Making Sacred Places Sacred - Israel and Jordan

Several years back on our first trip to Israel, we were taking a taxi to the West Bank to study events on sites. Our wonderful driver was very accommodating. We mentioned several times throughout the day that we wanted to go to Shechem (modern Nablus). The day was winding down and he told us that we would not have the time to make that stop. He turned and asked us where we would like to go instead of Shechem. There was a look of disappointment on our faces, and the driver perceived that no other place would do.

He said, "So, you want to go to Nablus, then we will go."

We arrived in the middle of town and the Greek Orthodox church right after closing time. The door was locked, but our driver would not take "No" for an answer. He was persistent in knocking when finally, an old priest came to the door. The Old priest started shaking his head while our driver was explaining or desire to see Jacob's well. Once the old priest looked our way and saw the deep desire on our faces, he motioned to us to come in.

The place was quiet and serene. The priest was sporting a long white beard and dressed in a flowing robe. We followed our priestly guide through the sanctuary down to the well and at first glance we were expecting something we had seen in our the Gospel library. What we found was a well that was dug almost two millennia ago and looked about that old.

There was something deeply profound happening when the priest motioned to us to come closer to watch him drop a rock down it (135ft.) so we could get a feel for the depth of the well. He then drew some water from that well and gave it to us to drink. It was in that moment we could envision what it must have like that hallowed moment when the woman of Samaria drew water from that very spot for the Savior, even The Living Water.

It is moments like this and scores of others that keep us coming back to Israel year after year. We take ourselves back to a place where we see, feel and comprehend the event in greater detail and with greater power. These places once hallowed and made sacred, are now once again my sacred in our lives.

As we travel together from site to site and take time to drink in the sacred nature of the events that all of us have studied and taught for many years. To quote Emily Utt : "It changes you when you visit historic sites. I can read, I can sit at my desk and read the stories and scriptural accounts. but until you get in the countryside and walk the streets and hill sides they walked and stand in the places that they preached, you don't really understand what these people's lives were about."

Hope to see you with us in April!

Del and Cherrie Clark

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