I returned yesterday from my first ever visit to Eretz Israel… impressions are beginning to coalesce in my mind… at the top, I will go out on a grammatical and semantic limb to say Israel is a unity of dichotomies. That’s not really logically possible, is it? Neither is Israel. It is truly a miracle, and is ultimately beyond intellectual comprehension.
On the tour bus the first day I noticed that this land which is so deep in historical and spiritual significance is also a normal, vibrant community… commuters on bicycles, hippies with backpacks….
As we ascended to Jerusalem from the east on the sixth day, our guide pointed out that the Holy City straddles two climate zones. He might as well have said it straddles two worlds, or two universes….
The Hebrew word for desert or wilderness, is ‘midbar,’ and our guide pointed out that it’s based on the word ‘dbar,’ which is the Hebrew word for, well, word. It was in the midbar of Beersheva that Father Abraham most fully heard the word of the Lord. Most of the country we passed through from the north down along the western coastal plain and even into the Beersheva area itself was lush and green–absolutely gorgeous–but it became barren and forbidding further east of Beersheva, from Arad to the Dead Sea and Fortress Masada. The Word of the Lord sometimes comes to us in its most striking clarity in the most desolate places….
It appears that all of the most holy sites are under lock-down by deepest darkest religion — primarily Roman and Islamic. Why is that? Because they can. This present world is, apparently, given to the powers of darkness. Yet there is abundant, vibrant LIFE everywhere! Several of us in the group noticed that some of our chronic bodily ailments were put on hold the whole time we were there. Not a coincidence, methinks. It is written in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, “Old men and old women will once again sit in the open places of Yerushalayim, each one with his cane in his hand, because of their great age. The city’s open places will also be full of boys and girls playing there” — and we were favored to see that with our own eyes, and it was marvelous!
Hopefully I’ll find time to post some more later, but I’ll admit my posting as been less than frequent these days.