Mark 7:25

For a woman, whose little daughter had a foul spirit in her, heard of him immediately, and came and threw herself at his feet –

wouldn’t you know it
once word is out
there is no retracting it
from any even them

a quiet house comes full
rankings are pulled
in-line claims first
class and money bargain hard

it turns out
the most despicable
is the most desperate
and equally resolute

facing countervailing desire
is ever more difficult
as our own is thwarted
yet one more time

Verse 6:31 seems a long way back. Jesus and the disciples couldn’t find time to eat. It was time for a break. Boat. Feeding 5,000. Water walking. Gennesaret. Pharisees.

Matthew has the disciples present at this encounter in a safe house in wealthy Tyre. Had they finally gotten away?

Mark has no mention of the disciples until he summons them again in 8:1. Had Jesus finally gotten away, even from the Twelve?

No longer among Israelites, his people, there comes another intrusion from the wealth of the Tyrean area feeding off Israel (remember back to Elisha’s cavalier approach to Naaman). At the very least it is a test, in the wilderness of Phoenicia, of the inclusion of the unclean Jesus touted before the Pharisees prior to coming into the anonymity of a foreign city.

The last time Jesus roamed far from Jewish territory it was to the southwest with the Gerasene “demoniac” who also did obeisance. This man was instructed to stay in his foreign land and tell his story of Jesus, a forerunner of later churches in the area. At question here is whether the Gentile mission will be further expanded.

I don’t know what to make of it, but there is a tradition kept alive in the Eastern Orthodox tradition of the woman at the well having a name, Photina (The Lady of the Light). Also, the Clementine Homilies speak of Peter directing Clementine to stay in Tyre with “Bernice, the daughter of Justa the Canaanitess”. Sometimes there are extra-biblical traditions that can be helpful. Does it make a difference to your reading of the story if this woman and daughter are named? If it does, will you be bold to add them in when you next read this pericope aloud?

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