As you may know, if you receive the prayer request list that Rick sends out each week, I recently took part in a tour to Israel. It had long been a dream of mine, to travel to the Holy Land and actually see the sights I’ve only read about in the Bible for such a long time. The trip was everything I had hoped it would be. So many times, I felt like I needed to pinch myself, hardly believing I was actually in the Land of the Bible; the land where the patriarchs wandered, where King David had his exploits with his mighty men, where Solomon’s Temple stood, and most especially, the land where Jesus lived, walked, taught, and healed.
One of the thoughts that ran through my mind the most is: “I had no idea Israel was such a beautiful country.” It is breath-takingly beautiful: from the barren, sandy hills of the Judean desert, to the calm, serene majesty of the Sea of Galilee, to the stunning vistas of the Dead Sea, there was so much beauty to behold. Yes, a beautiful country, Israel. But the jewel in the crown is Jerusalem. A quote I came across recently from the Talmud states, “Ten measures of beauty descended to the world; Jerusalem took nine.”
On our tour, we visited so many historical/biblical sites. Most notable among them (for me) were:
- the Jordan River, at the place called the Baptismal Site, where they believe Jesus was baptized. Just setting my feet in the brown water of the Jordan was thrilling.
- The Temple, the holiest site for the Jews, the place where God said He would put His Name forever; wherein was contained the Holy of Holies, where the Presence of God rested above the Arc of the Covenant. Standing at the Western Wall, my mind swirled with all these thoughts and emotions. The very Presence of God…so nearby, in His desire to dwell among His people.
- The visit to Gethsemane and Golgotha were also surreal. Standing there it was hard to wrap my mind around what had taken place at these sites so many years ago, and the world-shaking implications of those events…. the very Son of God choosing to be a Sacrifice to save mankind.
- At the Garden Tomb, peaceful and serene, it was amazing and thrilling to see the open entrance. Not sealed off by a large stone, but standing open for any who would to come in and see that the Tomb is, indeed, empty.
What a blessing and a privilege to get to travel to this most amazing country. It’s like stepping into the pages of the Bible. I am longing for the day when I can return. Thank you to those who prayed for me during my travels. Your prayers were answered. And thank you to all who support our ministry to the men and women of Chester County Prison. Our aim is to help them draw closer to this One Who sacrificed Himself for their sake. And your prayers and financial support help us do that. Thank you.