Living the Spirit Led Life - Testimonies from Missouri

This post continues the series of testimonies by a group of guests to the Holy Land from Brookdale Presbyterian Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Belinda H. shares her thoughts on how traveling to the Holy Land remind her "to be more loving, serving, forgiving, and merciful, by the Holy Spirit."

The serene morning sky lights the smooth waters of the Sea of Galilee. Tiberias is behind us, the Valley of the Doves on the left, and ahead are the hillsides of the area around Capernaum. Crowning those hills rests snow-capped Mount Hermon, whose image depicts brothers and sisters, men and women, living as neighbors in unity and peace. (Psalm 133) This is my primary “heart photo” of Israel.

The sense of walking where Jesus walked, and seeing what He and His disciples saw, affected me most strongly in the countryside. The cliffs and trail climb with John in the Valley of the Doves exhilarated me. We were literally in Jesus’ footsteps! (Matthew 4:12, 13) In Capernaum we were where Jesus healed and taught! (Mark 2) And it was in the countryside that other Bible stories became forever more vivid and tactile: Jesus’ condemnation (Matthew 11) in the black basalt walls and arches and olive press at Korazin overlooking the Galilee; young David along the battle lines near the streambed in the Valley of Elah (I Samuel 17); Paul’s brave defense before Felix and Agrippa in Caesarea Maritima (Acts 23-26).

God abundantly granted my desires to catch up and laugh with my “old” mentors and friends. Special memories include “selfies” with Linda (especially our hairstyles along the Jericho wilderness!), [. . .] and TONS of fun at the Dead Sea. New friends figured prominently, too, from North Carolina and the K.C. area. Liz, thanks for being my archaeology buddy!

The history and sense of place we absorbed is incalculable. I want to pass on in my Bible teaching the faith and deeds of Hezekiah (I Kings 18-20:20) and the lay-out of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. More than that, though, I want the perpetual view of the Dome of the Rock over the former Temple to remind me to be more loving, serving, forgiving, and merciful, by the Holy Spirit. I want to engage as Jesus did with people in a world filled with threats from abroad and conflict within. I want to counter the impulse to dominate or control, and represent a God of love and shalom, where I am now and wherever God leads me, and so truly pass along the lessons of the Holy Land.

I do want to thank Terri and John for sharing their clear and strong passion for the Holy Land with us!! They are right that there is no substitute for seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and breathing the air where Jesus lived.
— Belinda H.