It was this past March I was given a wonderful opportunity to visit Israel with a group of twelve other journalists. Wow, how that trip made an indelible mark in my memory banks.
I am reminded of the landscape of Israel every time I open up my Bible. When I am reading the scriptures and I read about Israel and I read about Jerusalem, I can picture it. When I read about the Sea of Galilee and Jesus walking on the water or calming the storm, I can say, “I was there!”
I have been to the Temple Mount and to the Western Wall, even to lay my hands on the Wall and pray for my loved ones. I have walked down the Via Dolorosa and as I quieted my soul I can get a sense of how great my Father’s love is for me.
I can honestly say I have walked where Jesus walked and I have seen where He taught the multitudes. And for an Evangelical Christian, I don’t think it gets better than that — unless it’s heaven itself.
For some, you can only imagine. But, I encourage many to go to Israel, because you’ll never be the same.
My trip was eight days. But, you can stay for 3 weeks easy. Each day was packed with touring, walking, eating, picture-taking and reading scripture.
When I think what was my favorite place, if I had to pick one. I would choose sitting in the synagogue in Capernaum and reading from the book of Luke, …”that the Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” This town is where Jesus began his ministry. In this town Jesus taught and healed. It was in this town, the light shined. But, then with a flip of a coin, I can say it was when I was baptized in the Jordan River.
Then, there was our visit to Masada. We took the cable cars up, passing the huge walls of the cliffs. Our tour group leader Marion Bleiberg, who shared Israel’s history shadowed by her own Jewish heritage, is what every visitor needs as a tour guide. When we reached the top of this monumental fortress, Marion unfolded the story of what happened to the Jewish people at Masada and their ultimate sacrifice unto death. You can only imagine, but I encourage you to go and see Masada for yourself.
When we visited Caesarea, you could see the area of the Greek Hippodrome where the chariot races were held. You could hear the horse hoofs on the dirt as they came around pulling the Chariots. It was my time to imagine.
As the trip was coming to its last days, the best was yet to come. We all boarded onto the bus and drove to an area that gave the panoramic view of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. You have to read Psalm 87:1-3, “On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!”
I have seen pictures of Jerusalem, but nothing compares to seeing Jerusalem in real-time.
My trip has been the trip of a lifetime. I cherished each day.
I fell in love with Israel. It has given me a kindred spirit to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem. I found Israel has something for everybody — history, food, culture, architecture, and adventure!
Don’t only imagine, go there and see Israel for yourself in real-time!
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