The Bible Jumpers have left the cave and they find themselves in a vast grassland. Daniel explains that these are good areas for shepherds to feed their sheep. They see a light in the distance.
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“I think I stepped in something,” said John lifting his sandaled foot, “Zach can you bring that light over here. He sat down on one of the white stones to take a look. “This is a weird rock…its furry.”
Zach came over with his torch. “Uh…John… that is not a rock.” The ‘rock’ began to move. John lost his balance and fell face down in the grass. When he lifted his head, he was face to face with an animal.
“AHHHHHHHHH!!!!” screamed John as he scrambled to his feet.
“Calm down John,” said Mary, “It’s just a cute sheep.” She went over to it and rubbed its head.
“Cute!!!” exclaimed John. “That thing scared me to death!”
“Well how would you feel if someone was sitting on you while you’re sleeping?” scolded Liz as she went to the sheep and petted it.
“Are you okay John?” asked Daniel.
John straightened himself. “Yeah…yeah I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”
The silence on the grassland was broken by scattered BAAAAHHHHS from the sheep that were awakened by the noise John had caused.
“Who’s there!?” someone called from the campfire.
The Bible Jumpers froze. “Who’s there?!” the shepherd called again, “Come into the light!”
“Don’t be afraid,” said Daniel to the others. He turned to the shepherd, “We’re coming.” Following Daniel, the Bible Jumpers navigated around the bleating sheep to the shepherd’s campfire.
“That’s as close as you get!” said the shepherd who was standing on a rock. In his hands was a wooden shepherd’s staff which he held as if it was a weapon. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
In the firelight, the shepherd looked fierce. ‘What are we going to do,’ thought Liz.
Daniel stepped forward. “We are travelers on our way to Bethlehem. We lost the road to the town when night fell. We saw your light and we followed it thinking it would lead us to the town. We apologize for waking your sheep.”
The shepherd stepped off the rock and approached them with his staff still at the ready. He looked at each one carefully. “You don’t look like bandits,” he said. He smiled and placed his hand on Daniel’s shoulder. “It is dangerous to travel by night. Please make yourself warm by the fire.”
The fire was warm and comforting. “Would you like some water?” asked the shepherd.
“We’re fine thank you,” said Daniel.
As Zach warmed himself, he looked around the campfire. Lying on the grass, snoring loudly, were other shepherds. “How many shepherds are here?”
“There are nine of us total,” said the shepherd, “We take shifts every hour watching the sheep.”
“What is your name?” asked Liz.
“My name is Amos,” said the shepherd as he bowed before Liz.
“Amos…what’s with all the noise?” asked a shepherd who was on the opposite side of the fire. A slightly older man approached Amos. He rubbed his eyes. “It is very hard to get any sleep with all this…” He paused and looked cautiously at the Bible Jumpers.
“Sorry Reuben,” said Amos to the older shepherd, “but we have guests.”
Reuben stood next to Amos. “I didn’t know people would travel this late at night.”
“We were on our way to Bethlehem and we got lost,” said Carrie.
“I see… so you are going to town to be registered and taxed also?” asked Reuben.