There is an old story that has been passed down for generations within the Jewish faith. It’s about a renowned and revered rabbi, known as Rabbi Akiva, who lived in Israel in the first century A.D.
The story begins one late afternoon, just before sunset, on the northern shore of the Sea of Gaillee. Rabbi Akiva is walking back home to his cottage in Capernaum, meditating and reciting the Hebrew Scriptures as he wends his way toward the city gate.
Lost in thought, Rabbi Akiva absentmindedly makes a wrong turn down an unknown path as the sun sinks behind the mountains. It’s only when he’s jolted from his meditative state by a booming voice that he realizes the path he has followed has led him to the large gate of a Roman fortress.
A Roman Century Guard stands atop the wall and shouts down to Rabbi Akiva: “WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
Startled, the rabbi asks: “What did you say?”
“WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU HERE?” the guard repeats himself, more forcefully this time.
Rabbi Akiva, having had a moment to gather his thoughts, calls up, calmly, to the Roman Guard: “How much do you get paid to ask me these questions?”
The guard pauses. After a moment of brief consideration, he responds, the faintest hint of curiosity in his voice: “Two drachma per week.”
“I’ll pay you twice that much,” the rabbi said, “to stand outside my house and ask me those same two questions every morning.”