The Shuk in Jerusalem
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 …
Dear Sisters and Brothers, Shalom with blessing to you, with thanks to Him for the privilege of being made one with you by His Precious Blood. May Yeshua be glorified and blessed and may we be encouraged to hunger for Him more and more.
As loud music blares from huge loud speakers in front of my apartment I will try to share some of what is happening here for you who can’t be here to see for yourselves. Israel is family oriented and our many street parties are an extension of that: celebrate summer with loud sounds. Sigh.
Putting that aside for now…
As we do gather together, so do our enemies. There were sirens heard today on our northern border, the Golan Heights, where the Syrian war rages daily and is getting closer and closer. Although no rockets seem to have landed in our territory today, the war is now less then 4 kilometers from the border which is within easy eye view.
I have spoken to you before about our Druze communities, which are split, half here and half in Syria. Right now it is the Christian and Druze villages on the border that are under attack. Many gather on our side of the border to pray for them while watching the war, and our defense forces have been directed to care for the refugees that are crossing over. It is touchy and painful. It is also a dangerous situation for Israel, which has thus far been able to steer clear of being sucked into this particular war. (see attached news update below)
As this issue is fresh in our sights, the month long Moslem holiday of Ramadan begins tonight with feasting, prayer and studying of Koran, followed by daily fasting and evening feasts.
Refugees from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya − all countries ravaged by the so-called “Arab Spring” and its resulting jihad revolutions. These revolutions include ISIS and Hamas in Gaza.
I have received a number of emails predicting upcoming wars and turbulence. None of that surprises us here…it is a given.
IN THE MEANTIME, I continue to ride the bus, train and walk around the shuk after serving many people daily in the doctor’s office where I work. Last week, at the shuk, I made note to myself to share with you a story or two.
Big groups of what I call puppy soldiers (young new recruits who still jump around together like a litter of puppies) have been in the shuk. These new recruits take numerous trips, learning history, geography, and culture, while they learn to function as a unit. They are let loose in the shuk to organize various charity events, such as buying food for needy or handicapped groups of children perhaps or just to wander around.
As I’ve told you before, about half of the vendors at the shuk are Jewish and the other half Arab (as opposed to the Arab souk in the Old City, which is completely Arab owned). Even in the worst of times, the shuk has maintained a brotherly air about it, which makes it a unique place.
Being late spring, the bins are piled high with tempting summer fruits − peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and more, which replace the winter apples, oranges, pears and bananas. I gave in and bought a kilo of cherries to surprise my husband.
While I was making my purchase a loud group of puppy-soldiers were tumbling around enjoying the sights and smells (obviously not from Jerusalem) and one said “Oh, I would love to get some cherries.”
He came over to the Arab vendor from whom I was buying and asked for 5 shekels worth of cherries, not a lot. As his bag was being filled, the soldier said, “Less, less,” but the vendor added more. “How much?” he asked.
The vendor waved his hand and replied, “Nothing my brother.”
“No please, I insist.”
“No, please take it, a gift,” said the vendor.
I was deeply touched and I’m sure that the soldier was too because his face and attitude showed it. I’m sure that he will remember it when he is faced with stone throwing, brainwashed youngsters.
I think of the intimate dance that our two people have embraced through the ages, locked together in such a complicated relationship, one so complicated that it will take God Himself to resolve. I think of all of the failed marriages that I have seen Him miraculously work His love and healing into their midst and others that await His touch. It’s quite similar − the Arab and Jew locked in a destiny that does not appear to have a resolution and yet He is in it and so we must look forward to His resolution.
On the train again I witness a different but similar scene. As I sit down and adjust to my surroundings I notice that a number of young people on this train are blind and deformed in different ways. They also seem mentally different, a mixed group of Arab and Jewish. In front of me are three special police − kind of a compassion force that we have.
They came to our office recently when a mentally ill woman was in need of help and I watched them work with her, so kindly and patiently. They appeared to be guarding this group that I soon noticed also had a madrikeem or leader guides. These were young people, patient and gentle, perhaps 1 young leader for every 3 kids. It seemed that the group was making its way to the blind school for some outing, but the train (as usual) had been held up by a hefetz ha’shood (unidentified package – this requires the bomb squad and results in delays and overcrowding).
The young charges (perhaps 12-15 years old) were NOT happy about the delay and were making their discontent known as they became more and more agitated. “When will we get there? I don’t like this!” they proclaimed in loud shrieks.
Passengers joined in with their leaders to try to comfort them. “We will be there soon…just one more stop, over the bridge now.”
I thought about how lovely it is that NO one is embarrassed by them or made uncomfortable by their different and demanding behavior. I like that about Israel. Israelis are not politically correct or neat or even presentable sometimes, but we take responsibility for one another in a way that family members do or should do.
I even like the fact that the awful noise outside of my apartment this evening is for a reason. The neighborhood assembled together to present all of the summer activities available for all ages of young people this year − a place to register, to come together, to encourage one another, exchange ideas and even entertain. These are not hired professionals but kids themselves performing. Some are performing children’s songs, engaging the children in Israeli folk songs and dancing.
I’m closing with an update on the Druze villages just to the north of us that just popped up on the news:
I have not been well and have needed to rest more; some yet not pinpointed heart changes, likely due to stress according to the doctor. Period. I’m encouraging myself by re-reading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. What a challenge to deeper faith!
As usual, I hesitate to close…it has been good visiting with you, even one-sided-virtually; you seem near. I send you much love and thank you for your prayers for the people of Israel and for our family.
your sister J