The Holy Land

Jim Israel trip.jpg

BY Jim Wolfe

   What a trip!  Momma and I had the joy of joining the SBTC trip to the Holy Land, May 9 through 18.  Although this was my fifth trip to Israel, it was still exciting and overwhelming.  If you take the trip simply for its archeological historical knowledge, you have missed the whole value of your visit.

  Every time I have made the trek to Israel, I learn something new and experience deeper joys.  We are to learn from the past, but what adds to the Christian’s trip is looking at the history which stir the emotions looking excitedly to the promises.  We examine the past, live in the present, looking forward to the future!

  Two things happened on this trip that made it especially exciting and richly blessed.  One was the opportunity to preach at two sights: Dan and The Garden Tomb.  The second was that Momma and I joined my son and daughter-in-law, Tony and Vanessa.  Tony headed up this trip for the SBTC (Southern Baptists of Texas Convention) and took a group of 19 pastors, SS teachers, etc.  By allowing us to preach and teach at various locations gave us all a special blessing.  Thank you, Tony!

  Our Israeli tour guide and bus driver were outstanding!  It is interesting to note the peace and sense of safety that you feel.  Knowing all the turmoil surrounding Israel, we found that the people themselves, although from various backgrounds, get along.  I think they all work to protect the tourist industry!

  Sharing just one aspect of this trip that set it apart from all the others I have taken, I would have to say our visit to the “hole” where Jesus was held during the trials before Pilate was extra special.  The last time I was there I read Psalm 88 that moved me to tears.  This time Tony read the Psalm!

“The Hole” Image captured by Kathy Wolfe.

“The Hole” Image captured by Kathy Wolfe.

  The “HOLE” as I called it was a holding cell in the governor’s house – a pit where a prisonor was lowered and raised through a hole.  Jesus faced three trials and in between trials was placed in this hole.  Standing at the bottom of this pit and looking up through that hole, Psalm 88 is read.  This Psalm speaks of the anguish of loneliness and despair in being deserted during times of great distress.  I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ sweating drops of blood as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His cry from the Cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  Listen to just a few verses from this Psalm: “Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deep … Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them” (verse 6 … 8); “Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?  I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted” (verses 14-16).  Experiencing this sight, it is almost impossible to climb out of this pit with a dry eye!

  This was an awesome trip!  Thanks to all the Texas folks who joined us on this tour of Israel.  We had such a great time of friendship, fellowship, fun, and emotional experiences!  If you have never been to Israel and get an opportunity to go, do not pass up this journey!  The long flight is well worth it!