Today is my last post from the Land of Israel for this trip. Yesterday we ventured to Bet Shean. Our itinerary called for us to be there for a few hours, but some of us wanted to get to Jerusalem early.
Bet Shean is like Masada, Caesarea, Tel Dan, and Banais Springs. There is so much to see and explore that you truly need a few hours to appreciate the history that is there. Some members of our group grew a little weary of all the ruins and rocks, and I can understand that. There are a LOT to be seen. And when you venture with a lover of history (that would be me), you are bound to see more than your fair share.
I love spending hours in the archeological finds, trying to imagine what life was like for the inhabitants. Even in Agrippa’s palace, I wandered the rooms thinking about not just the king, but his servants, people who were effected by him, those who saw the opulance and may not have had much in their own lives. In my own way, I am ‘remembering’ who they were, that they lived and died, and had an effect on the world, even if we don’t know what that was. By virtue of them living, they changed the course of the world. All lives matter to our Father, Creator of All Things and all people. Every life has a purpose, and wandering through ruins helps me remember that.
Sometimes people would rather not spend their time wandering through Roman ruins. Yet, I can’t help but think how many of the people who lived there, who moved through there, became believers. Learning what they were up against, with paganism at every corner, helps me learn not only about them, but how I can reach out to a lost world. By dismissing anything, we are dismissing something God allowed to exist – again, for a reason. As someone once said, ‘Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.’
We did arrive in Jerusalem by early afternoon. I abandoned my post (as leader) to get to a store before it closed for Shabbat. Had one more souvenir to buy and no one in our travels seemed to have one. I knew this store would, I parked the car and flew to the shop and was rewarded with exactly what I was looking for. Not only that, but I found the matches I wanted, in a decorative box with a background of purple. (Is there any other color?)
After returning to the hostel to check in and change for Shabbat, I walked to a restaurant that was still open for an early Shabbat meal. On the way there, I realized how much I love this city. So much so, that as I was in my favorite spot (Robinson’s Arch) my heart cried out to God, because I don’t want to leave. That’s so strange coming from me, because I miss my family and can’t wait to see them. But the longing to be here is overwheming.
What the future holds, only God knows. But in my heart, I don’t want to leave Jerusalem. It feels as though I am leaving home.