A life story from a High School aquaintance, now friend who’s story enraptured me and emboldened me to try, with permission, to set it to paper. This is her post from facebook sharing her experience. Thank you Renee! :
This is a much longer post than I typically make. The story behind the story means a lot to me. I’ve recently connected with several people I graduated high school with.
At one of these recent visits with Carrie and Kevin Carl Brooks we were talking about traveling and I shared a story about my time in “The Pit”. The pit was at the home of Caiaphas and that is where Jesus spent his last night before He was crucified.
I don’t typically share this story with others because it is so personal to me, a treasure that I replay for myself occasionally and keep very near to my heart. Some wouldn’t believe my story and others might outright scoff at it, but I know in my heart of hearts that I spent my time in the “pit” with an angel.
Kevin Carl Brooks was touched by the story so much so that he wanted to write about it. He sent me this some time ago and I’m only just now going public with it because it also means the world to me that someone I graduated with, and didn’t really know in school, would take the time to put my very personal moment into words. You never know when someone from your past will resurface and become a friend.
You also never know when you might be in the presence of an angel. In this instance – I did. I would have wrote this story from an emotional point of view but one would have to actually feel these emotions to put them to words – I believe.
Kevin really touched on the day for me – and therefore I would like to share this with you, with Kevin’s permission:
So much to take in! The woman jotted some notes in her journal. The tour had been extensive and exhausting. Not in a bad way involving boredom as guides drone on and on about this, that, and other things. There was a lot to see and they were seeing it all! If she didn’t write it down she may forget something small but important. The tour was led by the noted author and Messianic Jewish rabbi Jonathan Cahn. Who better to see the Holy Land than with a man who bridges two of the three worlds that inhabit Zion and Israel? It’s like having Peter and Paul as tour guides! The group of 300 or so were packed into the sanctuary of St. Peter in Gallicantu on the almost sheer eastern slope of Mt. Zion.
The current church was constructed on the ruins of an older Byzantine basilica which was built over the house of Caiaphas the high priest in the passion story. It was in the courtyard of Caiaphas’ home where Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. On the roof of the church atop a black cross sits a gold rooster. Galli-cantu means cockcrow in Latin.
So much history! So much more than the brief two hundred and fifty years in which our own nation has influenced our world. Rabbi Cahn’s voice lightly echos in the open vaulted spaces of the sanctuary. Everyone is listening as he relates place and time, and Christ’s presence. There is more. There is a specific place here, deep under the church. Byzantine crosses are etched in stone. It is the reason they came to this place. Age worn steps lead down to… The woman is fidgety. Voices around her raise in another hymn but she can’t keep her mind on the tune. The words fade as her mind takes hold of the dark places below. Other tours are walking through, people chatter together passing from one room to another; some people stand in the doorways listening to the hymn raising up from the many voices in the sanctuary. She steps to the side, making her way around the many who still sing in adoration. When could they ever do this again? Two thousand years separate the people from the event, yet they are bound together as if they stood silent as the cock crowed thrice.
The song recedes as she finds herself walking down corridors. Her shoes lightly scrape along the stone steps leading down deeper into the earth. Others pass her heading back up to the daylight. All the houses back then had deep places. Cisterns held water for drinking and bathing, Cool stone spaces kept food chilling, and deeper still some houses held dank, dark places set aside for some that were not guests; some that were not welcome.
Such a one was the carpenter from Galilee. Prophet, Messiah, Holy one? Caiaphas didn’t think so. The woman steadily made her way down stairs that narrowed and darkened. There was still light. It would not do to have someone stumble or become disoriented. This was still an attraction; a place of curiosity.
Early descriptions of the pit under Caiaphas’ house relate the absolute darkness and foul smell. They led him down this way, down these same steps. It was deep down; Beyond light and fresh air, beyond the pantries and storage places. Flickering torches sent shadows of the jailers jumping around the walls. Blindfolded, spat on and struck he remained quiet. “Prophesy,” they said. “Who is it who struck you?”
The only access to the pit was a round hole in the ceiling into which the prisoner was lowered in a harness. No door, no window, just a 15 by 15 rough-hewn stone room with a ceiling 20 feet up, the floor was fouled with human waste; no place to lay down, no place to sit. The walls were coated with dirt and sweat, body oils and worse. How does one comprehend the horror of the time spent in such a place for even one night.
She didn’t even realize it but she was all alone. There were no others in the lower places. Her fingertips lightly touched along the coarse walls above the pit. He endured so much, alone, denied, abused. “It’s absolutely amazing isn’t it?” She turned at the sudden sound of another voice and, unstartled, she saw a man standing in the doorway. He was dressed in Khaki attire, almost like a guide.
“Overwhelmingly amazing,” she said. And they just looked at each other for a moment.
“Can I take your picture,” he said.
She said, “Will you please?” and handed him her camera.
He took the picture and looking each other in the eyes as he handed her camera back their hands touched briefly. Everything seemed to move slowly in the still quiet room and she said, her voice echoing slightly off the surrounding stone walls: “You’re an angel aren’t you? It was more a statement than a question. The man silently smiled, and when she looked again he was gone. The woman made her way back up the winding stone stairs until she heard voices from the other members of her tour. “Renee’ where have you been?” She was amazed that she had so much time alone. Time for thought and reflection. Time for God to speak, and time to listen.
“I couldn’t wait, I had to go down”. She will never forget her time in “The Pit” with only one person to keep her company. An angel, who took her picture.