There was no relief, it seemed, from the hot desert sun. Joseph turned around to check on Mary and baby Jesus. It was a hard journey for anyone to travel from Israel to Egypt, but especially difficult for a young mother holding a child in her arms. Satisfied that Mary was tolerating the trip, Joseph continued holding a rope attached to the donkey. He had not chosen this flight to Egypt. He had intended to return to his workshop to resume work. There were several pieces half finished awaiting his attention. Joseph sighed. The work would have to wait. The safety of his family came first.
The angel who had visited him in his dreams was very explicit—flee to Egypt or his child would be killed by King Herod. This was the second time he had been the recipient of a message from God. The first time, he had been told not to divorce Mary when she had been found with child. He had obeyed then and he was obeying now. He knew better than to argue with God. Wasn’t it written in the holy scriptures what happened to people when they disobeyed God? Joseph had no intention of prompting God’s wrath.
A few miles further and Joseph spied an oasis built around an underground spring. God be praised, he thought. The skins containing their water supply were almost empty. He could refill them at the spring and give Mary much needed rest. He guided the donkey to a watering trough and tied him to a post. He reached up to receive baby Jesus from Mary’s arms. A servant girl appeared at his side and offered to hold the baby while Joseph assisted Mary. Jesus gave a little cry announcing he was awake and hungry. Mary smiled as Joseph eased her off the donkey and onto the dusty ground. She reached for her baby and walked toward a tent where women were gathered. She would be able to feed Jesus in a quiet and cooler place.
Joseph looked around. This was a large oasis. The spring must be substantial. He made his way through a group of Bedouins and approached a man sitting at a table. After a few minutes of negotiation, Joseph was assured of a tent for the night and hot food. With the essentials taken care of, Joseph sought refuge in the shade of a grove of date trees. He sat on the ground and let his mind replay the events of the past few days. It was almost too much to take in. He, Joseph of Nazareth, was now the earthly father to a very special babe. He let out a long breath, leaned back, and closed his eyes. “Why me?” He thought. “Of all the men in the world, why did God choose me for such a task? Can I be the father Jesus deserves?” His thoughts were interrupted by the braying of a nearby camel. He stood and straightened his shoulders. He didn’t know what the future would hold, but he did know he would do everything in his power to fulfill God’s plan for him and his family. Joseph was learning to live by faith.
Matthew 2:13-15 “13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”