Alas, we were coming close to the end of our pilgrimage in Israel. Our luggage was all packed and on the bus, and when we left Mount Carmel we headed for Tel Aviv to spend our final night there at the Grand Beach Hotel.
We arrived at the Grand Beach Hotel as the sun was going down and did not see much of Tel Aviv but I saw enough of that city to like it. Tel Aviv is beautiful and is sometimes described as the White City or the Shining City. The buildings are all white and they glistened in the late afternoon sun. Its shimmering whiteness was attractive to me, and for this reason the next time I visit Israel (which I hope will be soon), I want to see more of Tel Aviv.
There is something peculiar about the last few hours we spend in a strange place. As much as we like being in the place, when those last few hours arrive our minds begin to make a right about turn. We begin to think about home-sweet-home.
Next morning, we were up early for breakfast and anticipation of the flight home and saw a little more of Tel Aviv as we drove through the city to the Ben Gurion Airport. I left Israel with one major complaint, though. I did not see enough of Tel Aviv.
It was somewwhat sad saying “goodbye” to our bus driver, Obadiah (Ovad) and tour guide, Doron. They were great companions of ours for the past 10 days and they had helped make our pilgrimage to the Holy Land a pleasant and fulfilling one.
At last we boarded the plane for the long flight home, and in my heart I said “Goodbye Israel, I will be back again some day…I hope soon.”
What did my trip to Israel accomplish for me? What impact did that trip make on my Christian roots? Firstly, it satisfied a longing in me to visit the Holy Land. Seeing the place where Jesus was born, where He walked, died and resurrected have given me a sense of achievement and spiritual fulfillment. It was a longstanding dream come true. And now I can attach some images to both Old and New Covenant stories.
Would I recommend the trip to anyone else? Yes, I surely would. Israel is an interesting place to visit. Seeing the place where the three major world religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) and the Druzes, march through time together, side by side…
There is a lot to see and do in Israel and I hope you will make the trip soon.
I guess I have caught the Jerusalem syndrome, in a peculiar way. Since I have come back, my head is full of Israel: its multiculturalism, its variety of languages, food, and last but not least its bartering of prices for merchandise. That place is so much in my mind that I have started my studies in the Hebrew language again, and Israelology in general, even Aramaic (the language that Jesus spoke).
We made friends with a couple from Toronto: George and Faye Springle. And it is nice to touch base with them now and then to reminisce about our trip.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6) “…but peace shall be upon Israel (Psalm 125:5) “Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel” (Psalm 128:6).
The peace of Israel is on its way. Though it may tarry, it will surely come. Despite all that is going on, let us remember that "God’s thoughts and His ways are not our thoughts and ways" and His timing is not our timing either. A wise man once said: “God’s mill grinds slow but sure...” And oh, don’t bother to look for that saying in the Bible for it is not there!
God bless you, Israel, till we meet again...