Israel Study Tour - Troy Thomas & Marshall Holtvluwer

Mar 18-28, 2019

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What only He can do

Day 07!! Ugh, today was tough. It was full of deliciousness, beauty, history, challenging truth, and heart wrenching pain. Where to begin…

Okay, so lets begin with deliciousness. I discovered an amazing food at breakfast at the Dan Jerusalem Hotel, where we are staying. So I found the gnocchi, an Italian dumpling, today covered in a type of mushroom alfredo sauce and it was amazing. Sorry, I'm just a little excited about this.

Anyway, we began the day by going to David's City and then walking down to Hezekiahs tunnel. Let me say that David's City is absolutely beautiful and the view we had from on high was stunning.

As we approached the tunnel with a sense of adventure that began to build because you feel like you are in the middle of an Indiana Jones movie. We walk down a wrought iron staircase to a basement like location and then walk through a steel door and further down into a rock walled tunnel. And this leads to the Jebusite well inside the cave that is thousands of years old.
King Hezekiah and the Jewish people were threatened by the Assyrian King Sennacherib (2 Kings 19, 2 Chron. 32). And Hezekiah realized that Jerusalem needed to protect it's water source from Sennacherib and his army and thus deprive him of any water source. Remember, in a desert water is life. Our guide, Ronen said that the "effort to get the water matters most." And the effort that Hezekiah and the people of Israel went through to secure this water source was tremendous. You cannot imagine this tunnel, it took 23.5 minutes to walk through it.

It was an amazing achievement of hard work and faith in God. And this is a great picture of the tension between man's limited sovereignty and God's sovereignty. They are not mutually exclusive, meaning that they do not cancel each other out. Because God steps in and deals with Sennacherib. I would encourage you to read these passages and see what Hezekiah and the people of Israel accomplished all the while having faith that Yahweh would preserve them with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (Deut. 4:34). God is faithful to His people.

"We have the water we have life. We don't have the water we don't have life."

What are we willing to do to ensure we have the water we need to survive? Especially in the face of insurmountable odds.

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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Do we have the faith in God that allows us to do what we can do, exerting great effort, all the while believing that God will do what only He can do on His end?

So we are walking out to get on the bus and travel to another location and a man is on the side of the road selling "coins" that are from "ancient" Israel. I begin to head toward him to look and my friend Sarah noticed and grabs me and pulls me away and says don't do that. She said, "I felt the spirit of Trish come upon me." Trish is my wife. LoL! I have an Insula (community) looking out for me, even thousands of miles from home.

We went Yad Vashem (enduring memorial) today as well, this is the heart wrenching part of the day. It is the national memorial for the Shoah (calamity) or Holocaust of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis and Germany. This Holocaust is a stain on the history of humanity. A great evil. I took a class on the Holocaust at Moody and it was difficult to look this evil full in the face for an entire semester.

Yad Vashem is set up with great asthetic beauty but the content is very dark. You walk through a building set up in a zig zag format full of content from the beginning to the end of the war and it covers the initial laws that were created to steal away the rights of Jews throughout Europe, the war itself, what was done to the Jews at the different camps, the aftermath, and all of this is done while including very personal tales from survivors and their families. You cannot imagine the destruction done to the Jewish people because of this uglyness in history. I had tears rolling down my cheeks and bands tightening around my heart the time I was there. And to know that the world, initially, stood by and allowed this evil movement to gain a significant head of steam is just... infuriating. Many times I had anger rolling through my chest. Especially when it came to the stories about the children. Do some reading or research on this topic. It will be challenging, it will stretch your heart to breaking, it will fill you with disbelief that something like this can even happen, and it will challenge you to think about what the Jewish people have been through.

But let justice flow like water, and righteousness like an unfailing stream.
Amos 5:24

He has told you men what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: Only to act justly, to love fathfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

I will leave you with this quote from Yad Vashem...
Remember only that I was innocent and, just like you, mortal on that day, I, too, had had a face marked by rage, joy, and pity, quite simply, a human face.
Benjamin Fondane, Exodus

May you experience the peace and justice that only comes from our Jewish Messiah, Yeshua Ben Yoseph.


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