In the past forty-eight hours of being back in the US, I have had many people ask me about my time away. The past two weeks contained many, many experiences that I will likely never have words for. God speaks in the heart with His own language, affirming and confirming, loving and teaching, healing and strengthening in His own perfect way. I am so grateful for His goodness.
With that being said, there are many things that I CAN articulate about from the past two weeks, and geography is one of them! As much as I have spoken with children and adults about the land of Israel being a REAL place over the past twelve years, there is nothing like actually walking through the hills and valleys of the Holy Land to solidify the actual, physical reality of Jesus who was born, who preached and healed and loved, and who died and is risen.
I had no concept of the diversity of the Holy Land. Israel is fifty by one hundred fifty miles. This tiny area contains Mt. Hermon where you can find Israel’s prided ski resort and the Dead Sea which is earth’s lowest elevation on land. The “Sea” of Galilee is really a lake which you can see across when standing on one shore and the Jordan river is no more than 20-30 feet in width in many places. The green mountain ranges and valleys in the Galilee are often covered with huge boulders and rocks while the southern Judean countryside is filled with desert cliffs reminiscent of the Badlands. We spent a lot of time going up and down as there didn’t seem to be any of the land that was actually flat! Even the Sea of Galilee is described as a “bowl” with hills and cliffs surrounding much of it. When Jesus went up to Jerusalem or went up Mount Tabor for the Transfiguration it was not a leisurely stroll!