Israel Study Tour with Grace Central Coast

Oct 28 - Nov 9, 2019

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Wholly lean on Jesus’ name

“From my favorite spot on the floor, I looked out at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree glistening in the dew...As long as this exists, I thought, the sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?” Anne Frank, February 23,1944

Vinnie’s and my day ended on a small quiet lawn in front of a little chestnut tree that had been planted from a cutting taken from Anne’s tree. As I read the inscription, one word came to mind: hope. Hope was the theme of the day.

We started the day with a somewhat growing sense of dread: We had decided before the trip started that we were going to go through the wet side of the tunnel, but the descriptions were starting to get in our heads.

Anticipation was the worst part for sure. In the end, traversing more than a quarter mile under the old city in shin deep water wasn’t so bad, at least not for someone short like me (Lisa). The walls were barely shoulder width, and the ceiling of the tunnel was barely 5 ft tall in some places. I know Vinnie scraped his head more than once.

My thought through the tunnel: hope. In this land, water means there is hope. Ken and Jeremy have said it many times, another way, “Where there is water, there is life.”

Hezekiah's Tunnel

A 1750-foot (530m) tunnel carved during the reign of Hezekiah to bring water from one side of the city to the other, Hezekiah’s Tunnel together with the 6th c. tunnel of Euphalios in Greece are considered the greatest works of water engineering technology in the pre-Classical period. Had it followed a straight line, the length would have been 1070 ft (335m) or 40% shorter.

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At the end of Hezekiah’s tunnel, we came out at the Pool of Siloam, and read John 9:1-41. Again, I am overwhelmed by this idea of hope. Jesus encountered a man who had been blind from birth. In that day, what could be more hopeless than to spend a lifetime begging blindly at the side of the road. But Jesus healed his blindness and more. “Lord, I believe.”

From there, we went directly to the Temple Mount, sat on the southern steps where Jesus would have entered as a 12 year old boy, and read Luke 2 and Acts 2. “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit.” vs 4. HOPE in all caps. Indwelling hope.

We were reminded to forget the crowds and pay attention to our own steps by something as simple as the irregular design of the steps leading up to the gate.

The Israeli museum and the Yad Vashem - the Holocaust Museum - rounded out our day and now the words to an old hymn come to mind. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand.; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Lisa and Vinnie Rodriguez

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