A Jewish Girl Named Mary
The Tuesday night Bible study at our Jews for Jesus center in Manhattan had already begun. Upon the third floor Peter Rice was teaching a group of us about the Apostles’ Creed. About halfway through the lesson, the elevator door opened and in walked a young woman I had never seen before.
I guessed immediately that she was probably from Greenwich Village. The Village” used to be where most of the “beatniks” and “hippies” hung out. Now it is the center of the “punk rock” movement, and I could see from the young woman’s appearance that she was definitely a “punk” type. She was wearing torn clothing, with safety pins stuck all over her dress—which wasn’t really a dress but an oversized shirt. Her bleached blonde hair was divided into about a dozen little one-inch braids that stuck straight up all over her head. Her eyebrows were painted dark brown in the shape of two rectangles.
I motioned for her to come and sit in an empty chair near me, and she settled down to listen to the Bible study. After the lesson, I introduced myself and found out that her name was Mary. She did indeed live in the “Village” and had found out about our Bible study from her local newspaper, The Village Voice. She told me a little about her background.
Mary was not only somewhat unusual in appearance; there were some unusual details in her history. Even her name was rather unusual for a Jewish girl. Most Jewish parents would not name their child Mary because of its New Testament association. (The Jewish version would be Miriam.) Another unusual detail of Mary’s life was that during her childhood, her Jewish parents had converted to Catholicism. Mary had rebelled against religion entirely, and had become involved in what she admitted was a very sinful lifestyle. Recently she had realized a spiritual emptiness and hunger in her life, but she really did not know to whom or to what to turn in order to fill that void. She thought that Jesus might be the answer, so our ad in The Village Voice had caught her attention.
I took down Mary’s name and address and arranged a time for us to meet again to discuss spiritual matters. We met one afternoon shortly after that. Mary really did not have a great many questions and admitted not knowing where to begin her spiritual quest. I gave her a Bible and told her my story. I suggested that she should begin reading in the Gospel of John and take notes as questions arose in her mind. Mary and I have been having weekly telephone conversations, and I sense that she is very close to accepting Yeshua. She does have some doubts and fears, so I am praying that soon she will be able to “let go” and invite him into her life.