Israel during Lent – Day 8

Day 8.  Last Day in Israel and What a Day it was.   Hezekiah’s tunnel.   701 BC.  Having 20 years earlier overrun and ended the Northern Kingdom of Israel forever, Sennacherib, King of Assyria, now threatened Judah’s existence.   In order to survive a siege, King Hezekiah had to plan for a reliable water supply.  So he had an underground aqueduct built a quarter mile long and our group walked through it to the pool of Siloam (John 9)! Pretty cool. . . And wet! The Western Wall (wailing wall)  We joined other pilgrims from around the world praying at this 2000 plus year old foundation of the Jerusalem temple. This writer wrote prayers for his wife, each of his children, their spouses,  their children, prayed those prayers, then left those written prayers in the wall, following that up with prayers for others.  It was a special and powerful experience leaving that wall with the deep sense that God is answering those prayers.   It was emotional for each of us to realize that the Lord of the universe notices and cares about and acts on behalf of each of us in the most personal of ways.  A Road that Jesus walked! Of all the sights we visited there was one where archaeologists are 100 percent certain that Jesus walked and we walked there.  Almost too big to take in.    The Garden Tomb Visited one of the two possible sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.  An Iraqi Jewish Christian woman was our guide and she could not have explained the Gospel, (God’s coming to earth to die for our sins because we are incapable of ridding ourselves of them) any more clearly! Right after that we had communion.   Think about that for a moment.  For most of us American citizenship is about our promise to remain loyal to America, expressed in the Pledge of Allegiance.  For a Christian, citizenship in the Kingdom of God is about God’s commitment to us as expressed in bread and wine symbolizing God’s giving his life for us.   Now what Kingdom that ever existed on planet earth has ever had a king like that?  God in Jesus is a King who has won the loyalty of his followers not by the sword but by a cross.  We watched a shepherd herd his sheep in the same shepherd field where King David tended sheep as a boy, just outside of Bethlehem.   That may be the same field where the shepherds would have heard the birth of Jesus announced.  Like wow! Viewed the wall between Muslim Bethlehem and outer Jerusalem, site of the Intifada in 2000.   We must pray for “the peace of Jerusalem” The Valley of Ellah  This is where 11 year old David jumped to the front of the line and said I’ll go.  He ran down to the creek, got 5 smooth stones and did what he had practiced since he was 5. He used his sling to fell the Philistine’s chosen fighter, a man named Goliath.  Each of us is bringing a stone home from that same stream home with us, reminding us that none of us is exempt from the call of God, nor are we incapable of answering that when we simply say yes and trust God enough to go. 
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