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 dear sisters and brothers, with thanksgiving and praise. May the Lord be glorified and blessed.
Thank you so very much for your prayers and encouragement concerning our trip to Eilat to celebrate my husband’s 70th birthday. Although it was for him, I did not realize how MUCH I needed a rest from the constant stress of both the pace of life in Jerusalem as well as the tension from the ongoing attacks.
I had never been further south then Mitzpe Ramon, so this trip literally opened a new world for me.
Living in Jerusalem, my world focus had been centered on the borders to the north and west and the countries that neighbor us, namely Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Jordan. The view from the south opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective and landscape. I’d like to share it with you while it is fresh in my mind.
We left Jerusalem on the 7 a.m. bus to Eilat. It wasn’t long before I could feel the tension leaving my body and I relaxed. The buses are so tall that they afford you a wonderful view. I am happy to report about my seeing a wild ostrich during the trip down south.
The flooding rains had enriched the colors of the central region. Vivid colors interplayed with bright greens in spite of the fact that we were traveling during another sand storm. But those colors gave way to the wilderness desert colors, equally spectacular in their understatement.
I expected the desert to be sandy, like the pictures I had seen of caravans of camels making their way over sand dunes. But the sand wasn’t sandy in texture. Instead, it was gravely and rocky. I mentioned that to Philippe and he explained that the English translation of Scripture says “desert” but the Hebrew word implies a “wilderness,” dry and barren. Hum! I had a wrong picture in my head.
We arrived in Eilat at around 1:00 in the afternoon, and just as I had suspected, it is indeed a “party town,” full of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. Although not my choice cup of tea, I was determined to find out what The Lord DID have for me there. The airport runway is situation RIGHT in the MIDDLE of town. After a good, long rest, I was able to begin the exploring.
Eilat is situated on the Red Sea, which in Hebrew is ים סוף (Y’m Soof) or The Sea of REEDS. Yes, this is THE Red Sea (or Reed Sea) that Moses brought the children of Israel through from Egypt. So, you wouldn’t think that I would be as surprised as I was when the local bus began announcing The Way to Egypt. It SHOULDN’T surprise me…I mean…I KNOW that we border Egypt to the south, but THERE IT WAS!
It DIDN’T surprise me as much when we passed the border crossings into Jordan near Jericho. I can easily see Jordan when I go to the Dead Sea (yam h’melach or Salt Sea). Until 1967 I could have been there by walking 2 blocks from where I live, but here was Egypt out my bus window.
And not just Egypt. Philippe pointed. “Just beyond there is Saudi Arabia,” he said, “and if we were to continue traveling south on this bus, we would arrive first at Sudan, then Eritrea (and Ethiopia) and then Somalia. All along the coast of this very same Sea of Reeds. Touching the opposite shore, just below Saudi Arabia, is Yemen. And THERE, at the mouth of the Red Sea or Sea of Reeds, is the GULF OF ADEN, flowing into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.”
No WONDER there is all of this fuss going on concerning this area.
ALSO I suddenly understood how all of the African refugees that we have were able to walk from Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia, right up the coast. Now this was all falling into place for me and now a whole prayer map formed in my mind that was much more real to me.
We have a southern border and it is TENSE, just like our Western border, and our Northern border.
But on that day, we were not going on to Egypt. We were going to swim with the extraordinary fish of the Red Sea.
And did we ever bask in the liquid creation of God’s imagination. Oh my, you can look at the photos online or in a library. Pictures of the exotic fish and coral found only in this sea, but to see it in person truly IS a thrill that can ONLY result in worship and humbling wonder at such a Loving Creator who delights in bringing forth such amazing creatures.
I was lovingly coaxed into snorkeling, which I eventually learned how to breathe properly. I swam among bright blue fish striped with florescent red – every bit as large as a basketball. They were not afraid of people in these shockingly blue, clear waters, but swam in schools along side of us and around us. Let me tell you, if you ever truly need to REST, swimming in an aquarium will do it. God is SOOO GOOD.
We visited a “sea world” sort of observatory and learned all about sharks, saw huge sea turtles, rays and mantas, eels and critters. All part of His silent world. His wonders. The works of His Hands that DO INDEED DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD as do the heavens. Really, all of creation bares His Fingerprints, His DNA, and sings of His great mysterious Love. How could we BUT love and forgive one other EVERYTHING when we are all part of this great plan? And why is it so easy to love what He has made, except for my brothers and sisters?
We snorkeled again with the exotic fish on our last day. And as we waited for the bus back to the hotel, the sky opened up and down poured a rare desert wilderness rain, flash floods and all. I have NEVER seen such HUGE RAIN DROPS. Each drop of rain was the size of the end of my thumb. Before the bus arrived the roads became a river. It was dramatic and beautiful. It cleared the sand from the air that had been there until that point. By evening we were able to clearly see the mountains of Eilat and Jordan. I feel it was a clear picture of what Moses looked at and what Mount Sinai is like.
Bare red and white and black mountains, standing in very gentle contrast looking every bit like the windblown forms of the desert which they are. Desert colors are so different than forest colors. They are both large and gentle, such a subtle, silent power.
By morning we finally saw the bright blue skies of Eilat, which meant heat, but we were leaving before the heat of the day.
I read in 1 John as we headed home:
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 2:7-10)
So WHY is it so hard to obey This Wonderful God Who has sent His Only Son to be my Savior and Messiah and has given me His Holy Spirit to enable me to do everything He asks of me? If I can love the fish, why can’t I so freely LOVE HIS KIDS?
About half way home I noticed the sky getting black. We saw signs along the way that it had rained here. We had been blessed to NOT be able to see or hear any news while we were gone so we didn’t know about the weather. We did know that everyone who asked us where we were from showed great sympathy when we said, Jerusalem.” They wished us deep rest.
But, indeed, vacations end and ours did abruptly.
As we got back to the city, we entered a tunnel. As we exited, it was as if we had entered another world: a flooded one where the sky had broken open. It was POURING down. When we neared the central bus station, they closed the gates in front of us (we never found out why) so we jumped out of the bus in the downpour and fished our suitcase out from under the bus, wading through the puddles to the train. Cold and soaked but laughing, we arrived home to happy-to-see-us animals and a shabat dinner prepared ahead of time.
Thank you for praying. Thank you for letting me share. Thank you for being the very HEART of His wondrous Creation.
May He be glorified in and through us.
your sis J