William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

On holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands online

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against themselves, being
not baptized of him. And
the Lord said, Whereunto
then shall I liken the men
of this generation? and to
what are they like? They
are like unto children sit-
ting in the marketplace, and
calling one to another, and
saying, We have piped un-
to you, and ye have not
danced; we have mourned
to you, and ye have not
wept. For John the Bap-
tist eame neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath
a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold
a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners !
But wisdom is justified of all her children. — Luke VII. 18-35.

( Photograph by G. L. Robinson. )

Castle of Kerak, Moab.

There is only a little more to read about John the Baptist,
and it is a sad story.

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said
unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and


therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. For Herod had
laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake,
his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee
to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multi-
tude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod's birthday
was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John
Baptist's head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for
the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to
be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head
was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel : and she brought it to
her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it,
and went and told Jesus. — Matthew XIV. 1-12.


When we read about the marriage feast at Cana of Gali-
lee, we learned of the low tables and the couches used in the
Bible land. The table was sometimes shaped like a horse-
shoe or a letter "U," the couches being placed about the
outer side, leaving the inner side open for the servants to
come and go. It was a mark of kindness to anoint the head
of a guest with oil ; and in that country where the paths are
rough and dusty, and where they usually wore only sandals
covering the bottoms of their feet, it was refreshing to wash
the feet with water on coming to the house.

It was in Galilee, soon after the raising of the widow's
son at Nain, and the coming of the messengers from John the
Baptist, that the Lord was invited by a Pharisee to eat with
him. They were reclining about the table, when a woman
who was a sinner came in by the open door and stood at the
Lord's feet behind Him, weeping. She had brought a little
alabaster jar of ointment. Alabaster is a beautiful stone like
marble. The ointment was olive oil made fragrant with
spices. These little jars for ointment were sometimes rose-
bud shape, pointed at the bottom, with a lid made fast with
wax. Sometimes there was a long, slender neck which let the
ointment run slowly, a few drops at a time. The woman
broke the jar, and poured the ointment on the Lord's feet.
Her tears were a sign of her sorrow for what she had done



wrong. The ointment showed her grateful love for the Lord
who would help her to do better. To feel that the Lord helps
us to leave what has been wrong and to do better, is to be

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And
he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat clown to meat. And, behold, a
woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat
in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at
his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did
wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed
them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him
saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet,
would have known who and
what manner of woman this
is that toucheth him : for she
is a sinner. And Jesus an-
swering said unto him, Simon,
I have somewhat to say unto
thee. And he saith, Master,
say on. There was a certain
creditor which had two debt-
ors : the one owed five hun-
dred pence, and the other
fifty. And when they had
nothing to pay, he frankly
forgave them both. Tell me
therefore, which of them will
love him most? Simon an-
swered and said, I suppose
that he, to whom he forgave
most. And he said unto him,
Thou hast rightly judged.
And he turned to the woman,
and said unto Simon, Seest
thou this woman? I entered
into thine house, thou gavest
me no water for my feet : but
she hath washed my feet with

tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss :
but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint : but this woman hath anointed my
feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her. sins, which are many,
are forgiven ; for she loved much : but to whom little is forgiven, the same
loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that
sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that
forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee;
go in peace. — Luke VII. 36-50.


(Hofmann : B. Benda, Lausanne ; Wm. H. Kau, Phila.)
Anointing the Lord's feet.



We are again by the shore where the plain of Gennesaret
meets the Sea of Galilee. The clear waves are lapping on
the little beach of shells and pebbles, as we look out across
the bright waters to the mountains of the eastern shore. We
can step into one of the fishermen's boats and push out a
little from the land to enjoy this beautiful scene. The green
plain of Gennesaret is close at hand. Behind it are the hills
which protect it from the cold wind, where little thorny
bushes blossom among the black rocks. Here at one corner
of the plain is the rough, rocky valley through which we see
the mountain of the Blessings, and from which the clouds
of pigeons fly out over the plain to find food.

The Lord once sat where we are now sitting, in one
of the little fishing-boats, and taught the people who stood
listening on the shore. The same plain was spread before
Him, the same hills, but it was not then deserted and lonely
as it is now, and where the thistles grow now there were
grain fields. Little towns stood near the shore, shaded by
their orchards. There were many fishermen along the beach
with their boats and nets. Traders were passing with lines
of camels, and men were busy in the fields and gardens. In
the autumn, when the early rains softened the ground after
the summer's drought, the farmers loosened the earth with
their rude ploughs, and the sower scattered grain broadcast.
Some fell upon the paths beaten hard by many passing feet,
and it was quickly picked up by the hungry birds. In the
borders of the plain, ledges of rock from the hills lay near the
surface of the soil. There was no depth nor moisture for the
roots of the grain which sprouted in such places. Along the
paths and in neglected corners of the fields thistles were
growing, and the grain which fell among them was quickly
crowded out. But some fell into good ground, and brought
forth abundant fruit.

The people on the shore who listened to the Lord had
often seen all this. Perhaps farmers were at that moment
sowing in the field near by, when the Lord in His teaching
said, ' ' Behold, a sower went forth to sow. ' ' It was a parable.
Within this simple story there was a lesson about heaven and


heavenly life. The people themselves who stood listening
were the field ; the Lord was the sower ; His words were the
grain. Some among those who listened were like the beaten
path; their minds were taken up with other things so that
the Lord's word did not take root, and was quickly snatched
away. Some were like the shallow ground; they listened
with interest, but made little effort to obey. Some tried, but
evil things like thorns and thistles sprang up and crowded
out the Lord's words. But some, like good ground, heard
the word and understood it, and brought forth fruit with
patience. Read just what the Lord said.

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And
great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a
ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake
many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to

Fishing-boat by the Gennesaret shore.

sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls
came and devoured them up : some fell upon stony places, where they had
not much earth : and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deep-
ness of earth : and when the sun was up, they were scorched ; and because
they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and
the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground,
and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirty-
fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

And the disciples came, and said unto him. Why speakest thou unto
them in parables'? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given
unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is
not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have
more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away



even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables : because they
seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And
in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith,

By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand ;

And seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

For this people's heart is waxed gross,

And their ears are dull of hearing,

And their eyes they have closed ;

Lest at any time they should see with their eyes,

And hear with their ears,

And should understand with their heart,

And should be converted,

And I should heal them.*

But blessed are your eyes, for they see : and your ears, for they hear. For
verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired
to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those
things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the
parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and

understandeth it not, then
cometh the wicked one,
and catcheth away that
which was sown in his
heart. This is he which
received seed by the way
side. But he that received
the seed into stony places,
the same is he that hear-
eth the word, and anon
with joy receiveth it; yet
hath he not root in him-
self, but dureth for a
while : for when tribula-
tion or persecution ariseth
He also that received seed
and the care of this world,

(Copyright, 1903, by C. H. Graves, Phila.)

Ploughing in the Plain of Sharon.

because of the word, by and by t he is offended.

among the thorns is he that heareth the word;

and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word,

and understandeth it ; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an

hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. — Matthew XIII. 1-23.

That same day by the shore the Lord taught the people
in other parables. He told them of tares growing among the

* It was better that the people should not understand the Lord's teach-
ing, than that they should understand and then go back to their evil ways, as
they would have done.

t " By and by" is used in the old sense of " immediately."


wheat. The tares were a weed which they all knew well,
which looked much like the wheat while it was growing. But
the ears were thin, and the grains, though heavy and hard
to separate from the wheat, were not good for food, but were
even a little poisonous. The good grain stood for the Lord's
word, growing up into good, useful deeds, and these tares
for thoughts leading to wrong actions.

The Lord told them of mustard seed, which in that coun-
try grows into a plant so high that it is above your head as
you ride on horse-back. By this parable He taught how
much of heaven may grow from the little beginnings which
we make here on earth. He spoke of leaven or yeast to teach
that when we learn of heavenly things it will make disturb-
ance in our minds between what is bad and what is good, but

(Copyright, 1903, by William H. Kau, Phila.)

Reapers in the field.

that if we are faithful, our hearts will be made purer by this
temptation. He told of treasure, and of a pearl of great
price, to show how precious the things of heaven are, and
that it is worth while to give up every selfish wish for the
sake of them.

The Lord had spoken of the sowing, and the tares, and the
mustard seed, things near by in the fields about the people.
Now He turned their thoughts to the beach, where perhaps
at that moment fishermen were drawing up their nets and
gathering the good fish into vessels, but casting the bad away.
And He made this a lesson of heaven, showing how good and
evil people, and the good and bad in every heart, will be
separated by the help of angels, when at the end of our life
in this world we awaken into the spiritual world. The fire


into which the evil are cast is the burning of their own evil
passions, from which the Lord cannot save them, because
they do not wish to be saved from them. So the Lord taught
the people lessons of eternal life, in parables, in these simple
stories of what was going on before their very eyes. The
lessons are so full of wisdom that we shall never know all
their meaning.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of
heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field : but
while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and
went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth
fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder
came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field?
from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath

(Photograph by S. E. Williams.)

Cattle threshing grain.

done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and
gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares,
ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the
harvest : and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye
together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them : but gather
the wheat into my barn.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven
is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field :
which indeed is the least of all seeds : but when it is grown, it is the greatest
among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and
lodge in the branches thereof.

Another parable spake he unto them ; The kingdom of heaven is like
unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the
whole was leavened.

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and
without a parable spake he not unto them : that it might be fulfilled which
Avas spoken by the prophet, saying,


I will open my mouth in parables;

I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the

Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house : and his
disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares
of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed
is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children
of the kingdom ; but the tares are the children of the wicked one ; the enemy
that sowed them is the devil ; the harvest is the end of the world ; and the
reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in
the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send
forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that
offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of
fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to
hear, let him hear.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the
which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and
selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking
goodly pearls : who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and
sold all that he had, and bought it.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the
sea, and gathered of every kind : which, when it was full, they drew to
shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad
away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth,
and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the
furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things'? They
say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe
which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that
is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new
and old.

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he
departed thence. — Matthew XIII. 24-53.


If we stood by the Sea of Galilee on a calm bright morning
when the water was smooth and shining and the little waves
washed gently on the stones, we should hardly believe that
within an hour the peaceful lake might be covered with
stormy white-capped waves. We step into the fishing-boat
moored by the shore, and the fishermen row slowly out into
the lake with their heavy oars ; but soon a fresh breeze rises.



They put up their mast and spread their three-cornered sail,
and one or two of the men guide the boat while the rest lie
down to sleep. But soon they are aroused, for the wind has
become a storm and the waves are high. Such sudden wind-
storms are common
on the Sea of Galilee.
The lake lies deep
among the hills, and
the winds w h i c h
sweep over the coun-
t r y come down
through the valleys
upon the water in
dangerous squalls.

The Lord had been
teaching the people in
parables. He was sit-
ting in a boat and
they were gathered
on the Gennesaret shore. It was now evening, and they
sent the people away, and turned the boat to cross over the
sea. We must read what happened as they sailed.

(Copyright, 1903, by C. H. Graves, Phila.)

At Tell Hum, Sea of Galilee

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us
pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude,
they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him
other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves
beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part
of the ship, asleep on a pillow : and they awake him, and say unto him,
Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind,
and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was
a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that
ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another,
What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? —
Mark IV. 35-41.


It was perhaps early morning after the stormy night on
the sea, when the boat with the Lord and the disciples drew
to the east shore of the Sea of Galilee. There was no broad
meadow there, like the plain of Gennesaret, but steep slopes


rose up to the pasture land above, — the rich pasture land of
Bashan, where long ago half the tribe of Manasseh made its
home when the children of Israel came from Egypt. In some
places the slopes rose from the very water's edge, in other
places from a narrow beach. Here and there a rough valley
came down from the upland and spread out in a little level
place by the water. There is such a valley and spot of level
ground near the middle of the eastern shore, with a ruined
town called Kersa. This is probably the place to which the
Lord and the disciples came. A path from the shore led up
the rough valley to the pastures above. The sides of the
valley were rocky, and there were caves which were used as

They landed near the town, and perhaps were taking the
path which led up the valley from the shore, when they saw

(Photograph by Putnam Cady.)

Gamala, east shore of Sea of Galilee.

a very sad sight. "Two possessed with devils" (Mark and
Luke speak only of one), "coming out of the tombs, exceed-
ing fierce, so that no man might pass by that way." Evil
spirits had such power at the time when the Lord came into
the world. As these poor men met the Lord the spirits
knew Him, and cried out with fear. They knew that the
Lord would send them away. Still, they wanted to do harm,
and prayed the Lord that they might go out into a herd
of swine that was feeding on the slope above the lake. The
Jews had been forbidden to eat the flesh of swine, but they
often disobeyed and kept them. The Lord let the devils go
into the swine. They were unclean and swine-like spirits, and


in this way they showed themselves as they truly were.
Should you not think that the people of that city would have
been glad to have the poor men saved from the evil spirits ?
Should you not think that they would have loved the Lord
who came with such power, and would have asked Him to
stay with them? But it was not so.

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of
the Gadarenes.* And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there
met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling
among the tombs ; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains : because
that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had
been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces : neither could
any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains,
and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw
Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and
said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?
I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him,
Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy
name ? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion : for we are many.
And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the
country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine
feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine,
that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And
the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran
violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;)
and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in
the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was
done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the
devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind : and
they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that
was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they
began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into
the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might
be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home
to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,
and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish
in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him : and all men did

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 32 of 42)