Where Jesus Walked
“I want to see, smell, taste, and feel the things that Jesus saw, smelled, tasted, and felt.”
“I want to be closer to God.”
“See the archeological sites.”
“Swim in the Dead Sea.”
These were just a few of the expectations voiced before we, a group of Salvation Army officers, embarked on a journey of biblical proportions. It is common to hear people who have been in Israel say, “I will never read Scripture the same way again.”
When I heard this, I was skeptical. So often, travel to other countries is initially exciting, but soon the memories diminish and are relegated to the past tense. Nonetheless, I kept an open mind.
As it turned out, Israel proved to be unlike any place I’d visited in the world. I’m not sure if it’s the “all of your heart, soul, and spirit” connection I have with the Lord or if it’s the intense history on which Christians and Jews base their faith and their lives. In any event, it felt like home; so familiar, yet new.
Never before had I seen an ancient civilization revealed. As we walked through Beth Shean, we saw the remains of this city, which centuries ago had been destroyed by an earthquake. Stone pillars and buildings stood just as they had when archeologists found them recently. Caesarea Philippi changed the way I thought about Matthew 16:13, “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This question, posed in the backdrop of the cultic worship of Pan, is of tremendous significance and reveals God in the most unlikely place.
In addition to exercising our intellect, we also rolled up our sleeves. The activity I enjoyed and would like to pursue further was the archeological “dig.” Under Israel’s layered civilizations await more historic treasures. When the Dome of the Rock was being built at the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, earthmovers “dumped” the layers of history in a landfill. Bucket by bucket, the earth is scoured in the Temple Mound sifting project.
Found were bone fragments (sacrificed animals), coins (three found by people in our group), clay pottery, metal, special stones, and mosaic tile pieces. To actually hold these discovered artifacts and then imagine the history behind them was pure joy.
At the conclusion of our journey, we summarized it in several three–word phrases.
“Awe, joy, sadness”
“Inspired, educated, challenged”
“Abraham’s everlasting legacy”
“Pray for peace”
“Revelation, reverence, resilience”
The Salvation Army has enriched our lives. We are better equipped now to preach and to live the Word. Our hopes and expectations were exceeded.
Seeing through Israel’s geographic lens brings Scripture to life. Today, as I prepare a sermon or study God’s Word, my new insight transports me to a vivid place in my imagination. I can now realize a richer experience.
I can literally sing, “I walked today where Jesus walked…and felt Him close to me.”
by Captain Cindy–Lou Drummond