Lawrence of Arabia
Rita Snowdon relates an incident from the life of T. E. Lawrence. In 1915 he was journeying across the desert with some Arabs. Things were desperate. Food was almost done, and water was at its last drop. Their hoods were over their heads to shelter them from the wind which was like a flame and full of the stinging sand of the sandstorm. Suddenly someone said, “Where is Jasmin?” Another said, “Who is Jasmin?” A third answered, “That yellow-faced man from Maan. He killed a Turkish tax-collector and fled to the desert.” The first said, “Look, Jasmin’s camel has no rider. His rifle is strapped to the saddle, but Jasmin is not there.” A second said, “Someone has shot him on the march.” A third said, “He is not strong in the head, perhaps he is lost in a mirage; he is not strong in the body, perhaps he has fainted and fallen off his camel.” Then the first said, “What does it matter? Jasmin was not worth ten pence.” And the Arabs hunched themselves up on their camels and rode on. But Lawrence turned and rode back the way he had come. Alone, in the blazing heat, at the risk of his life, he went back. After an hour and a half’s ride he saw something against the sand. It was Jasmin, blind and mad with heat and thirst, being murdered by the desert. Lawrence lifted him up on his camel, gave him some of the last drops of precious water, slowly plodded back to his company. When he came up to them, the Arabs looked in amazement. “Here is Jasmin,” they said, “Jasmin, not worth ten pence, saved at his own risk by Lawrence, our lord.” That is a parable. It was not good men Christ died to save but sinners, not God’s friends but men at enmity with him.