After walking on the footsteps of Jesus Christ and other spiritual forefathers I’ll never read the Bible the same anymore. It became alive! It’s hard to put into a few words all the adventures I had while touring Israel and Jordan only two weeks ago Despite the tragic terrorist shooting of eight young Jewish students in a Jerusalem synagogue on March 6th, we still felt safe as we stayed within our group at all times. But here’s a rundown on some of the highlights….
Landing in Tel Aviv
For someone who’d never been overseas, just the experience of traveling halfway around the world and landing in a foreign country was a thrill. Gazing out my airplane window, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was awake, as I studied the Israeli coastline. Then later as we drove from the Tel Aviv airport, I was fascinated with the white-stoned Israeli houses. The palm trees and green grass reminded me of when we lived in south Florida. I was struck how Israel is a poor nation and how the people hung their laundry out to dry on their stone courtyards. As we drove north to coastal town of Netanya, Israel for our first night, I listened in amazement as our Jewish guide, Paul, explained how this was the land of miracles.
Capernaum and Sea of Galilee
It was here in Capernaum that Jesus carried out most of his ministry. As we sat in the area where he delivered His Sermon on the Mount, I tried to imagine what it was like to be one of his early followers who were spellbound by His Words. Then, we viewed a 2,000 year old boat that it believed to be the very one used by Jesus when He calmed the storms.
Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Arriving in Jerusalem was the highlight of the trip for me. Truly the spiritual capitol of the world, rabbis, Muslims, and tour buses dot every street. A small minority of Christians (about 100-120 churches) also call Israel home.
Besides visiting the sites where it’s believed Jesus was born, died, and arose, I was also touched by the Western Wall (also known as “Wailing Wall”) where I saw devout Jews with the prayer books, as they bobbed their head back and forth in prayer. Then we stood at the Temple Mount where we heard of the detailed Old Testament procedure of bringing animals to slaughter for sacrifices for the atonement for sins.
Crossing the Israeli border into Jordan we walked the paths of Old Testament saints such as Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. Standing atop Mount Nebo (where the Lord told him he could view Canaan but not enter), I was awestricken by the beauty of the Promised Land. In our motels in Amman and Petra, Jordan, we were awakened by 4:30 AM Muslim wakeup calls to prayer.
Our Fellow Pilgrims
Finally, it was a joy to share the trip with 17 other tourists making up our “Pilgrims Tours” group. Headed by our “tribe” leader, Pastor Stan Allaby, the group said goodbye to one another at Boston’s Logan Airport on March 16th. We felt blessed to have made some new brothers and sisters in Christ and were determined to keep up with one another by email.