Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
Greetings, my brothers and sisters in the precious body of The Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua h’meshiach. May HE, our Head, be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed and encouraged.
…In every place where I record My Name I will come to you and bless you.” Exodus 20:24
Over the years I’ve come to understand that we often use different words to describe much the same experience. A Word can be quickened to us, jump out at us, be a rhema word to our heart, be made alive to us, but in any framework, the written Word becomes living Word and our faith is encouraged. So it was for me one day last week when the above Word put my heart to rest, yoked me to Him and encouraged me to no end. He is just so good!
Somewhere He has recorded His Name and that will be our next home. Period. End of the matter. Have we found it yet? No, but HE has and He will lead us to it at just the right moment. Thank you for your prayers.
As I listen to the planes overhead marking the arrival of the President of France, I’m tempted to write about ‘the situation’ in Israel; things surrounding us from our perspective concerning Persia (Biblical Iran), the ‘peace’ negotiations, and other BIG issues calling us continually to our knees.
I will resist. You can ask questions and I can do my best to answer or to point you to those who are called to write about these things with greater authority and clarity. I DEFINITELY have my opinions and views. He has made it clear to me that is not what HE wants me to write about today. Today I will be sharing, again, about our beggars.
Beggars in the Middle East are a unique group of people and I have come to understand them with far more depth then I did 19 years ago, when I deposited my money in every cup and listened to every story, praying with some. Oh, I still deposit my money (excuse me, HIS money) in cups and still pray with some, but this is a colorful group of professional people and I thought that you might like a peek inside.
Begging is considered a profession here. Perhaps not the most noble of professions, but a profession nonetheless. I have heard it excused as a very important and necessary profession, since it makes righteous people. “What?” you might ask. “Exactly how does that work?”
Well, the word for righteous in Hebrew is tsadik. When you give charity (which is one of the commands or mitzvot, in Scripture and very foundational in Judaism) this is called giving tsadakka (or the work or fruit of the righteous). So? When a beggar nudges you and reminds you that you need to give to him, he is indirectly making you righteous. Isn’t logic a wonderful thing? I wonder how often each of us rationalize some act in a similar way that would make The Lord sort of shake His Head (figuratively) with wonder.
AT ANY RATE, I have come to know some of the local beggars quite well. The first one that contributed to my education I met a full 19 years ago. He (an Israeli Arab) was sitting near the Old City with a pathetically grotesque looking leg, full of infection, swollen, filthy and covered with bandages. When I asked him if I could help, he told me that tomorrow he was going to have this gangrenous leg amputated in Bet Lechem (Bethlehem). He still needed so much money to pay for his operation. At that time, Beit Lechem was still part of Israel (before our last set of peace agreements). I said, “But aren’t you an Israeli Arab? Doesn’t the kupot holim (national health insurance) cover it?” I don’t remember his answer, but it DID fluster him for a moment.
His leg smelled so bad. I gave him 100 shekels and prayed for him in the street, laying hands on him and praying for his healing. What a QUICK answer to prayer! It was just a couple of days later that I saw him walking into a store. The plastic leg slung over his shoulder. It was a costume! Surely he could have been a good actor or artist or perhaps this is street art. In case you are wondering, he is in very good health, I see him almost daily, no longer near the old city but on King George Street. He’s given up the rotten leg game, but he is still begging. He’s younger then I am and quite able bodied.
There was a Bedouin lady with crutches sitting on the street as well back when we came and I often gave her money. She now sits there dressed as a religious Jewish lady instead as she begs. There are the really pathetic looking young Moslem mothers (deserted and unwed) who have been sitting outside of the Old City gates also for years. They hold equally pathetic looking babies. Over the years I have noticed that once a baby reaches a certain age they just get a different one. Very effective.
There are plenty of Jewish beggars too. Many old ladies wait at the Western Wall for money. That way, right before or after a person prays there, they can demonstrate their righteousness by giving. There is a fair line up at the entrances to the shuk, each with their own story. Some are legitimate, some are not.
One morning I watched a little old lady go up to a very fancy limousine and dump out her money into a bag extended by an arm, sort of the opposite of drive in banking. But as I said, they are doing society a service by teaching us to give.
I do have my regular beggar. He has become expensive, but has been a subject of much prayer for me as well. He comes to my work every Friday and his name is Mohammed. He’s my age and he is sort of simple. We verified this when we tried to find him a job and no one would hire him for ANYTHING! “Not Mohammed! He can’t do a THING right!” they would say)
Whatever I gave him was never enough. “What? Just this? We have no bread!!” he would say indignantly.
I tested him one day and brought sacks full of food, with plenty of bread making ingredients included. He was thrilled! He rifled through them and again there was that indignant voice: “What? No MEAT? We need MEAT!”
I sighed. “Mohammed! MY family doesn’t eat meat! We can’t afford it!”
Once again his defeated look appeared as if to say: “You don’t understand! You are starving me!”
He brought me his children. “Now you give Mahmud some money.” He was teaching his son the family trade!
I turned to Mahmud. “Why aren’t you in school?” I asked.
“I will mop your floor,” he answered.
“No, no! You are Israeli, right? What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor? President?”
He looked puzzled. “I will mop your floor,” he repeated.
I took on Mahmud as a project. I slipped Bibles and Bible story books in Arabic into sacks of food. Every time I saw him I encouraged him that he could be whatever he wanted to be and guess what? He is in university in Jordan! Of course, that is a BIG burden on Mohammed, who needs more money!
Over the years we have agreed on 20 shekels a week with no complaining. I taught him to say “thank you” and we shake hands. He has begun bringing vegetables and gives me a few as I hand him the money. It has brought some pride to him. I am also glad for that. It is funny how we have grown close over the years. I pray for them and am concerned for them and I see that he is also honestly concerned for me, and not just the money. We have an interesting relationship.
Yeshua told me in Luke 6:30 “Give to every man that asks of you; and of him that takes away your goods ask them not again.”
It was Mohammed who brought me to my knees concerning this verse. “Lord! If I obey this verse, I will be giving to the countless that line the street – some for drugs, some for alcohol… or I will be giving everyone 10 agarot (about 2.5 pennies) to soothe my conscience or I will be avoiding them all together! How do I obey this verse?’
He brought to my attention where the verse tells me to give to everyone who ASKS of me, not everyone who is lining the street begging. I began to notice that some people do come up and ASK of me and I prayed that The Lord would send me those He wanted to and keep away those who would use HIS money for other devices. He has been faithful. Isn’t The Holy Spirit wonderful?
So, there you have “Beggars of Jerusalem 101,” the introductory course. God is so creative. He is only Good.
Thank you for praying for our family over the years. Some of you may remember that beginning with the American holiday of Thanksgiving, my husband usually has a hard time. Well…this year appears no different – perhaps a bit early. The reality of all of our children and Grandchildren being gone becomes too heavy for him at times and he despairs. If he comes to mind, please keep him in prayer? Also our younger daughter’s due date for first Baby is 8 Jan. She still does not have health insurance. She is very dyslexic and is having a hard time filling out the paperwork for Medical. She and her husband live very near to our older daughter and family and our older daughter is a doula (birth assistant) and does plan to help with the birth, but younger daughter is far from a picture of health. I have found myself praying specifically that she would have an easy, blessed birth with no complications. She has asked for prayer that Baby will not be dyslexic or prone to depression (as she has been). That is a request from her and you may remember that they are NOT walking with The Lord. Her husband has not yet ever known Him.
And THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR THIS NATION AND PEOPLE; FOR HIS PERFECT PLAN…FOR HIM TO BE SEEN AND GLORIFIED…FOR THE FULLFILLMENT OF HIS WORD AND PURPOSE THAT THE WORLD MIGHT KNOW SALVATION, LORD! POUR OUT YOUR SPIRIT!
your sis J