Chapter 11


Satan, Christian and Cain entered the spring house cellar, startling the two who were already there.

"Hello," said one of them. "And welcome. I'm Christian."

"And I'm Johannes," said the other.

"I'm sorry we've interrupted you," said Cain.

"But you're not," said Johannes.

All the men stared at each other until Cain nudged Christ- ian.

"Oh yes," he said. "I'm . . . Chris. And this is . . ."

"Blain," said Cain.

"And I'm Stan," said Satan.

Well, it's good to meet you," said Christian. "I am surprised though. We never see anyone else here. It's sort of an unknown site."

"We - have heard of it," said Chris. "And wanted to see it for ourselves. It's . . . not what we thought."

"Oh, I know," said Johannes. "There used to be so much here, barns and dormitories and craft shops. And now it's all gone, torn down as a buffer for the limestone quarry. All those houses came later. We have pictures of what it was like."

"I'd love to see them," said Chris.

"They're back at the Hermitage," explained   Christian, "Up in the mountains about two hours from here."

The three looked puzzled.

"You're not from around here, are you?" asked Christian.

"No," said Stan. "We're just passing through, from out of the area."

"Well, someday you may want to visit the Hermitage," said Johannes, "And we could show you the pictures."

"Can you take us there?" asked Chris.

"Don't you have a car?" asked Johannes. “How did you get here?”

"Uh, we had help,” quickly explained Chris.

"Good Samaritans,” added Blain.

"Okay,” said Christian, looking doubtfully at Johannes, then they both shrugged. At least these guys showed some interest, which was more than the usual reaction they got.

"That's fine,” replied Johannes. "Our van can practically hold an ox.”

“I like that!” said Blaine.

“There are no seats in the back, so it's like being jostled around in a wagon.”

“Then we'll feel right at home,” replied Chris, before he had time to think. Blaine and Stan just looked at him, hoping he wouldn't say anything to make Johannes and Christian suspicious.

“O . . . kay,” said Johannes, as he gave a puzzled look at Christian, but once again they shrugged it off.

“You know, this is a very special place,” explained Chris- tian. “After the death of the founder of our order, it was believed by our early brothers that his spirit continued to live in this spring. Indeed, they thought the spring water was his very blood, and that by drinking it and taking it inside yourself, you were taking his blood, his very spirit and being, inside you.”

”Do you still believe that?” asked Chris.

In reply, Johannes knelt beside the spring, scooped water into his hands, brought it to his lips and drank it.

Chris watched silently, not expecting to be so moved.

“So you still believe that Christ lived through him?” he asked. “You believe what the early brothers believed?”

“They believed the physical and the spiritual, the finite and the infinite, were unified and whole. That’s what we still believe and that’s why the Hermitage exists, to continue the unifying work of our early brothers and Christel.”

The five were silent for a moment, then Stan said, “That's a beautiful vision.”

“Yes, it is,” replied Johannes. “And it's a life worth living.”

“Then it's an honor for us to see your Hermitage and holy work,” said Blain.

“Then let*s go,” replied Christian.