Heroines of the Past
July 2, 2007, Published by Amy Puetz; P.O. Box 429; Wright, WY 82732
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Happy 4th of July?
There was so much information to put into the Biblical edition of Heroines of the Past that I needed to do two newsletters. I want to thank everyone who shared a story! In this edition you will find out what happens to Jemimah.
The next Heroines will be about the Elizabethan Era. If you have a story to share please see the Writer’s Guide. Do you know of a really good book set during this time period that you would like to review?
Let’s get started!Pilgrim on a journey,
Heroines of the Past
P.O. Box 429
Wright, WY 82732
Heroines of the Past
Jemimah’s FaithBy Amy Puetz
A distressed Jemimah tried to carry on but the loss of health and husband made her grow old before her time. She found comfort in God and in the money Jakin left her. Diligently she searched for a cure to her illness. Leech after leech was visited without any improvement. Disappointed she would search until she found another physician. Slowly her fortune began to dwindle. Managing to buy a small house in Capernaum, Jemimah struggled to survive. When nearly all her money was gone she found a Greek physician that seemed to have a caring heart and the knowledge of medicine to cure her. Anxiously she waited in a dimly lit upper room as he searched for the right scroll with the remedy he sought. As he began preparing the potion Jemimah sent a prayer up to heaven thanking God for an answered prayer. For the next two weeks she faithfully took the terrible tasting herbs the leech prescribed but instead of getting better she grew worse. She visited the kind leech again and he was disturbed and bewildered by the serious lack of progress in her condition.
With a sad face he said, "It appears there is nothing that can be done medically for your illness. I can give you something for the fatigue and upset stomach that the loss of blood causes but it will only manage, not soften, the symptoms. I’m very sorry."
Jemimah’s money bag only had a few coins left and the kind leech managed to find a room for her in the home of some Greek friends. To pay for her food and room she made embroidered cloaks, which the mistress of the house sold to the merchants in the market. The man of the house was a good-natured fisherman who spent very little time at home. It didn’t take Jemimah very long to discover the reason for his absence. His wife, Tryphena was a hot-tempered, cruel woman who ruled the house with an iron fist. Caring for a large house Tryphena earned extra money by renting rooms to people.
The small chamber that was to be her new home had only a mat for sleeping, a chair, and a lamp-stand. Mealtimes proved to be the most difficult for Jemimah. Trying to keep from eating anything unclean in a Greek house was a daily challenge for Jemimah. She took her meals in her room rather than eating with the Gentiles. One day the little slave girl Chloe brought her meal to her on a wooden try. The piece of meat looked like - oh no, "Chloe what is this?" Jemimah asked faintly.
She knew the answer before Chloe replied, "It’s pork. Tryphena specifically told me to give it to you." The fearful slave girl replied.
So far Jemimah had managed to keep peace with Tryphena but asking a Jew -even an unclean one - to eat pork went against her principle. "Please ask Tryphena to come here." Jemimah told Chloe.
As kindly as possible Jemimah explained to Tryphena why she could not eat pork.
Tryphena answered in hot words, "I’m mistress of this house and will serve whatever I like at mealtimes. You may have been a great lady at one time but now you’re a worthless woman who’s been rejected by your own people and your God. If you don’t like the food you can leave anytime you like." Her words stung deep into Jemimah’s heart. Everything Tryphena said was true! She was worthless, her people had rejected her, even her own family shunned her and the gossip around Capernaum said she must be a terrible sinner to be afflicted. She couldn’t leave Tryphena’s house; the only other alternative was to become a beggar. But surely God had not rejected her. It was His peace that sustained her everyday. Clinging to His goodness Jemimah refused to believe that God had rejected her. Stubbornly she pushed the food away. She WOULD NOT eat it. Tryphena laughed a cruel laugh and told Chloe to leave it because Jemimah might change her mind later. Long after dark Jemimah heard a soft knock on her door. Opening it, Jemimah found Chloe holding a plate of old bread.
"I knew you wouldn’t eat the pork and the mistress told me to throw out this bread. I thought you might like it. Usually I eat it myself but you’re probably more hungry than I am." Chloe explained.
Jemimah devoured the stale bread and offered the untouched pork to Chloe. A budding friendship began between the Jewish Jemimah and the overworked Greek slave girl Chloe.
Sharing the few joys that their hard lives afforded, Chloe and Jemima were a great comfort to each other. One day Chloe came running into Jemimah’s room, "Oh Jemimah, you will never believe what happened. I went to the shore to get fish for Tryphena and a man was there who was teaching the people. I can’t remember everything he said but he had such kind eyes and I felt so happy to listen to him. The people in the crowd said he had the power of healing sick people."
Jesus of Nazareth became their favorite topic to discuss. Chloe went to hear him every chance she got and told Jemimah everything he said. It was a lovely spring day (so much like the day when she found Jakin wounded, Jemimah imaged) that Chloe sat on the hillside listening as Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven . . ."
Here Jemimah stopped her reflections. Could it really have been twelve years already? Some days it felt like a hundred and others it seemed like it was only yesterday that she married Jakin. She turned over on her mat. This was one of her really bad days when she could not get off her mat but somehow thinking of Jesus and the things he said she felt a twinge of hope swell up in her, like a wave on the sea.
A strange transformation took place in the life of Chloe. She was no longer the fearful slave girl. True, Tryphena still beat her but for some reason Chloe had a strength to endure that she never knew before. Jemimah found new hope too. Chloe was convinced that Jesus could heal Jemimah and constantly urged her to see him. Although Jemimah did wish to be healed she feared facing another disappointment and preferred to live with the hope that maybe Jesus COULD heal her. During that spring and the following summer the two friends shared their newfound joy.
Harvest time arrived that fall and the whole city sang the praise of Jesus. Some said he was a prophet, others said he was the Messiah. Finally Jemimah decided to ask Jesus to heal her. There was never any doubt in her mind that he could but it would be rather hard to get near him because she was unclean. The Jews might harm her. Chloe said that Jesus had such power that maybe it wouldn’t take words for him to heal Jemimah.
While Jesus was on his way to the home of Jarius, the synagogue ruler, Jemimah slipped into the crowd, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed." She told herself. There he was, coming closer. She reached out and touched him, suddenly her flow of blood stopped. Such strength came into her body that she felt like a robust child again. Backing away from the crowd she stopped in her steps when Jesus asked, "Who touched me?" Seeing that she could not go unnoticed she stepped forward and fell at his feet. Before all the people she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
From that day forward Jemimah was healed from her flow of blood. Soon she made enough money from selling embroidered cloaks that she purchased Chloe’s freedom. Listed among the Christians in Capernaum were the names of Jemimah and Chloe. Their virtue, devotion, and service to the poor were known throughout the churches in Israel. Jemimah had truly been healed of her suffering, both the physical and the spiritual.
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