Jordan RiverNovember 15, 2017 in Palestine
I’m typing in the morning after a full day’s journey up the Jordan river valley along the west shoreline of the Dead Sea and along the west bank of the Jordan River. Of course, that name might ring familiar because it’s in the news quite a bit. The West Bank is an area of Israel that is under Palestinian authority for “civil affairs, internal security and public order,” but is, according to Israel, part of the state of Israel. The Palestinians would argue that wording of course, but that is the way it stands. Much of the unrest in the area in years past is experiencing a lull right now, but one gets the feeling that everyone is simply regaining energy to take up the fight again. Lord, may it not be so. Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”
We should take that seriously.
The Israeli/Arab divide was made clear as we made our way down to a famous site on the Jordan River. This site is at least close to the place where Jesus was baptized, where Joshua crossed the Jordan as they entered the promised land and where Elijah passed the mantle to Elisha. On one side of this site is where Israeli tourists come to be baptized in the Jordan and on the other side is where Jordanian tourists come to be baptized.
Even with all the hustle and bustle and chaos of the moment (think hundreds of tourists off dozens of tour busses coming down to the river for baptisms), there was something tremendously powerful about it. The power came from seeing Israelis, blacks, Asians, Russians, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, denominational and non-denominational followers of Jesus Christ submerging themselves in water as hundreds of thousands of Christians before them have done.
We are part of something so much bigger than ourselves and our church. We are part of a worldwide movement to see the power of the gospel transform lives.Read more