“What would you and I expect to see and experience if we went to Jerusalem?” Christian Tours
take us to the famous sites of the Gospels from Jerusalem to the area around the Sea of Galilee. The Scriptures come alive for many of us as we hear the recorded words of Jesus from the bible in those historical settings.
Seeing the places and walking on the same paths of Jesus and the Apostles was an amazing experience for me. Walking from place to place, in and out of the Catholic Churches, seeing the “traditional” sites as the Holy Sepulcher. Walking on David’s Rampart, and looking down to the ground below, I could imagine the Babylonians, or the Romans, seeking to breach the gates and walls of Jerusalem.
I was filled with mixed emotions as I was interrupted by merchants and the throngs of visitors and inhabitants of the city. I was trying not to be lured into the merchant shops. My feet were always moving with people ahead of me. I paused long enough to take a quick snapshot of a site and then follow the crowd ahead of me. There was no time for silent meditation, or at least I didn’t take it! It was a pattern of getting up and going to the next site.
Did I have to fly across the Atlantic to Israel, into the Ben Gurion Airport, to affirm my faith? Was I there in Jerusalem to see and then believe? No, I already believe and seeing gave me a deeper appreciation of the settings of Scripture.
Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen (me or Jerusalem) and yet have believed.” Don’t travel to Israel in hopes of finding “faith”. Don’t forget that the Jerusalem we see now will be replaced with a new Heavenly Jerusalem in the future. The new Jerusalem of tomorrow will be unlike the earthly Jerusalem of today.
It’s worthwhile to see the land of Israel and Egypt. It’s definitely enriching to one’s faith and gives one a greater understanding of what one reads in the Bible. But remember, we’re called to believe first, not “see” first and then believe. You won’t find Jesus in Jerusalem!