that?

JOSHUA   To repent and be baptized.

ANNA     (putting it to memory)  Repent.  Repent and
.        be baptized...  (back to Joshua) I have heard
.        people in the city square talk about that...
.        So - did you?

JOSHUA   (looking around first)  Yes.

ANNA     What was it like?

JOSHUA   Amazing.  Life changing.

ANNA     Did John the Baptist speak about - Jesus?

JOSHUA   He said that after baptizing Jesus,
.        he saw the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove
.        from heaven, and it stayed with Jesus.  This was
.        proof to him that Jesus IS the Son of God.

ANNA     (lingers on the image)  I just got chills.

JOSHUA   The king beheaded John the Baptist, you know.

ANNA     (sadly)  Oh...  I had not heard that...

JOSHUA   Ah, and I heard that Jesus will be back in
.        Capernaum soon! We could go listen to Him–

ANNA     Father would NEVER allow me – unless I could
.        slip away if - only – no!  Oh, I should be home
.        by now.  Thanks – for – ah -

(ANNA scrambles from the bushes and rushes to the house.
Seeing FATHER leave the classroom, JOSHUA gets up and
hurries away.  FATHER sees both kids as they dash off,
and shakes his head as he marches to the house.)
.                                                        12
.                         HOUSE

(MOTHER, SAVTA and ZEB are already in the house when ANNA
races inside and throws off her shawl.  She stops short.)

MOTHER   Just where were you?

FATHER   (entering)  She was near the school!

MOTHER   You were supposed to be cleaning the house!

ANNA     I – I did.

MOTHER   Not good enough.

FATHER   It’s worse.  She was talking with a boy!

(FATHER stares at MOTHER.  SAVTA tsks and shakes her head.)

MOTHER   (to FATHER) Why are you looking at ME like that?
.        This is not MY doing.

FATHER   (to MOTHER) Perhaps you should not be away
.        from the house so long.  Supper is not even
.        STARTED yet?

(MOTHER angrily turns and stirs something in a bowl.
ANNA takes a few timid steps forward to help.)

MOTHER   You were to start supper, too.

ANNA     I was not told –

(MOTHER glares at ZEB, then ANNA, who picks up a bowl to
stir.  MOTHER takes it away and points for her to leave.)

MOTHER   I should not HAVE to!  Go!  Out of my sight.

(ANNA slips by quickly into the house’s interior.
ZEB grimaces and shakes his head.  FATHER points to ZEB.)

FATHER   And YOU!  Study!  You’re an embarrassment to me.

(ZEB shields his eyes as he studies the papyrus.  MOTHER
quietly mixes things.  SAVTA slowly sets the table.)

FATHER   (to MOTHER)  How much longer?                    13

MOTHER   (sighing)  Sundown.

(FATHER exits angrily.)

.                          SQUARE

(FATHER wanders to the gate where a few MEN and TAAVI
talk.  Another PHARISEE stands there, straight and tall.)

MAN 1     TEACHER!  Come!  Enlighten us with your wisdom.

PHARISEE  Yes, help me convince these heretics
.         that they are going down the wrong trail.

FATHER    WHAT is the discussion?

MAN 1     Is this Jesus our Messiah?

FATHER    Only if He can rid us of these Romans and
.         get our land back!  THEN - I will believe!

PHARISEE  Yes!  Exactly.  Amen to that.

MEN       Amen!

(Only TAAVI doesn’t join in.  PHARISEE notices this.)

PHARISEE  You do not agree?

TAAVI     You know my son has been palsied since birth.
.         Would you not want to know there was a hope?
.         Or a reason WHY your son was born this way?

PHARISEE  That is simple.  YOU lead a life of sin, and
.         YOUR son is paying the price.  It is punishment.

FATHER    (daring)  Now, wait a minute.  I have known
.         this man since childhood.  Taavi is a fine
.         upstanding citizen and a brother.

PHARISEE  Perhaps his wife?

FATHER    (nods while thinking)  Hm.

(FATHER takes note of TAAVI’S downcast expression.)
.                                                        14
.                          HOUSE

(ANNA peeks her head inside the room where MOTHER keeps
working on supper.  ANNA is clearly upset and tries
to call her over without distracting ZEB from his studies
and SAVTA from her sewing project.)

ANNA      Mother...  Mother!

MOTHER    Do not speak to me.  Unless to apologize.

ANNA      I apologize.  But –

MOTHER    (swinging around)  But what?

(ANNA is very anxious about something, and wants MOTHER
to read her mind.  ANNA glances at BRO a few times,
not wanting him to know what she has to say.)

MOTHER    Out with it!

ANNA      Could you - come away with me so we can speak?

MOTHER    I need to get supper ready!  The supper
.         you were to have ready!  Speak here!

ANNA      I think – I need to go – to – ah - I –

MOTHER    WHAAAAAT?!

ANNA      I have – become – (quieter) a “woman”.

MOTHER    WHAT?

(SAVTA rolls her eyes and holds hands over ZEB’S ears.)

ANNA      It – started.  I am – (quieter) “unclean”.

MOTHER    Ohhh... Well, away with you then.  Quickly!
.         Do not touch anyone or anything.  Have I not
.         given you preparation talks on this very thing?
.         So it is happening, away with you. Now! Quickly!

(ANNA desperately looking around.  MOTHER goes into a
cabinet and pulls out a little bundle and puts it on the
table.  ANNA then takes it – only touching the bundle.)
.                                                       15
MOTHER    Make sure everything has been purified
.         before you return.

(Upset, ANNA slips out into the square.  SAVTA releases
ZEB’S ears and strokes his hair.  ZEB rolls his eyes.)

ZEB       Was that necessary?

SAVTA     Yes.

.                           TENT

(ELORA lies on a cot or straw with her back turned away.
WOMAN 5 sits in a corner on a cot or bale.  WOMAN 5
notices ANNA shyly entering the tent.  GEFEN sees her and
waves weakly but remains curled up in pain on her cot.)

ANNA      Hi, Gefen, I – I saw your sisters today.

WOMAN 5   Come in...  Come in.  Don’t look so distraught.
.         (ANNA takes one awkward step, then stops.)
.         This is your first time, dear?  (ANNA nods.)
.         Well, get used to it.  It happens every month.
.         (ANNA looks at ELORA.)  Or if you are cursed,
.         as she is, it never stops.  (motions to a cot)
.         Sit.  Please.  (ANNA finally sits down.)
.         And cheer up.  It is not so bad.  Especially
.         if you are one of the fortunate ones.
.         It is a blessing if you have no pain.
.         (as ANNA sobs, she tries to lighten the mood)
.         Think of it this way.  Once a month, for
.         seven days, we get a break from all the men.
.         No cooking, cleaning, or being ordered about –
.         it is a kind of holiday, really.
.         (ANNA smiles slightly, until ELORA groans.)
.         That is Elora.  She is in a very bad way.
.         She has been hemorrhaging for twelve years.

ANNA      She’s had her monthlies for twelve years?!

WOMAN 5   Well, something like that.  Doctors have
.         tried to figure it all out.  And they’ve
.         done stuff to her.  (shaking her head)
.         Sounds like they tortured her, more like it,
.         and only made it worse...  Poor dear,
.         I don’t know how long she will last.
.                                                        16
ELORA     (struggles to turn around)  I’m not dead yet...
.         Hello, dear.  What is your name?

ANNA      Anna.  My father is the Pharisee who teaches
.         at the school.

ELORA     Oh, yes, I - have heard about him.  He is
.         a good man, very wise.  What news do you have?

ANNA      What news did you want?

ELORA     Anything...  I never leave this tent.
.         So any news lets me feel like
.         I’m still part of the community.

WOMAN 5   I’ve caught her up with all the latest gossip –
.         Unless you know anything more about
.         Maris’s spat with her neighbor?

ANNA      (shakes head and thinks)  There is a Man called
.         Jesus.  Some people say that He is our Messiah.

WOMAN 5   Ah, boring.  Man’s talk.

ANNA      It is not boring.  He has a life-changing
.         message that He preaches.  It’s causing
.         quite a stir.  Especially since He has
.         had conversations with women - in public.
.         Even with a SAMARITAN woman...

WOMAN 5   Sounds like a man who should not be trusted.

ANNA      And He does miracles.

WOMAN 5   (skeptically)  What kind of miracles?

ANNA      He changed water into wine.  AND...
.         He has healed people.

ELORA     What sort of things can He heal?

ANNA      (shrugs) I-I suppose – anything.  I am not sure.

WOMAN 5   Well, even if He CAN heal you – you’re unclean.
.         How would you get to Him? You must remain here-

.                           ACT 2                        17
.                        CITY SQUARE

(ZEB meets up with JOSHUA, OBED and some BOYS.)

JOSHUA    Hey, Zeb.  Where’s your sister?

ZEB       Why do you want to know?

BOY 1     She’s nice to look at, right Joshua?

ZEB       Do not talk that way about my sister!

BOY 2     Maybe Joshua wants to marry her.

ZEB       Just stop it!

JOSHUA    (laughing)  Well, whether I do or not –
.         one day – that will happen to all of us.

(LITTLE BOY winces disgust.  OBED stares at JOSHUA.)

OBED      Has your father made arrangements for Anna yet?

ZEB       I do not know.  I really do not care –

OBED      But you should.  If anything happened to your
.         father, you would be in charge over her.

ZEB       Oi, so much responsibility and pressure –
.         and things to learn.

(BOYS walk to the school but exit instead as lights dim.)

.                           HOUSE

(ANNA enters from square.  MOTHER wipes the counter area,
as SAVTA wipes the table.  They both look up at her.)

MOTHER   Your time is done, then?  (ANNA nods.)
.        You properly cleansed yourself?  And you went
.        to the temple to have two pigeons sacrificed?
.        (ANNA nods again, a little more emphatically.)
.        Well, my time is coming soon.  And since you are
.        a woman now, you can run the household while
.        I am gone, since Savta is getting too old.

(SAVTA perks her head up at this.)                       18

MOTHER   (to SAVTA)  No offense, Savta!
.        (to ANNA)  But she will help.

ANNA     What if it happens - we are both gone?

MOTHER   Savta will manage as much as she is able to
.        at her age.  No offense, Savta.

ANNA     What if we ALL –

MOTHER   Savta is well past that point. No offense Savta.

SAVTA    None taken!

MOTHER   (to ANNA)  Now, you are sure you have cleansed
.        yourself properly?

ANNA     (exasperated)  And went to the temple!

MOTHER   Then help.  Father and Zeb should be home soon.

(ANNA puts dishes on the table as MOTHER pulls out food.)

ANNA     It is not a school day?

MOTHER   They went to hear Jesus. (ANNA stops, confused.)
.        I do not understand why you care so much.
.        The Pharisees hope to catch Jesus in a mistake –
.        so they can – get RID of Him.

ANNA     Get rid of Him?

(FATHER and ZEB enter and sit down.  The WOMEN finish
their tasks quickly.  As soon as the women join them,
they all bow their heads and wait for FATHER to pray.)

FATHER   Our Lord God Almighty, we thank You for the food
.        You have provided us... (then quickly) Amen.

(FATHER begins to eat.  ANNA slowly looks up, curious
at the very short prayer.  They all begin eating quietly.
ANNA keeps looking at FATHER, wanting to ask questions.
MOTHER and SAVTA shake their heads to stop ANNA,
but she finally blurts out.)

ANNA     I heard you went to hear Jesus.                  19
.        (FATHER nods and continues eating.)
.        So did anything happen?

ZEB      There were TONS of people.  Jesus had to get
.        into a boat and push off a ways, then spoke
.        from there, to everyone standing on the shore.

ANNA     What did He say?

ZEB      He kept going on and on about “repentance.”

ANNA     (digesting that)  Hm, “repentance” again.

ZEB      And He had the nerve to claim that
.        “the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
.        Oh, and as we were all walking back into town,
.        Jesus went to Simon’s house,
.        and somehow cured his mother-in-law.

MOTHER   What was wrong with Raizel?

ANNA     I heard she had a horrible fever.

ZEB      Well, it’s gone now.

FATHER   (seething)  He used some sort of trickery.

MOTHER   I know that family.  They are a solid family.
.        I cannot see them joining in such –
.        fiascoes.

FATHER   Well, He is gone now.  But if He returns,
.        I will be there to CATCH Him in His trickery.

MOTHER   You could be rewarded for such.

FATHER   (anger finally boils over)
.        It is not so much for a reward!  I do not like
.        the way He distracts the people from obeying
.        the Law.  Which just PROVES right THERE
.        that He CANNOT be the Messiah.  The Messiah
.        will bring about perfect obedience –
.        and Jesus – is causing people to disobey!

(EVERYONE now knows it is best to remain quiet.)

.                          SQUARE                        20

(PEOPLE walk about the square.  When FATHER walks from
the house toward the gate, MATTHEW steps out.)

MATTHEW  Teacher!  Good timing.  You have some taxes
.        which are now outstanding.

FATHER   I just paid –

MATTHEW  The Romans have instituted an extra
.        property tax for every porch and patio.

FATHER   And what next?  A tax for every flower I plant?
.        How can I be sure that you are not making up
.        these taxes yourself?  OR the amounts that
.        you state?

MATTHEW  You must ask your representative – oh – wait –
.        that would be me.  The Roman law is behind me
.        so I can have anybody arrested if they
.        do not comply.

FATHER   How can you live with yourself?!

(ANNA leaves house and goes to well with the water jugs.)

MATTHEW  Is that your servant?  I see her bringing water
.        to your house every day.  There is another
.        tax for every servant that you have.

FATHER   THAT - is my daughter!  With all your tax hikes,
.        I certainly cannot afford any servants.
.        How many do YOU have?

(MATTHEW smiles sheepishly then enters his building.
FATHER continues walking toward the temple and exits.
ANNA puts the jars down when JOSHUA enters from gate.)

JOSHUA   Anna!  Hi.

ANNA     Joshua – (realizing and looking around)
.        Ah, Father must not see us together!

JOSHUA   I saw your Father and brother at the shore
.        listening to Jesus the other day.

ANNA     Ahh, yes, well, they were there more to –     21
.        CATCH Jesus in a mistake.
.        (hurriedly begins to fill the jars with water)
.        I really must get the water –

(JOSHUA reaches out his arms to take a jug.  
ANNA pulls it away, but has to smile a little.)

ANNA     What are you doing?  Are you MAD?

JOSHUA   I just want to help.  Is there anything wrong
.        with that?  (taking a jar from ANNA to fill)

ANNA     (shyly)  Nooo, it’s just weird.
.        Why would a man want to do a woman’s work?

JOSHUA   It’s what we should do as followers.

ANNA     Follower of what?  Men doing women’s work?

JOSHUA   (laughing)  Followers of Jesus.
.        Instead of expecting to be served, we should
.        serve one another.  Are you a follower?

ANNA     I – think I am.  I don’t know.

JOSHUA   Have you repented?

ANNA     (quickly)  What exactly does that mean?

JOSHUA   To ask God to forgive your sins.
.        And then - God forgives your sins.
.        And you begin to live your life differently.
.        To be more - Christ-like.

ANNA     To be like Jesus?

JOSHUA   Yes.  To be – like God.  To be – godly.
.        To be without sin.  To be holy.

(ANNA puts down her water jug and paces, thinking.
JOSHUA watches her, amused.  ANNA finally stops
and looks at him.)

ANNA     But – I cannot - be perfect.  I make mistakes,
.        practically every day!  It would be impossible
.        to be perfect.
.                                                       23
JOSHUA   Yes, on your own it is.  But with God, anything
.        is possible.  That is the point.  You must put
.        your faith in God to forgive all your sins.
.        Then HE begins to change you, from the inside.

ANNA     So this would be in place of going to temple
.        and constantly having to sacrifice animals
.        for the forgiveness of sins - for this and that?

JOSHUA   Jesus has called Himself the Lamb of God.
.        I still do not really understand that one,
.        but I believe Jesus will take care of things.
.        So God can forgive all your sins – once and
.        for all - and then in His eyes – He sees you
.        as holy and clean...  when you repent.

ANNA     (thinking, then realizing)  Of course.
.        I do believe that.  I do - repent.
.        (looking up)  I do repent.  I do not want to be
.        a sinner.  I mean, I am!  I am a sinner.
.        But I certainly do not want to be.  I repent!

(ANNA and JOSHUA are both so overjoyed that they fling
their arms open ready to embrace to each, but realize
they shouldn’t.  They then maybe touch their shoulders,
but finally shake hands – barely touching.  ANNA then goes
to pick up a water jug, but JOSHUA beats her to it.)

ANNA     Joshua, stop, what will people think?

JOSHUA   I’ve already been banned from your father’s
.        classes.  (seeing ANNA’s worried expression)
.        It’s okay.  I’ve decided, I am going to
.        catch up and join the group.
.        So Jesus, Himself, will be my teacher.
.           (hoists jar to shoulder, ANNA takes the other,
.           then talk as they walk toward the house)
.        They just started traveling to Galilee,
.        and I’m sure I can catch up to them.
.        You can come with us.

ANNA     I can’t –

JOSHUA   No-no–of course, I understand.  Wow, this water
.        is heavy.  You do this every day?

ANNA     (nods, then takes jug from JOSHUA)              23
.        Thank you.  Take care.  I’ll – miss you.

JOSHUA   I’ll be back...  Will you – ah - wait for me?

(ANNA nods, then JOSHUA smiles, waves and jogs out.  
ANNA thinks, then with a smile, she turns and goes inside.)

.                           HOUSE

(SAVTA is inside waiting, and shakes her head and tsks.)

ANNA     Savta, were you listening?

SAVTA    No! - But you are playing with fire!

ANNA     (looking around)  Where’s Mother?

SAVTA    Went to market without me.  Here, work!

(SAVTA holds out stitch work to ANNA.  She takes it and
they start sewing.  ANNA finally breaks the silence.)

ANNA     Savta, do you believe in love?

SAVTA    I believe in God.

ANNA     God is love.

SAVTA    Oooo-kaaay.

ANNA     God loves us, and we should love God.  And so,
.        we should we love our brothers and sisters?

SAVTA    Yeessss.  We are commanded to do so.

ANNA     And we should love even our enemies?

SAVTA    That is what the scriptures say.

ANNA     Then we should love Jesus.

SAVTA    (gasps, then tsks and shakes her head)
.        You are a tricky, girl.  Tricky-tricky girl.
.        You will be stoned for such talk.

(ANNA works silently for a few moments.)
.                                                       24
ANNA     Savta, don’t you ever have questions?

SAVTA    No!  (sighing)  And if one WOULD have
.        questions, it is best kept in your heart.
.        The walls can grow ears.

(ANNA glances around suspiciously.)

.                         SQUARE

(FATHER comes from temple and meets ITAMAR at the gate.)

FATHER   Itamar!  Good day to you.

ITAMAR   Teacher, I have some business to discuss.
.        (nervously)  My wife saw your daughter in the
.        tent the other day.  So your Anna is now
.        a woman... Have you arranged for a husband yet?

FATHER   I have been biding my time waiting for –
.        the right arrangement.

ITAMAR   Might you consider my son, Obed?

FATHER   I know him well.  He is one of my better
.        students.  You should be very proud of him.

ITAMAR   I am, yes.  And... (waits for people to pass)
.        Do you think Obed stands any chance to become
.        a Pharisee one day?

FATHER   I believe he has that potential, yes.

ITAMAR   Although, I am sure you are honing your own son
.        for such a position.

FATHER   (cautiously)  I have high hopes for my son.

ITAMAR   Well, I will let my son, Obed know that we have
.        begun talks regarding an arrangement.

(FATHER returns home.  ITAMAR turns to find MATTHEW.)

MATTHEW  Itamar, how pleasant to run into you in such
.        a timely matter.

ITAMAR   Actually, I do not have the time -            25

MATTHEW  Yes, that’s just it – you ARE running out
.        of time for this month’s payment.
.        You will need to bring it by tomorrow?

(ITAMAR stomps away.  MATTHEW smirks with satisfaction,
then frowns and looks around before exiting.)

.                         HOUSE

(FAMILY sits around the table, eating.)

FATHER   Anna?

ANNA     (weakly and fearful)  Yes?

FATHER   I was speaking to Obed’s father today.

(MOTHER perks up with keen interest.)

SAVTA    Oooooh.  (then clamps a hand over her mouth)

FATHER   Itamar has initiated talks regarding
.        a marriage arrangement between Obed and Anna.

ANNA     No!  I mean, I want to marry Josh-ua.  I mean -
.        (realizes her mistake in blurting this out)
.        Well, I am NOT marrying Obed.

(FATHER stews in anger at the defiance.)

MOTHER   (quickly)  Why not?!  Obed is a fine boy.

ANNA     He is not - a believer.

FATHER   Not a believer?  What exactly do you mean
.        by THAT?  He is a proper Israelite who
.        knows and obeys the law.  Why, he recited
.        them all to me just a while ago.

ANNA     That’s not enough!  Knowing the law and
.        perfectly obeying the law are
.        two different things.

FATHER   YOU - will teach ME lessons on the Law?

ANNA     Without believing in Jesus, you cannot be      26
.        in perfect obedience.

FATHER   I did not hear you say that...
.        You will marry Obed.

ANNA     Father, if you love me, I hope you can
.        understand–I’m a... believer.  And I wish
.        to marry someone who believes exactly as I do.

FATHER   You would act defiantly?  This is punishable
.        by death.

MOTHER   Anna, correct this now!  The scriptures are
.        very clear.  You must obey your parents.

ANNA     I DO care about being obedient.  But I cannot
.        marry someone who will argue with me about this.

MOTHER   The scriptures are clear there TOO.  You must
.        obey your husband.  Arguing shows disrespect.

ANNA     The scriptures are also clear that I should
.        obey God above all else.  But how can I do that,
.        if I am not allowed to ask questions
.        or reason things out for myself?

(FATHER stares at MOTHER, then at SAVTA and ZEB,
who try to look innocent.  FATHER swings back to ANNA.)

FATHER   From where are these questions and
.        scriptures suddenly coming?

ZEB      (blurting out)  This is NOT so sudden.
.        (FATHER stares, until ZEB shrugs sheepishly)
.        She’s been prying me for information
.        ever since I started school.

(FATHER doesn’t know how to react.)

ANNA     Moses writes in the Pentateuch, “You shall
.        not plow with an ox and a donkey together.”
.        I want to marry someone who shares my beliefs,
.        or we shall be plowing in circles.

(FATHER still does not respond.)

ZEB      You’re not going to stone her, are you?       27

MOTHER   (pleading ANNA’S case)  She has not yet
.        made any sort of public stand of defiance.

FATHER   (carefully)  No.  No she has not.  In fact,
.        she has only asked questions.  These were all just
.        questions, were they not?  There is nothing
.        against asking questions.  And she is just
.        unsure of her compatibility with Obed.
.        (ANNA gasps)  I did not set any firm commitment
.        on this arrangement.

ANNA     So I can –

FATHER   YOU! - You will keep quiet in public.
.        And you will stay far away from Joshua.
.        Obviously, he has influenced you
.        and put these strange ideas into your head.
.        If you have any questions about the scriptures,
.        you will ask me about them here at home.
.        You have put me in a very difficult position.
.        If anyone else hears a hint of any of this –
.        I cannot save you.

(ANNA stews silently.)

.                        SQUARE

(PEOPLE surround JESUS as they enter upper stage right.
JOSHUA breaks off from the crowd and looks around.
MATTHEW enters from gated area.  Seeing JESUS approach
with PETER, JAMES and JOHN, MATTHEW quickly exits into
his office.  JESUS and the crowd exit through the gate.
ANNA comes from the house with her water jugs and
notices the crowd leaving.  Thinking she can catch a
glimpse of JESUS, she stands on tiptoes craning her neck.
In her search she sees JOSHUA.  ANNA quickly turns around
and tries to leave without being seen.  Too late.)

JOSHUA   Anna, I’m back.  We’re all- Wait, what’s wrong?

ANNA     I cannot be seen talking with you.

JOSHUA   But I want to know, can my father approach
.        your father to discuss marriage?

ANNA     Ohhhh... (looks away)  Don’t look at me.       28

JOSHUA   (turns head away)  You – don’t want me to –

ANNA     I do!  (JOSHUA looks back at ANNA hopefully.)
.        But don’t look at me!  (JOSHUA looks away)
.        I cannot be seen talking with you.  Just
.        pretend – that we do not really see each other.

JOSHUA   (shrugs off his confusion and plays along)
.        My, what a lovely – boat out there.  I wonder -
.        if that boat will sail or sink?

ANNA     Oh, why do things have to be so complicated!
.        Father knows that you are a follower of Jesus.
.        If he is asked now, he will say no.

JOSHUA   So... I will wait.  And pray.

ANNA     Yes, pray!  I will pray too.  But –
.        I must go now.

(JOSHUA watches ANNA as she rushes home.  ZEB and OBED
come from temple to see the end of this conversation.)

OBED     (starts for JOSHUA)  Who does he think he is?

ZEB      (holds OBED back)  Obed, calm yourself.
.        I’ll take care of this.

OBED     You tell Joshua that Anna is spoken for?

ZEB      Just go home.  I’ll take care of this.

(OBED stomps off while glaring at JOSHUA.  JOSHUA warily
watches OBED walk by, then ZEB as he approaches him.)

JOSHUA   Am I to expect trouble from you?

ZEB      No.  But I do want to caution you:
.        Anna is not to be seen with you.

JOSHUA   I know, it is not appropriate to be speaking
.        with a girl –

ZEB      It’s more than that now.  It is the difference
.        between life and death.
.                                                        29
JOSHUA   You would have me stoned?

ZEB      No, Anna - would be publicly defying Father.

JOSHUA   Oh...  (sadly)  Okay.  I understand.

.                           HOUSE

(ANNA and SAVTA work on a sewing project.  MOTHER enters
from the house interior and gets her bundle.)

MOTHER   (lightly)  I will see you in seven days.

(MOTHER goes into the square.  Once she is gone,
ANNA looks at SAVTA pleadingly.)

ANNA     Savta, I must go to the market.

SAVTA    But we do not need anything.

ANNA     Sure, we do.  Ah... (looks around hopefully)
.        We need... flour.  We are very low on flour.

SAVTA    Then, I must go with you.
.        I am very low on – thread.

(SAVTA quickly puts her sewing behind her back.
ANNA sighs with a smirk, then helps SAVTA get up.)

.                          SQUARE

(ANNA and SAVTA leave the house and approach the well.
ANNA sees a swarm of people off to the side at Simon’s
house at center stage right, right behind their house.)

ANNA     Look.  He must be in there.
.        Jesus must be at Simon’s house.
.        I just know it.
.        See all the people crowding to get in.
.        (ANNA looks behind her and gasps)
.        Huh!  And there’s Father.  Get down.

(ANNA pushes SAVTA to the ground behind the well.
FATHER walks from the temple to the back of the crowd.
TAAVI rushes out from upper stage right and sees him.)

TAAVI    Teacher, help me?  Please help me.              30
.        I need to get my son, Reuben,
.        into that house to see Jesus.

FATHER   Taavi, your son has been palsied since birth.
.        There is no way ANYONE could ever heal him.

TAAVI    If it was your child, would you not even try?

FATHER   (laughs)  Look, it would be impossible
.        to even just get into that house -
.        unless you’re a Pharisee, so – I’m sorry.

TAAVI    But you ARE a Pharisee.  Please,
.        help me think of a way.

FATHER   I’d say your best chance is if you could
.        fly through the roof and land right beside Him.
.        (laughing, he pushes his way through the crowd)
.        (to the PEOPLE)  Make way, I wish to enter.

MAN 3    Make way!  Pharisee coming through!

(FATHER disappears.  TAAVI looks at a few people.)

TAAVI    Come!  Help me!  I have an idea.

(As TAAVI and some men disappear in the direction of
Simon’s house, MATTHEW walks around the scene and
sees ANNA and SAVTA peeking over the edge of the well.)

MATTHEW  What are you women doing there?

ANNA     Oh, ah, my Savta is tired – simply exhausted.

(ANNA quickly gets a cup of water to give to SAVTA.
SAVTA plays along, fanning herself, then grabs the water
with shaky hands and tries to drink.)

MATTHEW  Exhausted!?  Your father must use
.        big words at the dinner table.

(MATTHEW goes to sit on a bench by his office.  Unsure of
MATTHEW, ANNA cautiously goes back to watch the crowd.)

SAVTA    What’s happening now?

ANNA     It looks like they made a hole                  31
.        in the roof of the house!

SAVTA    Oh!  Raizel is NOT going to like that.
.        If that was our house, your mother
.        would have a fit.

ANNA     I’d give anything to see Jesus.

(MEN carry REUBEN out on a stretcher from upper stage
right and around to center stage right to “Simon’s
house”.  REUBEN is completely twisted up and twitches
ever so often.  ANNA perks up as she sees this.)

ANNA     It looks like maybe Taavi’s son will.  Look,
.        they’re letting him down through the roof.

(ANNA and SAVTA sit still – waiting for something
to happen.  The CROWD becomes hushed.  SAVTA tsks.)

ANNA     (getting worried)  It’s too quiet.
.        We should probably go back home now.

(ANNA helps SAVTA up and leads her back to the house.)

SAVTA    Ah, suddenly we do not need flour?

ANNA     We – have a little left.  We will go tomorrow.

SAVTA    So you can maybe just bump into someone, like –
.        Jesus?  Or maybe – Joshua?

ANNA     Savta!

SAVTA    Either one means trouble for you.

(After ANNA and SAVTA enter the house,
REUBEN bounds out into the square, jumping for joy.  
TAAVI comes jumping outafter him to hug him.)

REUBEN   I’m healed!  I’m healed!  Jesus healed me.
.        Praise God.  Praise Jesus.  Praise God.

TAAVI    I can’t believe my eyes and ears. Praise Jesus.

(TAAVI and REUBEN exit upper stage right, arm in arm.)

.                          HOUSE                         32

(Minus MOTHER, the FAMILY sits around the table,
eating in silence.  ZEB finally addresses FATHER.)

ZEB      Did you go?  Were you there?  I heard that
.        Taavi and a few men made a big hole
.        in the roof and lowered Reuben down to Jesus.
.        So what happened?

FATHER   Jesus healed him.

ZEB      With trickery?

FATHER   Unless Reuben has pretended to be palsied
.        all his life.

ZEB      What are you saying?

FATHER   I don’t know.  I do not know how anyone could
.        heal a man like that. He was completely healed.

ZEB      Jesus did not break any laws?

FATHER   Hah!  Jesus said to Reuben,
.        “Your sins are forgiven.”

ZEB      Only God can forgive sins, right?

FATHER   Exactly!  That is exactly what I was
.        thinking too.  And then He read my mind.
.        Jesus looked right at us Scribes and Pharisees
.        and He told us our very thoughts.
.        He told us exactly what we were thinking.
.        Then He asked, “Which is easier to say
.        to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’
.        or to say ‘Rise and walk’?”

ZEB      Well, anyone can say,
.        ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

ANNA     But not to ACTUALLY forgive a person’s sins!

(FATHER glares at ANNA and she shrinks back.)

ZEB      Yes, but to say ‘rise and walk’ –
.        then you actually have to heal the person.
.                                                       33
FATHER   Well, Jesus did that, without question.
.        Somehow!  But He then said,
.        “In order that you may know
.        that the Son of Man has authority
.        on earth to forgive sins!”... FORGIVE SINS!
.        Who does Jesus think He is?!

ANNA     But you just admitted that Jesus healed Reuben.

FATHER   We are highly suspicious that He gets His powers
.        from the ruler of the demons.

ANNA     What?  THAT’S – ugh - no.

(SAVTA keeps her mouth tightly closed.)

FATHER   Jesus MUST get His powers from the demons.
.        That’s all there is too it.

(ANNA closes her mouth, discouraged.  ZEB nods as if
he agrees with his father’s idea.  SAVTA remains quiet.)

.                          SQUARE

(A crowd surrounds JESUS as they walk from upper stage
right across to where MATTHEW is sitting at the entrance
to his shop.  MATTHEW looks for an escape, but realizes
that JESUS is looking straight at him.  MATTHEW seems
powerless to move now.  As JESUS studies MATTHEW’S eyes,
MATTHEW’s face becomes one of regret and humility.)

JESUS    Follow me!

(MATTHEW looks up with hope, stands and follows the group
to “Matthew’s house” exiting through the gate.)

.                          HOUSE

(FATHER sits at the table looking over a scroll.
PHARISEE knocks on the door and FATHER goes to answer.)

FATHER    I’ve been going over scriptures to see if I can
.         find anything to discredit Jesus.

PHARISEE  Jesus has gone over to the house of Matthew,
.         you know, the tax gatherer.
.                                                         34
FATHER    Why would He do that?  What is He up to now?

PHARISEE  People are saying that Matthew is now
.         one of Jesus’ disciples.

FATHER    What?  Right there.  That should discredit Jesus.
.         If He truly was our Messiah,
.         He would make the Pharisees His Disciples.
.         Not some tax gatherer who works for the Romans.
.         Who clearly collects extra money from us
.         to keep for himself.  That traitor and thief.

PHARISEE  Well, then you will not approve of
.         the other things we saw when we followed them.
.         They went over to Matthew’s house,
.         and had a party.  We watched from the doorway.
.         And there Jesus sat, eating and drinking
.         and talking with - not only Matthew, but
.         with – women – and let us just say it –
.         with well-known prostitutes.

FATHER    I would have pointed this out –

PHARISEE  We did.  And Jesus said something about –
.         it is the sick who need to see a doctor.

FATHER    What are we to do?  

PHARISEE  We want you to follow Him and keep your eyes
.         on His every move.

FATHER    What about the school?

PHARISEE  I will take over for now.  But you must hurry.
.         We hear they are getting ready to leave.

(FATHER grabs a cloak, then he and PHARISEE exit.)

.                           TENT

(MOTHER is half asleep when ELORA’s talking wakes her up.)

ELORA     Is – is anyone there?

MOTHER    Yes, Elora, I’m the only one here right now.
.         Did you need anything?
.                                                         35
ELORA     Have you more news about Jesus?

MOTHER    Why would I have news about Jesus?

ELORA     Anna is your daughter, yes?  Such a lovely
.         girl.  Has such a love for people.
.         She has certainly been brought up - properly.

MOTHER    Thank you.

ELORA     When she’s here, she tells me all about Jesus.

MOTHER    Oh?  Does she now?

ELORA     He is still healing people?

MOTHER    As far as I know.  Those are the rumors.  But
.         Jesus is a dangerous man.  It is very upsetting.
.         Because, we are not even sure where His powers
.         actually come from.

ELORA     But Anna has said –

MOTHER    No!  No, I do I want to hear
.         what my daughter has said.  Please,
.         do not encourage Anna in any of this,
.         or connect her to any such talk.

ELORA     I see.  So your husband must not be in agreement.

MOTHER    That would be an understatement.

ELORA     Then there is bad-will between your husband
.         and Anna...  Yes?

MOTHER    I am afraid for my daughter.  Put it that way.
.         Sorry, I should not have said as much.  Please,
.         forget everything I have just said, and
.         certainly forget anything that Anna has ever
.         said.  She’s just a girl, and easily confused.

ELORA     So many people are willing to put themselves
.         in danger for this Man. Isn’t that interesting?

MOTHER    Yes, very – interesting.

.                           ACT 3                        36
.                           HOUSE

(ANNA studies the scroll that FATHER has left on
the table.  As ZEB enters, ANNA quickly gets back to
making the meal.  ZEB eyes the scroll and then ANNA.)

ZEB       I should take this back to the temple before
.         it is missed.

(ZEB speaks as he carefully rolls the scroll up.)

ANNA      How is school now that Father is not
.         the teacher?

ZEB       Better.  AND worse.

ANNA      How is it better?

ZEB       I am not constantly disappointing Father.

ANNA      Well then, how is it worse?

ZEB       I am now learning how to disappoint yet
.         another teacher.

(MOTHER enters with the bundle and puts it away.)

MOTHER    Where is your Father?

ANNA      He disappeared.

MOTHER    What?

ANNA      We haven’t seen him in days.

MOTHER    What?!

ZEB       Oh, Teacher told us - Father was sent out
.         to follow Jesus.

MOTHER    (sitting down)  WHAT?!!

SAVTA     (enters from interior room)  Oh, hello.

MOTHER    Will someone please explain?

ZEB       Father has –                                    37

FATHER    (entering)  Father has returned.

MOTHER    (perplexed)  You have returned – from
.         following – Jesus!?

ZEB       Did He give you the slip?

FATHER    I have returned because Jesus has returned.

ANNA      He’s back, in Capernaum?!

ZEB       (holding out the scroll for FATHER to take)
.         Where did you all go?

FATHER    We followed Jesus to Galilee, where He healed
.         a man’s withered hand – ON the Sabbath.
.         A bunch of us met with the Herodians.

ZEB       I thought you cannot stand the Herodians.

FATHER    We all want the same thing – we want to find
.         a way to destroy Jesus.

ANNA      W-why must you destroy Jesus?

FATHER    He is disrupting the land, and usurping our
.         leadership and authority.

ANNA      But how?

FATHER    How can you understand these things?
.         There are multitudes – wandering about the
.         land, looking for Him just to listen to what
.         He says.  And when they do find Him,
.         the amount grows.  There were so many people –
.         He had to stand on the side of a hill.
.         And they lapped up every word He said.

MOTHER    Anna, do not concern yourself with things meant
.         for men.  I’m sure your father knows exactly
.         what he’s doing.

(MOTHER turns ANNA around to work.  ANNA listens as
she works, peeking over her shoulders every so often.)

ZEB       What is Jesus saying now?  Anything to         38
.         incriminate Himself?

FATHER    He DARED to say that He was not trying to
.         ABOLISH the Law, but to FULFILL the Law.
.         If that was not enough, He said:
.         if your righteousness does not SURPASS
.         that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall
.         not enter the kingdom of heaven.  This is
.         saying that I, a Pharisee, could not make it
.         into heaven because I am not righteous enough!?
.         Can you imagine?  And if THAT wasn’t offensive
.         enough, He actually began to ADD to the law.
.         Things like: if you are angry with your
.         brother, it is as bad as murder?  If you have
.         lust in your heart it is as bad as adultery?
.         Impossible!

ANNA      (turns around)  Jesus WILL fulfill these.
.         I don’t know how, but Jesus will do it for us.

FATHER    Of course you do not know how, because this
.         is impossible.

ANNA      Not if He is God.

FATHER    I must be very tired.  I am sure you did
.         not say anything just now.
ZEB       I heard He even raised a man from the dead.

FATHER    We are now VERY sure that His powers are
.         demonic.  Him and His followers have powers
.         over the demons as they heal the possessed.
.         And He even allows prostitutes to touch Him
.         and anoint Him with perfume.  It is despicable.

(MOTHER turns ANNA around again.  SAVTA tsks.  
FATHER exits with the scroll.)

.                          SQUARE

(ANNA leaves house with bundle. JOSHUA enters from gate.)

JOSHUA    Anna!  Are you joining us?  Are you coming
.         to hear Jesus?

ANNA      Stand away.  Don’t touch me!
.                                                         39
JOSHUA   (stops, looks hurt)
.        But I can look at you now?

(ANNA mouths the words “I am unclean.”  JOSHUA mouths
the words, “What?”  ANNA shakes her head and tries again,
“I am unclean.”  GIRLS 1-3 come from upper stage right.)

GIRL 1   She’s UNCLEAN!

(JOSHUA turns to look back at the GIRLS, then to ANNA.)

JOSHUA   Oh!  How awkward.

(ANNA rushes off stage right.)

GIRL 1   (laughing and shrugging)  Sorry.

(GIRLS giggle as they exit through the gate.  JOSHUA
slaps his forehead, then exits upper stage right.)

.                          TENT

(ELORA and WOMAN 1 are in the tent. ANNA enters, crying.)

WOMAN 1  What’s the matter?

ANNA     Ah-ohhh, so much!  And then, to add to
.        everything, Jesus is back, and I want
.        more than anything to see Him.

ELORA    Jesus, is back, you say?

ANNA     Yes. And now I will be here for days.
.        By the time this if finished,
.        He will probably be gone.

ELORA    I will go.

WOMAN 1  Elora, you cannot.

ELORA    I must.

WOMAN 1  You’re unclean.  You will get into trouble.

ELORA    What trouble is worse than this? (getting up)

WOMAN 1  But see, the strain on your body when           40
.        you walk will make your bleeding worse.
.        You could DIE in your efforts.

ELORA    Jesus - is my only hope.

ANNA     Yes.  He IS your only hope. (helping ELORA)
.        I will pray that you make it to Him.

(As ANNA helps ELORA leave the tent, WOMAN 1 frets.)

WOMAN 1  I understand why you want to see Him.
.        But it’s just the way things are,
.        and have always been - you are leaving
.        while you are unclean.  This-this will end
.        very badly, I fear.

ELORA    Thank you, dear.  You stay here.  
.        I do not want you to be in trouble too.

(Once ELORA is gone, ANNA turns around to face WOMAN 1.)

ANNA     What?

WOMAN 1  I don’t know.  I’m just glad that’s not me -
.        going out there – like THAT.

ANNA     And what?  Will they ban her from the city?
.        She IS already banned.  What can they do to her
.        that is worse than what she has already
.        gone through?

(WOMAN 1 wants to continue fretting, but ANNA pulls her
to her knees beside her.)

ANNA     Come, help me pray for Elora.

(WOMAN 1 is not sure, but timidly joins in praying.)

.                          SQUARE

(MOTHER and SAVTA wait by the well as WOMAN 2 fetches
water.  There is a noisy crowd off in the distance
approaching from upper stage left.  WOMAN 3 rushes up,
also from that direction.)

WOMAN 3  Jesus is coming this way.

MOTHER    Oh that’s just great.  This means my husband   46
.         will be back and all riled up.

(MOTHER sees FATHER breaking off from the CROWD, but he doesn’t see
her as he rushes toward the temple to meet up
with PHARISEE.  They watch JESUS, surrounded by PEOPLE,
slowly making His way toward the gate.  Then MOTHER notices
ELORA staggering in from stage right, just as JAIRUS enters
from the gate and calls out.)

JAIRUS    Jesus!  My Lord.

(Humbled at his presence, he approaches JESUS and bows.)

JAIRUS    My little daughter is at the point of death;
.         please come and lay Your hands on her
.         so she may get well and live.

(ELORA has heard Jesus’ name.  So as JARIUS mimes talking
with JESUS, ELORA has new hope to see JESUS.  MOTHER quickly
approaches ELORA, but is careful not to touch her.)

MOTHER    Elora!  What are you doing?  You should
.         not be out in public!

ELORA     I – just - need to reach - Jesus.

MOTHER    But you cannot.  He is completely surrounded
.         by people.  And you are unclean.

(JESUS, with JAIRUS and the CROWD, now slowly move
down stage in order to circle the well from the front,
narrowing the gap between them and ELORA.)

ELORA     Even if - I could only touch - His clothes,
.         I know - I would get well.

(MOTHER stands by worrying as ELORA struggles
to get through the crowd.  ELORA stumbles slightly,
and SAVTA reaches out and touches her.  
MOTHER motions for SAVTA to come to her.)

MOTHER    Savta!  You touched her.  Go!
.         You must cleanse yourself.
.         You are unclean until evening.

(SAVTA pauses as if she doesn’t want to go, but then      42
sadly exits stage right.  As ELORA continues
on, MOTHER finds sudden compassion and QUIETLY speaks out.)

MOTHER    Out of her way.  Please.

(ELORA disappears into the crowd.  Soon, the crowd parts
just enough for us to see JESUS who suddenly stops.)

JESUS     Who is the one who touched My garments?

JAMES     I did not.

PETER     Nor I.  You DO see the all the people
.         crowding in around you - and touching you –
.         and then You ask “who touched Me?”

JESUS     Someone touched Me.  I could feel the power
.         flowing out from Me.

(PEOPLE look around and see ELORA.  Knowing of her ailment,
they all stand back.  As the CROWD backs away, ELORA is
exposed, on the ground, stretching out, touching the hem
of JESUS’ clothes.  ELORA slowly realizes her strength has
been renewed, and in awe and amazement, begins to stand.)

ELORA     I have been hemorrhaging for twelve years.
.         I heard You were here and could heal people.
.         I believed if I could just touch Your clothes,
.         that I would be healed.  And I am.
.         I have been healed completely.

JESUS     (smiling tenderly)  Daughter, take courage,
.         your faith has made you well.  Go in peace,
.         and be healed of your affliction.

(ELORA looks around at the people with tears in her eyes,
wanting very badly wanting to hug someone.  MOTHER is
filled with compassion and rushes over to embrace her.
Meanwhile MESSENGER rushes over to JAIRUS from the gate.)

MESSENGER Sir, you need not trouble the Teacher.
.         anymore.  Your daughter has died.

JESUS     Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.
.         Please, everyone stay here, except for
.         Peter, James and John.
.                                                         43
(JESUS leaves with PETER, JAMES and JOHN, along with
JAIRUS and the MESSENGER through the gate.
FATHER marches over and looks at MOTHER sternly.)

FATHER    You realize you are now unclean too?!

MOTHER    Yes-yes – I–I’m very sorry.  I will see you
.         later in the evening then.  (exiting)

FATHER    (disgusted)  And Elora is also still -

(PEOPLE crowd around ELORA, amazed that she is well,
and hugging her.  FATHER shakes his head, gasping,
as he walks back over the PHARISEE.)

FATHER    This is insanity.  Madness!

(In the square, PEOPLE speak over top of each other.)

ELORA     All I have heard about Him is true.

MAN 1     He must be the Son of God.

JOSHUA    He is our Messiah.

TAAVI     We should make Him our king.

MAN 2     This would solve everything.

MAN 3     We’d be rid of the Romans once for all.

MAN 4     And we’d have our land back.

PHARISEE  (disgusted, turns to FATHER)  What does Jesus
.         think He can accomplish with all of this?

FATHER    Obviously, some people want Him to be king.

PHARISEE   This is out of control.

FATHER    I will continue to follow Him and send reports
.         of His actions back to you.

PHARISEE  He must be stopped soon!

(FATHER exits stage left to follow Jesus.)
.                                                      44
.                          TENT

(ANNA and WOMAN 1 look up as SAVTA enters.)

ANNA      Savta, what are you doing here?

SAVTA     I accidentally touched Elora.

ANNA      So Elora made it to Jesus?

SAVTA     Your mother sent me away before I could see.

ANNA      I hope she made it.

(As soon as SAVTA finds a place to sit, MOTHER enters.)

ANNA      Mother?  You too?  What happened?

MOTHER    I – don’t know what overcame me – but I -
.         I hugged Elora.

ANNA      Why would you hug her?

MOTHER    Jesus healed her, and we were all
.         so happy -

ANNA      I knew it.  I knew He would heal her.

WOMAN 1   Oh, thank God.  This is very good news.
.         So – Jesus REALLY healed her?

MOTHER    (not excited)  So it would seem.

.                     CITY SQUARE

(FATHER enters from upper stage right.  ITAMAR sees him
and catches up to him at center stage.)

FATHER    Itamar, I’m sorry, I’m tired and hungry, and-

ITAMAR    My son told me that he saw Anna speaking
.         with that young man, Joshua, the other day!
.         So I need to know - what about our arrangement?
.         ...Obed said that your son spoke to Joshua
.         right away to deal with the matter, but –
.         we would like to know of your intentions.
.                                                         45
FATHER    If you remember correctly, we only agreed
.         to open the discussion of an arrangement.
.         But now is not the t–

ITAMAR    Teacher, if you cannot deliver on this
.         arrangement please be up front about it now
.         so we may approach someone else.

FATHER    Approach someone else.

ITAMAR    As I figured.  I’m not so certain that you
.         could even guarantee your daughter’s purity.

FATHER    That accusation is completely uncalled for –
.         and unfounded.  Now, I have other things that
.         I MUST attend to right now - that are
.         MUCH more important.

(FATHER marches to the temple.  ITAMAR gasps at
the abrupt brush off.)

.                          HOUSE

(ANNA is on her knees, praying.  SAVTA enters,
sees her and waits for ANNA to be finished.)

SAVTA     What do you pray for?

ANNA      I pray to see Jesus.  I pray that Father
.         will learn the truth as he spies on Jesus.
.         I pray about the anger I have toward Father.
.         (SAVTA tsks.)  It is so infuriating.
.         Men control everything, but they
.         lack the wisdom to at least do it right,
.         or run things fairly.
.         (SAVTA tsks louder, with eyes wide.)
.         Do not look at me like that and tsk.  You know
.         I’m right!  I’m so tired of keeping quiet!
.         I am tired of being controlled -

(FATHER enters and ANNA shuts her mouth immediately.
FATHER sits at the table quietly and waits while
ANNA places a plate of bread in front of him.)

ANNA      Anything else I can do to serve you better?

(FATHER is deep in thought when ZEB rushes in.           46
ZEB, ANNA and SAVTA all sit and bow their heads
to wait for the prayer.  FATHER stares out into space.
ZEB, ANNA and SAVTA look up, wondering what to do.)

ZEB       Amen.

(As FATHER is beyond aggravation, his speech
is eerily calm as he speaks more to himself.)

FATHER    I follow Jesus, waiting for Him to make
.         a mistake, and yet, He never makes ONE mistake.
.         We lay traps for Him, so that no matter how
.         He answers, He will be wrong, but then,
.         He finds a way to answer with a wisdom unlike
.         any man I have ever known.  And He raised
.         that man’s daughter from the dead.
.         (takes bread but is oblivious to everything)
.         He feed thousands of people from a few small
.         loaves of bread.  Jesus just kept breaking
.         the bread into more and more pieces– on and on–
.         until there was more than enough to feed
.         everyone.  He explains - the bread comes from
.         God in heaven, just like the manna in the
.         wilderness that fed our ancestors.  And now God
.         has given us bread from heaven that gives life
.         to the world.  (speaking more intensely)
.         THEN – Jesus said it! – He claimed that HE is
.         the bread of life – from heaven.  All we have
.         to do is believe – in Him – in Jesus –
.         and we will have eternal life.  And something
.         about being raised up on the last day.
.         He said all this, right there in our temple.

ZEB       That is – very incredible.

FATHER    It is.  He claims that He came from heaven.

ZEB       So He is claiming – that HE – IS - God?!
.         This is blasphemy!

FATHER    Exactly!  It is. And right there in our temple.
.         You could see, even His OWN disciples were
.         struggling with these statements.  I believe
.         Jesus has made a VERY grave mistake.
.         I think we finally have something that
.         we can use against Him.
.                                                         47
ANNA      (more to herself)  God created the world,
.         why could He not make THIS happen?

FATHER    (still calmly)  Just like a woman to so easily
.         believe in anything so whimsical.

(ANNA sighs quietly.  SAVTA remains quiet this time.)

.                         SQUARE

(It gets noisy as CROWD follows JESUS from upper stage right
toward the gate.  ANNA slips out of the house to watch.
DISCIPLES, including MATTHEW, walk beside JESUS, and are
saying things like, “I think I am.”  “Certainly not you.”)

DISCIPLE  Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

MATTHEW   Certainly not me.  I was most recently
.         a despised tax-collector.

JESUS     If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last
.         of all, and servant of all.

(This is not what DISCIPLES were wanting or expecting
to hear.  JESUS then motions for a CHILD to approach.)

JESUS     Truly I say to you, unless you
.         are converted and become like children,
.         you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
.         Whoever then humbles himself as this child,
.         he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

(JESUS and CROWD exit through the gate.  ANNA watches,
deeply convicted, then finally goes back inside.)

.                          HOUSE

(ANNA enters quietly.  ZEB and FATHER look up from a scroll.

FATHER   Where have you been?

ANNA     I have finally seen Him, and - I see that
.        I am very unworthy.  I thought I was righteous,
.        but I have pride.  So much pride that I have
.        hate.  I must be humble to go before Jesus.
.        That is the ONE thing.  That is the ONLY thing.
.                                                        48
FATHER    (bangs fist on table)  I forbid this talk –

ANNA      I HAVE been wrong in my defiance to you,
.         Father.  I am sorry.  Can you please forgive me?
.         (FATHER stops, bewildered at her comments.)
.         My heart has not been in the right place.
.         I was hearing the words, but not fully
.         understanding.  Frustrated with righteous anger,
.         MAYBE.  But, then letting it get the best of
.         me and controlling me... and actually believing
.         that I could run things better than a man –
.         We ALL have pride and sin to contend with -

FATHER    (unsure)  So you WILL marry Obed?

ANNA      (softly)  No-no.  No, that has not changed.

FATHER    You stupid girl!  So you are NOT thinking.

(Not knowing how to react, ANNA blinks back the tears,
then rushes out to an interior room.  Fists clenched,
FATHER leaves the house.)

.                          SQUARE

(FATHER enters the square full of pent up anger,
and so takes a few moments to breathe deep.  
PHARISEE sees him and approaches.)

PHARISEE  We hear that Jesus plans on going to Jerusalem
.         for the Passover.  But we are not sure
.         what His plans are once He gets there.
.         Will you be willing to follow –

FATHER    I am willing to TRY.

PHARISEE  Why do you say “try”?

FATHER    Jesus has managed to disappear
.         on several occasion.  Just when we think
.         we have Him cornered, and that it will be
.         the end of Him – He somehow – just disappears.

PHARISEE  Well, do your best.  There are a lot of us
.         working on this together.  So I dearly hope
.         everything will be resolved during this time.
.                                                        49
.                          HOUSE

(Only this set is lit dimly.  ANNA and SAVTA get a basin
of water and a towel ready for foot washing, as well as
the candles and a menorah.  MOTHER enters with unleavened
bread and puts it on table.)

MOTHER    The sky is very dark.

ANNA      Will it rain?

MOTHER    There are no clouds.  It’s very odd.

(Curious, ANNA goes to the door to look outside and study
the sky.)

ANNA      Very ominous.

MOTHER    Where is Zebadiah?

ANNA      He’s at the temple getting our Passover sheep
.         slaughtered and ready.  And – ah, I think
.         that’s him coming now.

(Outside in the square, ZEB approaches the house
from the temple carrying a pail and a hyssop branch in
one hand and a covered platter with “lamb” in the other.
ANNE takes the platter from ZEB as he approaches.)

ZEB       Here’s the Passover lamb.

(MOTHER looks out at ZEB and then the sky as ANNA puts
the platter onto the table.)

MOTHER    You will paint the mantel and door posts now?

(While the women in the house talk, ZEB paints the
doorway’s frame [with the sheep’s blood] using the hyssop
branch.  MOTHER centers the bowl of “lamb” on the table.)

MOTHER    Good.  (to ANNA)  So are you sure you found and
.         got rid of EVERY bit of leaven from the house?

ANNA      Yes.  I swept the entire house with a feather
.         in search of every crumb and particle.  Then,
.         I took it all to market to sell temporarily.

MOTHER    To the same pagan as we usually do?             50

ANNA      Yes, Mother.

MOTHER    Did you buy new candles?

ANNA      I took care of everything-and I’m sure
.         Father is fine.

MOTHER    (sighing)  I’m sure you are right – I just -

(Lights dim almost to black with a slow strobe flicker.
There are sound effects of earthquake and things shaking
and clattering.  ANNA, SAVTA, MOTHER and ZEB hold onto
things and shake around.  As they do so, they can tip
over a chair and scatter things as they reach for these
so it looks like it is caused by the earthquake.  With
the lighting, it should look realistic - not comical.
LIGHTS finally come partially on.  Things are strewn
about.  The table has been shifted, a chair knocked over.
ALL pick themselves up and are wide-eyed.  They are quiet
for a moment before they begin to pick things up and
set things straight.)

ANNA      I feel something tragic has just happened.

ZEB       Yes, an earthquake!

ANNA      But the sky got even darker.  And there are
.         no clouds out.

MOTHER    It’s very strange.

(MOTHER looks around and tries to remain practical.)

.                          SQUARE

(LIGHTING is normal.  FATHER enters upper stage right and
heads toward the temple.  PHARISEE sees him approach.)

PHARISEE  That took a while.  So?  What is the news?

FATHER    (somberly)  It is done.

PHARISEE  More details, please.

FATHER    We had Jesus crucified.  One of His own         51
.         disciples acted as an informant.  Jesus was
.         then brought in to face Caiaphas, then Pilate
.         and then Herod.  Although, Herod just sent
.         the problem back to Pilate.

PHARISEE  What were the final charges?

FATHER    Blasphemy.  For making Himself One with God.

PHARISEE  Is that it?

FATHER    That is all we could find against Him.
.         Pilate had problems even with this, so he left
.         the final decision up to the Israelites.
.         In keeping with our tradition, he suggested
.         we set Jesus free, but the chief priests got us
.         to convince all the people to ask for Barabbas.

PHARISEE  Barabbas?  Who is that?

FATHER    One of the most violent men in prison.
.         At least the people went along with this.
.         Looks like they lost their love for Jesus.

PHARISEE  Fortunately for us.  And the punishment?

FATHER    Death on the cross.

PHARISEE  Ah!  Delightful, a common punishment
.         fit for a common criminal.  Though,
.         I hope they did not make it easy on Him.

FATHER    No, they made quite a show out of it.
.         I had to turn away a few times.

PHARISEE  How I wish I could have been there.  But now,
.         are you very sure that He is dead?  Toward the
.         end, Jesus was making those claims that He
.         would rise from the dead after three days.

FATHER    Yes-yes, they put a spear into His side.
.         Both blood AND water came out, so they knew
.         for sure that He was dead.  Then they buried
.         Jesus in a secure tomb.  We made very certain
.         that the door was sealed tightly, just in case
.         anyone has some crazy idea.
.                                                        52
PHARISEE  Good thinking.  We would not want anyone
.         taking the body and then saying
.         that Jesus DID rise up.
.         Can you imagine the frenzy!?

(FATHER solemnly nods his agreement.  
PHARISEE claps his hands joyfully.)

PHARISEE  Good-good.  Well, I will now be able
.         to sleep better at night.  Everything
.         can now get back to normal.  Shalom.

(PHARISEE exits through temple.  FATHER walks home.)

.                          HOUSE

(FATHER enters.  ANNA comes out of the “room” and looks
at him questioningly.)

MOTHER    There was a big earthquake on
.         the Day of Preparation.

ZEB       And the sky went dark.

FATHER    It was the same in Jerusalem.

ANNA      What had just happened?

FATHER    It was right at the time when Jesus died.

ANNA      (starts to cry)  They killed Him?
.         Why would they kill Him?

FATHER    It had to be done.  The people were
.         out of control.

(ANNA rushes from the room in tears.)

MOTHER    So this earthquake and darkness happened
.         RIGHT when Jesus died?

(FATHER nods.  MOTHER hmphs.  SAVTA tsks quietly
and shakes her head.  FATHER tries to sound convincing.)

FATHER    Coincidence.  It was just - coincidence.

.                         SQUARE                          53

(MATTHEW, with a few DISCIPLES, walk across the stage
entering from upper stage right.  DISCIPLE turns to JOSHUA.)

DISCIPLE  You don’t have to follow us anymore, kid.
.         Go, find a woman and make a life for yourself.

(JOSHUA splits off from the group, briefly looking
at the house, then exiting with his head hanging.
Some MEN passing by laugh at the DISCIPLES.)

MAN 6     So where’s your Teacher now?

MAN 7     We heard the news.  So, I suppose it is back
.         to fishing for you.

MAN 6     (to MATTHEW)  And back to collecting taxes?

MATTHEW   No.  I still believe I’m better off
.         not living a life of sin.

MAN 7     (laughing)  Well, good for you.

MAN 6     GOOD for US.

(MEN laugh some more as DISCIPLES leave.)

.                          TENT

(ANNA enters sheepishly and quickly sits in a corner.
WOMAN 1 and 2 look up at ANNA, who buries her head
as she cries.)

WOMAN 1   What’s wrong, Anna?

ANNA      Jesus is dead.

WOMAN 2   What?

ANNA      My Father was in Jerusalem over the Passover.
.         They charged Jesus with blasphemy, and then
.         crucified Him.

(WOMAN 2 wipes some tears from her eyes.)

WOMAN 1   (to ANNA)  So you were wrong.
.                                                        54
(ANNA remains quiet.  WOMAN 2 shushes WOMAN 1.)

WOMAN 2   Have some compassion.  You were
.         caught up in all of this as well.

(ANNA buries her head in her hands.  
Suddenly, the lights dim and flicker
with sound effects of earthquake.
The WOMEN gasp and shriek.  
When it stops they look at each other.)

WOMAN 1   Another earthquake?

(The WOMEN remain silent for a moment.)

ANNA      I wonder what this means?

WOMAN 2   It means there was another earthquake.

(ANNA looks up hopefully).

ANNA      I’m sure it means something.

WOMAN 1   Well, you are here for an entire week.
.         You probably will not find out anything
.         until your time is done.

(ELORA enters still clutching onto things
in case the earth starts shaking again.  
ANNA looks up with dismay.)

ANNA      (with concern)  Elora, you’re back?

ELORA     It’s okay.  I am back –
.         only for the same reason
.         as the rest of you.

(ANNA sighs with relief.  WOMAN 2 studies ANNA
for a short moment with a smirk.)

WOMAN 2   What?  You thought maybe Jesus’s
.         healing power would end with His death?

ANNA      I do not know what to think.
.         But it is good to see that Elora
.         is still doing well.

.                         SQUARE                         55

(JOSHUA rushes in from the gate and up to random people.)

JOSHUA    He’s a live!  Jesus is alive.

MAN       Are you crazy!?

JOSHUA    Peter and the rest, they were fishing –
.         and – they were going to stop for the day
.         because they were not catching anything.
.         Then this Man appeared and told them to try
.         again, but on the other side of the boat –

MAN 2     (laughing)  Right, like 30 feet will make
.         any difference!

JOSHUA    Well, yes, but then they got more than
.         a boat load of fish.  Anyway, it was Jesus.

(PEOPLE laugh at this.  JOSHUA sees ANNA walking in from
stage right carrying her bundle and runs up to her.)

JOSHUA    Anna!  He’s alive.  Jesus rose on the third day,
.         just like He said He would.

ANNA      (thinking)  That would have – been
.         at the time of the OTHER earthquake.

(FATHER steps out of the house and sees JOSHUA with ANNA.
FATHER is about to scold ANNA when JOSHUA turns to him.)

JOSHUA    (to FATHER)  Jesus is alive! I saw Him, myself.

FATHER    (angrily)  You must have seen a ghost.

JOSHUA    Hundreds of people have seen Him.

FATHER    Really, so where is He now?

JOSHUA    Well - He - went up – He ascended into heaven.
.         But there were many witnesses to see that too.

FATHER    Sure, I’m sure there were.  (to ANNA)
.         Anna, I want you back in the house...  Now.

(PHARISEE from the temple and waves FATHER over,         56
angrily.  JOSHUA and ANNA stay to watch curiously.)

PHARISEE  You said He was dead.

FATHER    He was dead-He is dead!

PHARISEE  You told me you had to look away a few times.

FATHER    I watched as they speared Him.  There was
.         water in the blood.  That can ONLY happen
.         when someone is completely dead.

PHARISEE  Well, word is – that the grave is empty.
.         People are saying that they have seen Him.

FATHER    I – I’m just saying – I saw Him dead and buried.
.         They had Roman soldiers guarding the tomb.
.         No one can get past Roman soldiers?

PHARISEE  So now what do we do?

FATHER    Well, word is spreading that Jesus – flew up
.         into the sky – or some nonsense like that,
.         claiming He went back to heaven.

PHARISEE  Okay-okay.  Good.  This is very good.  That means
.         people should forget all about Him soon enough.
.         This will all just – go away.  There will be
.         no more talk of this Man ever again.  Okay, I will
.         go now.  Everything is – STILL – back to normal.

(PHARISEE returns to the temple.  FATHER nods and turns.
Seeing ANNA, FATHER motions for her to follow him home.
DISCIPLES and a small GROUP walk from the gates and exit
upper stage right.  DISCIPLE waves for JOSHUA to follow.

JOSHUA    (turns to ANNA)  Anna, come with us!
.         (ANNA pauses to think.)  We can be married, and
.         then join the group to spread the good news.
.         There’s a lot of work to be done.  Peter says
.         that we will be starting churches.

ANNA      I know this is what I should be doing.
.         (sighs) I need to talk to my Father first...

JOSHUA    I’ll come with you.
.                                                      57
.                          HOUSE

(ANNA and JOSHUA enter the house and find FATHER at the
table, thinking.  ZEB, MOTHER and SAVTA are there too.)

ANNA      I have decided to marry Joshua, and we are
.         going to do the Lord’s work –
.         (FATHER doesn’t answer.)  Father?

(FATHER cannot look at ANNA or JOSHUA through
the entire conversation.)

FATHER    I forbid – I – I do not - know what to say.

ANNA      I must obey God.

FATHER    Jesus is dead, and now even His followers
.         claim that He has gone – to heaven.
.         He has left you.

JOSHUA    He has not left us really – He will be sending
.         a Helper.

FATHER    (slightly skeptical)  What sort of Helper?

JOSHUA    You know of this.  You taught us the scriptures
.         of Jeremiah.  "The time is coming," declares
.         the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant...
.         This is the covenant I will make
.         with the house of Israel after that time..."

FATHER    (finishing) "I will put My law in their minds
.         and write it on their hearts.”

ANNA      You saw Jesus do so many great things and –

FATHER    And I am still - thinking.

ANNA      So, you KNOW that I must go.

(FATHER speaks softly, so that ANNA will understand that
he no longer is against her, but there would be others.)

FATHER    You do realize that - if you come back –
.         I – I will not be able to help you.  You will
.         risk being put to death - as a heretic.
.                                                      58
(ANNA nods her understanding and looks at MOTHER,
who rushes to the other room while holding back her sobs.
Choked up, ANNA backs away, and waves timidly to ZEB
and SAVTA.  As ANNA and JOSHUA leave, SAVTA gets up
and follows as quickly as she is able, patting FATHER
on the shoulder with reassurance on her way out.
FATHER wipes his face with his hands in contemplation.)

.                          SQUARE

(SAVTA calls to ANNA and JOSHUA, who turn to face her.)

SAVTA     Anna, my blessings – to both of you.  And –
.         may the – may the Lord – Jesus - be with you.

(ANNA rushes over to hug SAVTA and kiss her forehead.)

ANNA      Thank you, Savta.  Shalom.

(ANNA and JOSHUA exit upper stage right.  SAVTA waves and
puts a hand to her mouth and then heart, then turns
to go into the house.)

(Lights go down.)