Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Day of Contrasts

Little did I know that today would be a day of distinction, discovering stark comparisons in many areas during our fourth day here in Israel. These disparities were not all glaring, some were very subtle. Yet all were woven together to form a tapestry of surprise. Just when I thought I saw one thing, my eyes were opened to see the contrast…. On our way from Tiberias through Cana (remember the story of contrast that occurred here—Jesus taking everyday water and changing it into not so everyday wine), we stopped at a real live re-creation of Nazareth. (Check out www.nazarethvillage.comThis plot of land was discovered and Nazareth Village was born. Amidst the bustling city of post-Jesus Nazareth, there was a 1st century farm which was uncovered. It included terraces for farming, stone buildings and even a lookout for a shepherd for his sheep. This was such an amazing experience to see how people actually lived in Jesus’ day. Each character was true to the period; even the children dressed and played from that time (sorry, no ipods or xbox here). As we left the simple lifestyle of that farm, we encountered the vast complex city of modern-day Nazareth. Simple to complex…contrast. The drive through the West Bank was a real eye-opener. The lush green hills gave way to less and less vegetation. The diversity was great. Our tour guide has said it was going to be like this. He was right. Where elevated green hills, trees of many kinds and beautiful flowers bloomed, dry desert tan earth abounded for miles. Some of our group took naps on the bus ride through this area. They were really shocked when they woke up to what looked like Death Valley….contrast. The Word talks about the last battlefield in Revelation. We stood at Megiddo, the valleys of the different “ites’ before us. Amidst the ruins of 26 civilizations, layered upon on another, rock horse troughs, and vast altars for sacrificing children called out to us to remember the vast contrast between the spiritual warfare of the day. Evil is always pitted against good; only in this case however, our good God will be victorious…contrast. Bedouins, the nomadic Palestinian people eeking out an existence in Israel set up primitive shacks on the land. Think homeless people in the US, in shanty towns. The drive between the Dead Sea at 1,500 feet below sea level and the Dome of the Rock at 400 plus feet above sea level gave us a panoramic view of the famous salty lake. The Bedouins homes were overshadowed as we got our first view of the Holy City. Multi-unit housing, high rises, congested neighborhoods, modern transportation instead of camels.…a land of great contrast. We drove and walked in the steps of Jesus today. Most days in the US, we are good to pause to take in the life of Christ written on the pages of the precious Word He so wisely gave to us. We have seen authentic locations where Christ did life everyday, in contrast to letters on pages of our Bibles that only speak of His amazing life and ministry. We are thoroughly taken by the reality of Scripture as we see it come to life here in Israel. It is more than words on a page, history in letters. We are thankful that these facts are written for us to further believe. Seeing, my friends, really is believing. This life-altering experience only highlights what we are now able to see because we have seen with our own eyes this amazing place.…contrast. May you see God with new eyes today. Shalom! Pastor Jim and Andrea

1 comment:

  1. Dear Pastor Jim and Andrea,
    Thank you so much for these insightful writings of your time in Israel. It is wonderful to "see" this land through your eyes.
    God bless the rest of your visit.
    Patricia Wash