[US to Israel and Palestinian Territories 2012] Eric Johnson on Faith in Israel
Our post today is from Eric Johnson, one of the delegates from the 2012 US to West Bank and Israel program. We didn’t plan on this one, but it was so powerful and spontaneous, we felt we had to share. Here’s Eric:
It’s 2 am here in Jerusalem. I was sitting alone in the Jerusalem Hotel bar alone drinking a Diet Sprite when the barkeeper struck up a convo with me. His name is Jacob and he is an Orthodox Christian Palestinian. I was asking him about some of the holy sites I will be visiting tomorrow and he shared with me what he knew about them from growing up in the area. For some reason, I decided to ask him where the town of Emmaus was (the little known town where Jesus appeared to 2 of his disciples after his resurrection). He hadn’t heard of it so we looked it up on Wikipedia. When he saw the Arabic (he speaks English, Arabic, and is learning Hebrew) name for the town, which is “Imwas”, he told me where it is, which is just a few miles from my hotel. At that point, tears started flowing from my eyes. Jacob was so moved by my spontaneous breakdown, he looked like he was about to start crying too. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me, basically, “I understand”. I cannot explain it, but this place is so special, so holy, so worth saving from the senseless hate, greed, violence, or WHATEVER that has been plaguing it for so long. We must preserve the Holy Land for all people to experience what I just did free from any and all judgment, persecution, or threat of harassment or violence. If you are a person of faith, you have to come here at some point if you can to see/feel what I’m talking about.