From a journal dated August 7, 1996
A girl asked me if being in Israel was the best thing that has ever happened to me. While high on my list, I can’t say it was the best. Even relating it to other trips abroad makes it more of a contrast than a rating scale. The emphasis of a trip to Israel means relating it to The Land, not the people; whereas in India we associated with people of the land. In Israel we studied more history than current affairs. I did not relate or get to know any of the “natives” as I’ve done in other countries. I got to know The Land, its biblical, historical, and geographical significance. I saw how The Land affects the people – of Bible times and presently. I saw plenty of people but I did not relate to them.
I believe the most important aspect of the trip happens as I study my Bible, then relate and associate what I learned and saw. Note these examples:
“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). The pita bread we had for our lunches tasted so much better there than in the States. I asked why we can’t get it that good and the answer was because it is made and bought daily. It’s fresh. God gives us His grace and mercy daily; it’s fresh. “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). We ask for daily bread, for strength equal to each day’s need. Just as housewives go to market for fresh pita bread on a daily basis, so we go to God for a fresh supply of grace and mercy each day. And it’s available; His supply never runs out.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1). “Blessed are those who thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). “He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water” (Psalm 1:3). Water is essential for life. In the land of Israel so much emphasis is put on water, the wellspring of life. In a land where barren places abound, irrigation is essential. The rainy season and dry season (no rain between July and September) affect the times of harvest and even where people live. “The land of milk and honey” referred to green pastures for sheep and goats and bees, a fertile land, true only in some areas.
One more: “Come, buy, and eat” (Isaiah 55:1) reminds me of the shop venders calling out. But in Isaiah 55, God calls us to Himself.