Written by Jonathan Davis
January 6, 2014
It’s a cool night in Jerusalem, but I am sitting in the warmth of our hotel lobby, snatching a quick moment in the corner to write in my journal as visitors scurry past to the dining hall or to their rooms, each on their own adventure. As they walk in, the feet of each guest shakes off the dust of the ancient streets they spent the day exploring.
It is our last night in Jerusalem, ending our tour through Israel and Jordan. A city drenched in history – holy to three major religions and filled with a diversity of people and beliefs unmatched outside its ancient gates – Jerusalem remains a cultural center for the world. It is a place where one walks side by side with antiquity and modernity, a place where the past is entangled with the present in a beautiful union that points to eternity.
The day has been a long one, filled with captured moments of both solemnity and excitement. But this has been true of the whole trip. Each day special and unique. Each day a moment shared with the pages and stories of the Bible. Each day a reminder of why I came on this trip. Each day an increase to my faith.
When I signedup to go to the Bible Lands, I was promised the trip of a lifetime. What I received was far more--a glimpse into eternity. More than I had before, I saw God in Israel. I walked the paths my Savior walked, visited the sites of His miraculous deeds, and prayed quietly in the places of His suffering. When you see the Lord, you see Heaven. And so when you climb the Mount of Olives and walk the paths of Calvary you glimpse both sacrifice and salvation. When you read the words of Christ in the very places they were uttered you are enveloped in history’s most precious moments. When you come to Israel, you see God’s covenant with a nation, its fulfillment, and His promise for eternity. When you come to Israel, you see God.
I have sailed the Sea of Galilee, calm in a way I imagine it to have been 2000 years ago after Christ quieted a storm.
I have worshipped with the church in Nazareth, the place our Lord called home, where we joined our two languages in praise to God.
I have viewed the Promised Land from the peaks of Nebo where Moses longingly beheld it.
I have visited the pools of Siloam and Bethesda where Jesus healed and taught.
I have walked upon the Mount of Olives, praying over the rock believed to be where my Lord prayed to His Father in those final hours, sweating drops of blood.
I have walked along the Via Dolorosa--the Way of Sorrows—in the same path my Savior carried His cross, the stone pathway smoothed by the footsteps of countless pilgrims.
There are moments in my life when I have recognized the footsteps of my Lord beside me. It was a truly special moment when I walked beside the footsteps my Lord took for me so many years ago.
So although I may wash the streets of Israel from my feet, leaving the sand of another day behind me, I cannot wash Israel from my heart. This trip has shaped me and provided me with a perspective I wish every Christian could have. I have been blessed to travel so many places during my time at Freed-Hardeman. Each molded me, matured me, and gave me a greater appreciation for the world. But nothing else I have done during my life has blessed my faith as much as this trip. It is truly an experience unparalleled and indescribable. And it is a memory that I will hold in my heart forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.