Blue flowering thorns dot the hillside of Khirbet Qana, adding a much needed touch of colour to the generally barren bright-brown hillside. Very few trees grow here now; the result of the heavy grazing of goats and sheep over the centuries, and which in fact, continue to date with the herds of the Arab villagers of Sakhnin, Arraba and Bi’ina nearby.

The missing trees and grass have caused the rain to wash away the soil into the Bet Netova valley, leaving the hillsides with bare rocks and little shadow. The remaining unhewn rocks of Khirbet Qana represent the ruins of past years and lives: the debris of walls and houses, a brooding cave, and a redundant synagogue.

Yet on every dawn that unveils the valley and the hill, there arises the sounds of a wedding feast. Miriam, as a relative of the bride is present as an important guest, along with her son and his friends. Accommodated at night in the village; they feast, drink, and converse with the multitude for three days at the main event. It is a time of being together, and of a break from toil. Carpets and cushions are laid out, guests sit cross legged, and dip with right hands into the many dishes, to feed both themselves and their close neighbours, whilst the hubbub of unrestrained conversation continues unabated.

As the wedding in Galilee progresses into its third day, and the sun attains its peak in a clear sky, and a friend of the bridegroom approaches Miriam.

‘Mother, we have had more guests than expected and the wine is nearly finished. It will be family dishonour if so. Can you help?”

She turns towards her son, who until now has remained quiet among his close friends.

“They have no wine,” she says to him.

He replies, “Woman, what concern is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

The rebuke is insufficient against a Jewish mother, for she senses both the apprehension, coupled with the imperative to commence what he was destined for.

Not responding directly, she calls one of the wine servers.

“Do whatever he tells you,” she instructs.

The son demures in his mother’s authority.

He in turn instructs, “Fill those six stone jars with water, draw some out and take to the main steward.”

They do as such. The steward tastes the drink and after an initial surprise, approaches the bridegroom, saying, “Normally we serve the good wine first, but you have chosen to serve this last!!”

The bridegroom looks along the table to Miriam. She smiles.

The son sits silent; a slight bearded figure, apprehensive yet calm.

His earthly ministry had begun.

There are those who know of life but as a single exquisite instant, eternal in its beauty, but limited to one note of passion or one mood of calm. But for those whom the soul makes live, they encompass myriad emotions of joy and terror, of courage and despair, of pleasure and of suffering. The seasons come and go in glad or saddening pageant, and with winged or leaden feet the years pass by before them. They have their youth and their manhood, they are children, and they grow old.

For it is those who walk in; epos, drama, or romance, see through the labouring months the young moons wax and wane, and watch the night from evening unto morning star, and from sunrise unto sunsetting; always noting the shifting day with all its gold, the flowers that bloom and wither, and an Earth, that alters her raiment for their pleasure.

A statue is concentrated to one moment of perfection. An image upon a canvas possesses no spiritual element of growth or change.

If some know nothing of death, it is because they know little of life; for the secrets of life and death belong to those, whom the sequence of time affects, and who possess not merely the present but the future, and can rise or fall from a past of glory or shame; bodies in their swiftness and souls in unrest.