Holy Land Diaries: Day 3

Let me tell you, having a “hangry” (hungry + angry) wife, in the middle of an uncomfortably hot city, after a long walk in the wilderness, is NOT the dream any husband had when he said, “yes dear; I Do, dear”.

Today was a lot of fun, but also bleakly challenging- mentally and physically. I know I’m making this as cheesy as the TV program, “Boer Soek n Vrou”. But when you have to live and move in close proximity with 50 other people, for almost two weeks, a great deal of your mental processing will be devoted to a mantra along the lines of “mind over matter”, or something cheesy like, “Mind The Difference”.

We drove up to the Judean Wilderness this morning. It’s where Jesus spent 40 days wandering like a mad man, with the devil on his heels, asking him to turn stones to bread. Forty days in hills and valleys of nothingness could only have been conquered understanding the WHY, the purpose, behind what you do.

Our walk was only around 8km through the wilderness, with water and snacks, and conversations, but I felt like I could relate to Jesus (and perhaps that I needed some cement to toughen up).

The Bible truly comes alive with each activity, and this one was as real and relevant as ever.We visited a baptismal site at the Jordan River- the river in which John baptized Jesus. I saw a few white doves roaming around the area too.

We visited a baptismal site at the Jordan River- it’s where Jesus got baptized by John, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a white dove. There was a few white doves flying around- whether they were planted there for added emphasis, I don’t know.

Baptism can be a sensitive subject, depending on which denomination (if any) you are in. I myself grapple with the notion that we have to get baptized as “a sign of obedience”. Let it be known that I was baptized- twice!! First as a boy in th United Reformd Church, when I got confirmed- only because my best friend got confirmed and baptized. And then again, as an adult when I accepted Christ in my heart. It literally was one of those moments where I said, “here’s water, what prevents me from being baptized?”

No classes.

No certificate.

But I still grapple with it on a personal level.

A few of our team got baptized, and it was incredible to be a witness to that though. To see people declaring that Jesus IS their Lord and Saviour. There’s something in that confession that moves you from mere knowing and talking about Jesus, to having your life transformed by Him, His words and His works.

Our final stop for the day was at the Dead Sea, with the most perfect weather conditions for floating on a sea that’s wayyyyyyy saltier than the oceans we know. One of our team said the Dead Sea, in so many ways, reminds him of some communities- beautiful from afar, but Dead and salty from up close!

I enjoyed myself SO MUCH.

The Lumineers have a song called “Dead Sea”, in which they sing, “…like the Dead Sea; you told me I was like the Dead Sea; you’ll never sink when you are with me, oh no, like the Dead Sea…”

I played the song as I looked out on the sea, remembering the first time I heard it; how it grew on me, and how I thought about what it would feel like to actually BE in the Dead Sea.

And there I was, with my most favorite person on earth!

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