A land fought over. A nation set apart. A people loved by God.
I always had a deep desire to see and experience Israel. I remember in school there was a map mural on the wall above our desks. My desk sat right in front of Israel. Every day I would see Tel-Aviv on the map and I would dream about being there one day.
I never thought it would actually be a reality.
I was sitting in church, minding my own business. I was literally starting to doodle my sermon notes when they announced that there was still room on the upcoming Israel trip.
My heart leaped.
I didn’t know why. I had constantly said over the years that I wouldn’t ever be able to go because I wouldn’t be able to fly for that long. Fear kind of dictated to me the places I would and wouldn’t go over the years.
I couldn’t get past this feeling, so I whispered to God that I would only go if my father in law approached me on it. I was not going to look into it on my own.
The next morning, I walk into my office, just start putting my things away and my father in law walked in. He said something along the lines of ‘wouldn’t you want to go?’
I was kind of stunned, but I said yes (blah, blah blah, flight too long, nervous, love Israel, blah, blah, blah).
Next thing I knew, Brian was arranging for time off and we were sending our application off to the travel agency.
I was going to ISRAEL!!!
I was so excited that I started packing right then and there – 2.5 months before our flight was scheduled to leave.
Seriously, this trip did not disappoint!
It’s taking me so long to write about it because there was so much to take in.
If I had to pick my top highlights, I would be here forever because I loved EVERY MINUTE. Nonetheless, here are a few highlights.
See of Galilee
Imagine being on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, worshipping to hymns with your favourite human on Valentine’s Day. The only thing that would’ve made it better is if my kids were with us. The atmosphere is so hard to describe, but the experience will last forever in my heart.
Caesarea blew my mind. All I ever knew about Herod the Great was that he was a brutal, ruthless leader. What I didn’t know was that he was a genius in architecture. Also, as I learned throughout our trip, despite the fact that Herod wanted to kill Jesus, his ingenuity in architecture paved the way for the Gospel of Christ to be spread. See what I mean about blowing my mind?!
Walking down the cardo (main street), seeing all the rich history of Bet She’an was breathtaking. The city was destroyed by an epic earthquake that devastated and leveled the place. You can literally see how the earth shook in how the ancient ruins are still laid out to this day.
Experiencing this phenomenal place was such a unique experience. I mean, floating in the water was incredible! There were sharp rocks periodically under the water and we were later told that they are salt deposits or pillars of salt. Sound familiar? Did I just visit Lot’s wife?
There is so much beauty in Jerusalem, and overall it was truly breathtaking. It’s busy, and seeing all the points in Old Jerusalem and everything in between is a lot to take in. It’s a place where I feel like I left a piece of me and definitely want to go back and explore longer. My most solemn moment was with my sister-in-law when we visited the Wailing Wall – truly a memory I will cherish forever.
Ok, I could seriously go on and on and on with this post.
But I won’t.
Visiting Israel really connected history, the Bible and modern-day life for me in a way that I can’t even explain. Leaving Israel I feel like I have caught a glimpse of how much God loves Israel.
I will be back…
Have you ever visited Israel? Let me know your favourite thing about Israel in the comments below.