The flight was long and tiring but praise be to God I am finally here! Stepping off the bus and entering my hotel room I’m so exhausted that all I want to do is hit the bed. Struggling to lift my heavy suitcase I place it on the bed and walk to the small balcony. Oh my gosh! I’m staring out over the Sea of Galilee! Forget sleep! I rush to the door and hot foot it downstairs. The sun is just rising and thankfully my camera is loaded with film.
I take several pictures and rush back to my room. Grabbing my notebook my pen begins writing about this most awesome experience. My pen wrote while I was on the plane getting here and the bus ride from Jordon to here, but now it’s flying across the paper with sheer excitement. My ten day trip to the Holy Land has only just begun.
The bus isn’t completely full with our group so I have chosen two seats together next to the window so I have plenty of room and hopefully can spend the time between sites writing.
“Wear shoes if you’re going in the water” my pastor states, adding, “The rocks are very sharp.” Looking down at my feet I decide to ignore him because then I’ll walk around with wet squishy tennis shoes the rest of the day. “I can’t believe this” I yell. “I’m floating on the Dead Sea” Am I dreaming? Nope, some of the very high salt concentrated water splashes in my eye. No dream, it burns! I couldn’t drown in this if I tried! I can’t even sink! This is soooo cool!
Stepping onto the shore and very carefully stepping over the rocks, which turn out to be pure salt crystals, I rush back to the bus after taking a quick shower. Blood is oozing from the bottom of my foot. Should have worn the shoes, Sue. Bandages are offered and my pen is practically jumping off the table wanting to write.
Some of the group have started teasing me about dragging my notebook out as soon as I get settled in my seat. I don’t have to hang a “do not disturb” sign on my seat because they all can see my pen is flying across the paper. I do leave it on the bus while we’re at a site. Our tour guide is great and I write everything he’s telling us. At times I want to shake my pen and scream, “slow down!”
The bus pulls into a parking lot. We’re stopping for lunch. I almost faint with excitement. “I wanna ride a camel!” Almost a big mistake. You see I had just had major back surgery just a few months before this trip. Climbing onto one of these big suckers isn’t like putting your foot in a stirrup to board a horse. There is no stirrup!
There is one main reason I decided to be obedient when the Lord said He would like for me to visit His Holy Land – get baptized in the Jordan River where He was Baptized by John the Baptist. Now I’m not sure this is the exact spot where Jesus was Baptized but hey, I’m not complaining!
Baptism is a public profession of having given our life to Jesus Christ as well as a representation of being cleansed of our sins, dying with Christ and resurrection to life. Believe me I died under that water and when I was resurrected all I could do was bawl!
Praying with my forehead resting against the ancient stones of the Wailing Wall was yet another indescribable experience as were many others. The Lord said He would meet me in Israel and believe me I feel His presence in every step I’ve taken.
I spent my career as a flight attendant for a major airline and have walked the narrow aisle of an airplane more times than I can count. There is one walk that still brings tears to my eyes so please forgive me if I misspell a word for the tears are already beginning.
The tall walls along a part of the Via Dolorosa are made with shards of glass, rock, and other objects to prevent escape. Walking along my emotions are going wild. Clearing the walls and out into the open where the sun is shining brightly tears stream down my face. I can’t believe I am on the very path that my Lord and Savior walked in order that I can spend eternity with Him. Sitting down on the path I cannot control the sobs. Quick snippets of the abuse I suffered in childhood flash across my mind. Tears stream down my face. “Lord?” I cry. He answers in a very soft, gentle, and loving voice, “I walked your path of suffering with you and now you are walking Mine.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not sent His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
A more complete account of my time in Israel and more of my autobiographical adventures can be read in my book, “Laying Down my Net-A Walk of Faith.”
Author Sue Cass- “Dawn’s Light” – “Pursuit” – “Laying Down my Net-A Walk of Faith” – “Sacrifices of a Saint” – “Seek My Face.”
Blessings to you. 🙂