Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reflections from Israel Trip

I've read the Bible for most of my life so was excited when the opportunity to go to Israel with my favorite radio station, Victory 91.5 presented itself.
View of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives
Jerusalem Street
Jerusalem street
Jerusalem Marketplace
Jerusalem Marketplace
I think one of the best ways to condense a trip like this into a few words is that being there makes the words jump off the page and really come alive. To walk where Jesus walked, explore the city of Jerusalem, feel the heat of the desert, see where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, hear the sounds of the marketplace, taste middle eastern foods like baklava, St. Peter's fish, shawarma, hummus, falafel, get baptized in the Jordan river, pray and worship in the garden of Gethsemane, ride on a boat on the sea of Galilee, and look across the plain of Armageddon brings the Bible to life in a way you only understand if you've been there.
Dead Sea Scroll Cave
Cave where large number of Dead Sea scrolls were found
Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
Fishermen at Cesarea
Fishermen on Mediterranean at Cesarea
One surprise was the vast amount of agriculture in the country which is maintained largely through advanced drip irrigation. When the Bible talks about the land flowing with milk and honey, our guide said that the "honey" it referred to is actually made from dates and is more of a syrup. The food we had was all quite good.
Couscous, falafel, and more
Tasty Deserts
Date Palm Tree
Date Palm Tree
From a topography perspective, Israel is a fairly hilly country. The Bible refers to mountains and to give a good feel, most of them are more along the lines of Kennesaw Mountain than the Rocky Mountains.

Wilderness near Qumran Israel
Wilderness near Qumran, Israel
People often wonder about safety in a place that's frequently in the news for unrest. By and large, I felt safe the vast majority of the time. Like anywhere, you need to be aware of your surroundings and make wise decisions if things look like they could get out of control. We saw children running around and playing quite a bit, which should give a sense of the comfort level parents had.

One of the most impactful times for me was going to the Western Wall on Shabbat. To see the Jewish people singing, dancing, and praying at the wall was deeply moving. It reminded me of the importance of praying for people I know from the Jewish faith. They believe Messiah is coming and one of my prayers is that they will come to believe in Jesus as Messiah as I do.
Western Wall Israel
At the Western Wall
Another big impact was how much significance lyrics to songs take on when actually in the place where the cross was at and where Jesus walked, taught, prayed, and rose from the dead. When I sing about the Wonderful Cross the song will come alive in a new way.
Empty tomb
Empty Tomb
Calvary Skull
Place of the Skull
It's difficult to summarize a trip like this in a few words but hopefully the above provided a taste of what it was like. I recommend for anyone to go to Israel if nothing else than for the vast amount of history and good food but also for the enormous spiritual significance.

In pursuit of His best,


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing! I am so blessed not only by being where we were but doing it with folks like you! Love ya brother!

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