“Hearing his words, I hesitated about going to Nazareth with him or going to see this Mary’s well. The latter alternative prevailed. ‘Yes, I want to visit Mary’s well. Where is it? ‘It’s just three hundred meters away. Cross over that field, and you’ll find it. Good luck! After you see the well, you can take a bus to Nazareth. The bus stop is across the road.’
“I walked in the countryside, but I couldn’t find the well. I asked a man on the way. ‘Yes, it is down there. Some people drink the water of the well, but I’ve never done that,’ he answered.
“After passing by a garbage heap, finally I found the well! I got near to it and was welcomed by the warm greetings of several children. ‘Shalom! Shalom! Shalom!’ they all sang in one voice. ‘Shalom!’ I answered with a big smile.
“The children were splashing in the pool, jumping up and down. Actually, the well was a pool. The water had a bluish hue, which degraded into light blue and ended in whitish colorlessness by the edge where I was standing. At first, I guessed that the light blue color of the water was caused by the reflection of the blue sky. But soon I realized that the pool was too small and shallow to reflect the blue sky. The water didn’t seem to be stirred up by the children who splashed continuously. Its preternatural blue color remained unaltered.
“I took off my shoes and tried to keep my balance while I was walking on uneven, pointed stones. I sat on the edge of the pool and dipped my feet into the cool water. Then I washed my face and my head. There was an ancient wall on one side of the pool. A small blue rivulet fed the pool. I had never found any mark about this Mary’s well on the map. Nevertheless, I visited the well by chance. The sky blue color of the water and its atmosphere enchanted me. When I stepped out of the well, the children performed a Hebraic dance for me. I was happy to see their dance. I waved goodbye to them, smiling. Then I walked to the bus stop.
This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
The Western Wall is what remains of the Temple of Solomon. The first temple was built by Solomon in the tenth century BC and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Then, it was rebuilt upon the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile in the fifth century BC. This second temple was remodeled and enlarged by King Herod and finally destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
In front of the Western Wall, there is a wide square. The combined wall and square were enchanting. The houses, which looked onto the square, didn’t spoil the environment. They fit in the urban context. Everything there was white from the Wall to the limestone of the houses. Entering the square, I noticed a fountain with many water taps. Plastic jars were tied to each faucet with strings. At first, I thought it was drinking water, but then I saw people washing their hands. In fact, they filled the jars and poured the water on their hands before and after they touched the Wailing Wall. I poured a jar of water on my hands too. I rubbed them and went to the wall.
On the external part of the wall there were some scattered bushes of wild herbs. They looked like capers. I saw only men praying in front of the wall. While they were praying, they shook their bodies back and forth, bending their heads. On the left side close to the wall, I noticed a wide table with many books on it. Upon reading the books, the Orthodox Jews besides shaking their bodies, uttered a kind of gibberish, but different from that I heard in India and in the Protestant Church. This gibberish was much shriller.
The square was divided into two by a barrier. I peeped through it and saw women praying in the other side of the wall. The part of the square reserved for them was smaller, so they crowded in front of the wall.
When I entered the square, there was a stand on my right. A man sitting behind the table gave me a white-colored kippah. He said to me, “Talk with God! You have nothing to do but talk with God. Confine yourself to talking with God!”
I wore the kippah and headed for the wall. I took a seat on one of the many white chairs in the square, raised my head and admired that majestic wall that seemed to touch the sky. In my mind I relived its history and pictured the Temple of Solomon. How gorgeous it was! It had been built to house the Ark of the Covenant.
People prayed with one arm against the wall and their head against their arm. They were talking with God. I stood up, put my arm against the wall as well, and set my head against my arm according to Jewish custom. I talked with God, saying everything I felt at that moment. I loved that kind of prayer. Talking with the divinity is deeper than reciting an absent-minded prayer.
On the right side of the Wailing Wall, there were indoor vaults. I entered the hall beneath the vaults. I saw the original foundations through a glass floor. There were many shelves with plenty of books on them.
I went out and headed for the man from whom I had borrowed the kippah. He wanted to give me a leather black strap with a small leather black box in the middle of it.
“What is this for?” I asked him.
“Oh, you are not Jewish. Move on!”
I washed my hands one more time at the fountain and left the square for Jaffa Gate.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind