Watermelon and An Ancient Icon

Mary and Jesus Coptic Orthodox Church PaintingI was browsing Egypt’s online Al-Ahram Weekly News today and discover a cool story about Jesus. The story is from the Coptic Orthodox Church tradition concerning the fight of the Holy Family in to Egypt from King Herod.

The tradition states that the Holy Family stopped to get some water from a local farmer who was planting some watermelons. After they had rested a bit, Mary told the farmer that some soldiers where following them to kill the baby Jesus. Mary instructed the farmer to tell the soldiers that he saw the family on the same day that he planted his watermelon seeds. After this, the Holy Family left on their way deeper into Egypt.

The next day, the farmer awake to find a field full of ripped watermelons – which usually take two to three months to grow! Later on that day, soldiers from King Herod arrived as foretold by Mary. The farmer obeyed Mary and told the soldiers that the family was there on the same day that he planted the watermelon seeds. Since it usually takes two to three months for watermelons to grow, the soldiers thought the Holy Family had pasted that way two or three months ago – thus they turned back and stopped their pursuit.

Another cool tid-bit I pick up on the Al-Ahram Weekly News website is the picture you see on the right. This picture was painted in the early first century as a copy of a picture painted by Saint Luke (yes – the guy who wrote Luke and Acts).  The icon (as the Coptic Church calls it) show Mary holding the baby Jesus with John the Baptist kissing Jesus’ feet while a lamb stands in the bottom left corner. Even if the original wasn’t painted by Luke, the fact that this painting is from the first century is pretty amazing!