Israel Tour 2010: Experiencing God’s Presence

By Bill Mustard,
Director of Partner Relations for Jewish Voice

IsraelThe last time I was in the Holy Land was in 1974 right after the Yom Kippur War. I cannot believe how it has changed.

As we rode for hours on end, looking out the windows of the tour buses, we observed a Land that has turned into a fertile oasis in the desert—lush green fields that offer up every type of fruit, vegetable, and flower you can imagine. We saw date palms lined in a row next to a field of cucumbers, banana plantations, and even cotton growing in the fertile soil of the north. From the northern border with Lebanon and Syria all the way down past the Sea of Galilee, the desert was blossoming with life. Even as we came across the arid Jordan River region, there were greenhouses everywhere.

As we drove down the Jordan Valley, the contrast was stark. On one side of the road, we could see Israeli settlements and neat rows of greenhouses and other vegetation. On the other side of the road in the Arab West Bank, we saw unkempt fields and what we jokingly called “fields growing plastic”—discarded remnants of greenhouses and row irrigation. It is amazing to see all the Arab towns intermingled with the Jewish towns. I can see how vulnerable Israel really is to its hostile neighbors.

On Monday, we celebrated a Messianic Jewish wedding on the Sea of Galilee with two of our tour participants who were renewing their wedding vows. The boat company lashed both of our boats together and we had a joyous ceremony, capped off with singing and traditional Jewish dance. Both Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Bernis and Messianic Rabbi Jack Zimmerman officiated the ceremony.

On Wednesday morning, more than 50 brave souls were baptized in the frigid waters of the Jordan River near the place where John the Baptist baptized Yeshua. Jonathan and Jack prayed for each of our tour participants and asked whether it was a first time baptism (which it was for many) or a rededication. Those who didn’t participate stood by on the banks of the Jordan and prayed and sang. It was an awesome time.

Coming back from the desert into Jerusalem later on Wednesday, as we crested the hill and the old city of Jerusalem was in view, the sight of the sun disappearing behind the Temple Mount was beautiful.

Both Jonathan and Jack have shared keen insights from the Word at each one of our major tour sites. Today, at the Garden of Gethsemane, Jack had the entire group act out the scene in the Garden when Yeshua (Jesus) asked His disciples to pray and wait with Him. It was a great object lesson.

By the way, did you know that an olive tree rarely dies? New shoots are continually being grafted into the root of the tree. (Sound familiar?) Some of the trees in the Garden date back to Yeshua’s time.

This has been quite a trip so far. In a few hours we will be going to the Wailing Wall to pray. Jerusalem has so much to see.

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Want to go to the Holy Land with us?  Don’t worry if you missed our tour this year. You can always start planning for our 2012 Israel Tour (specific tour dates to be announced closer to the event). In this economy, it’s wise to start saving in advance. Even saving just $100 a month can add up fast. Consider planning your trip and then be watching for updates on our Israel Tour page.

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