Once inside the car, Liam handed her the jar.
“How do we get into this?” she asked. “It’s sealed. And how on earth did you get this out of Lebanon? I heard it’s against the law to remove antiquities. Especially one like this which is all in one piece. It must be extremely valuable.”
“I may be mistaken, but I think you and I are the only ones who recognize this for what it is. The customs officials at both airports appeared to think it’s a coffee mug. As to how to open it, I’ve a pocket knife in my luggage. Which reminds me, once we’ve finished, could you drop me at a hotel—preferably one with functioning air conditioning?”
Evelyn laughed. “I think I could find one. But I don’t think we should be opening this in a restaurant. Maybe we should find the hotel first. There’s one called the Crown Plaza close by, and it has a restaurant, too.”
“If it has air conditioning, that sounds like heaven to me. Except for cat naps on the jets, I’ve not slept for nearly 24 hours, nor have I had a decent meal in that length of time.”
Evelyn started the car, and it soon had cold air blowing on a blissful Englishman. By the time they arrived at the Crown Plaza in a few short minutes, he almost fell asleep.
“My apologies, dear lady,” he said, yawning hugely, once he was checked in and they were on the way to his room. “I’m not bored, just a bit exhausted.”
“I promise not to stay long, just long enough to find out what is in this jar.”
“I confess to an avid curiosity myself,” Liam said.
He had bought a newspaper in the airport, and they spread the want ad section from the Phoenix Sun on the bed. Liam pulled a Swiss army knife from the luggage and removed the clay seal in the mouth of the jar, working carefully but efficiently. Inside was a small roll of parchment. No—two—one inside the other.
He took two cups provided by the motel for coffee, filled them with water, and heated water to boiling. He placed the scrolls inside the microwave with the steaming cups of water and smiled at Evelyn. “These need to soften for a time. Shall we go have a bite to eat?”
An hour and a half later, they returned to his room and retrieved the papyrus from the moisture-laden air in the microwave. He carefully spread the sheets of parchment, which were unbelievably well preserved, scarcely even brittle.
The first was a letter to Evelyn.
I have to admit you’re right. There is a God, and He does have a Son named Jesus. We have met him—Sarah, Tamara, and I. The three of us are together again and happy. Don’t ask me how, but Jesus took each of us back through time to approximately 30 CE. It seems we have an opportunity to get things right this time. And Jesus healed Tamara. Please take the other letter in this jar to my mother. I know she must be devastated by what appeared to be the deaths of the three people closest to her.
The second letter was, of course, to his mother.
I know right now you must be grieving at what appeared to be my death, but I want you to know I didn’t die in that wreck. This will be hard for you to fathom, I know, but I’m alive and well in the time of Christ, living in Tyre, Phoenicia (now Lebanon). Not only am I alive and well, but so are Sarah and Tammy. Tamara came first, then Sarah, then me.
Something else I want you to know. Jesus is real, and He is the Son of God. We have all three met Him face to face, and He is as wonderful as the Bible says. People have been healed right in front of our eyes, and other people’s lives have changed for the better, including Sarah’s and mine.
We are happy here. You knew Sarah and I had been having problems, but we were given one more chance to get our relationship straightened out, and we have.
I know this is hard for you, Mom, but hang onto Evelyn and listen to her. She tried to tell me before about the Lord, but I wouldn’t listen. I hope you will listen to her now. Jesus said she will be the delivery person giving this letter to you. He wouldn’t tell me how He would preserve this piece of papyrus or how He would get it to you, but I know now He can do all things and do them well.
We send our love to you. Thank you for your belief in me—in fact in all of us—over the years.
Paul, Sarah, and Tammy”
Evelyn had tears running down her cheeks. Liam found his own eyes a little moist.
Evelyn rummaged through her purse and found her cell phone. She dialed Halena’s number. “Hello, Halena? This is Evelyn McPhersen. I know it’s at a bad time, but could I come see you this evening? I have a friend here who has something you have to see.”