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The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

14. SOUTH OF HEBRON. JOHN SENDS THE THIRSTING JESUS A SPRING OF WATER




From this cave they journeyed southwards for seven hours, with the Dead Sea always on their left hand. Two hours after leaving Hebron they entered the wilderness where little John the Baptist was in hiding. [156] Their way led them only a bow-shot's distance from his cave. I saw the Holy Family wandering through a sandy desert, weary and careworn. The water-skin and the jugs of balsam were empty; the Blessed Virgin was greatly distressed, and both she and the Infant Jesus were thirsty. They went a little way aside from the path, where the ground sank, and there were bushes and some withered turf. The Blessed Virgin dismounted, and sat for a little with the Child on her knees, praying in her distress. While the Blessed Virgin was thus praying for water like Hagar in the wilderness, I was shown a wonderfully moving incident. The cave in which Elizabeth had hidden her little son was quite near here, on a wild rocky height, and I saw the little boy not far from the cave wandering about among the stones and bushes as if he were anxiously and eagerly waiting for something. I did not see Elizabeth in this vision. To see this little boy roaming and running about in the wilderness with such confidence made a great impression on me. Just as beneath his mother's heart he had leaped up at the approach of his Lord, so now he was moved by the nearness of his Redeemer, thirsty and weary. I saw the child wearing his lamb's-skin over his shoulders and girt round his waist, and carrying in his hand a little stick with a bit of bark waving on it. He felt that Jesus was passing near and that He was thirsty; he threw himself on his knees and cried to God with outstretched arms, then jumped up, ran, driven by the Spirit, to the high edge of the rocks and thrust with his staff into the ground, from which an abundant spring burst forth. John ran before the stream to the edge, where it rushed down over the rocks. He stood there and watched the Holy Family pass by in the distance. [157]

The Blessed Virgin lifted up the Infant Jesus high in her arms, saying to Him, Look! John in the wilderness! '. And I saw John joyfully leaping about beside the rushing water, and waving to them with the little flag of bark on his stick. Then he hurried back into the wilderness. After a little time the stream reached the travelers' path, and I saw them crossing it and stopping to refresh themselves at a pleasant place where there were some bushes and thin turf. The Blessed Virgin dismounted with the Child; they were all joyful. Mary sat down on the grass, and Joseph dug a hollow a little way off for the water to fill. When the water became quite clear, they all drank, and Mary washed the Child. They sprinkled their hands, feet, and faces with water. Joseph led the donkey to the water, of which it drank deeply, and he filled his water-skin. They were all happy and thankful; the withered grass, now saturated with water, grew straight again, and the sun came out and shone on them. They sat there refreshed and full of quiet happiness. They rested for two or three hours in this place.











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