If I don’t go away, the Advocate won’t come, so it is best for you that I go away. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL, February 20, 2020 — In the last five days, our touring team visited sixteen holy and/or historic sites in Israel. Eight were places we are certain Jesus walked or compelling evidence exists that He did. Two were the sites where the Ark of the Covenant resided among the Israelites in two different periods. The rest were places of great importance to the soul of the Jewish people.
All sixteen places have this in common: they’re pivotal settings, and characters in their own right, in the Divine Story that began in this land and marches toward a known ending with an unknowable timeline.
On the place now called the Mount of the Beatitudes, Jesus huddled His disciples close and taught them seven truths of His Kingdom. Taken together, they describe the kind of soul on whom the Father bestows His blessings. They‘re the fruit of a soul connected to Yeshua, the Source. A soul that is healthy, fruitful, and prosperous.
Today that setting produces fruit unusual to its semi-arid Mediterranean climate: bananas. As soon as I laid eyes on the thriving plantation the words “I will make you a great nation, and all the nations of the world will be blessed through you” came to mind. Innovation is a hallmark of Israeli agriculture and a contemporary manifestation of the Father’s ancient covenant with His people.
In Hebrew, magdala means “tower.” The ancient city, now housed within the modern city of Migdal, was the home of Mary Magdalene and most likely the place where Peter and Andrew brought their fishing hauls to be processed for market (there remains a tower on the shore of the Sea of Galilee that was used to process fish). As we toured the ruins of old city and its synagogue, we walked on the very ground Yeshua walked. We stood mere feet from the spot where He preached the Good News of the Kingdom.
Yeshua said his leaving and sending His Spirit was better for us. Holy Spirit chose to magnify His presence for me in the places He walked and spoke and preached and taught. Not visual or sensory, it was a yada moment…a deeper knowing of Yeshua’s love, friendship, and lordship. My King, my brother, my friend.
He knows me. He draws me. He gives me grace to work through my inner barriers to know Him more intimately, that I may work with Him to fulfill His calling on my life.
It’s the invitation to life as the Father always intended. For all of us.
When Joshua led the Israelites into the land God promised them, the mobile Tabernacle was permanently installed on Tel Shilo, where it remained for 369 years. In the mid 1970s, eight families came together with a common dream—to find the location of ancient Shilo. Forty years of archaeological work, directed by the biblical account of its location, has unearthed not only the ancient city but the exact location of the plot of land on which the Tabernacle rested.
I stood on the spot believed to be the location within the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant rested. I sensed Holy Spirit resting on me and saying, “Whether this is the exact spot the ark rested isn’t the point…what the Ark was for Me then, you are for Me now.”
Night settled quickly as our team gathered inside the perimeter of the plot. Spontaneous worship broke out, followed quickly by a clap of thunder reverberated from the valley below toward where we stood. A Mount Sinai moment! “You can’t make this up,” our team leader shouted.
It’s better that I go away…Yeshua limited himself to places and spaces when He walked the earth. If He hadn’t gone away, we wouldn’t get to experience Him and walk with Him like we did at Shilo, or like we can anywhere, in any place, at any time.
Two weeks before we came to Israel, the sciatic nerve in my left leg started acting up. Prayer, stretching, spinal decompression treatments, essential oils, and ointments kept the pain down in the 1-2 zone but it wouldn’t go completely. Seventeen hours of travel, even in business class, aggravated it to the point where I barely made it out of the airport.
Just to make things more interesting, I managed to pop my right knee out of alignment whilst hiking around Banias/Caesarea-Phillipi. Our tour stops gave me enough rest on the bus in between locations to keep going—until our day-long tour on foot to the Old City of Jerusalem.
We made a gradual descent from our hotel through the Muslim and Jewish Quarters of the Old City. By the time we arrived at the Western Wall, the pain in my left leg shot to level 10. I had to drag it to get to the wall. I’d written a prayer on a thin slip of paper for myself and for a friend and crammed it into a crevice, but my physical agony was the main subject of my pleas.
I experienced about a 50 percent improvement, for which I was grateful to the Lord. Believing the healing would continue, I forged on with the group to the southern wall of the Temple Mount and on to our last stop of the day, the Pool of Shiloah (Siloam). It wasn’t what Jill or I expected—stone bleachers facing a dry mud pit moistened by the day’s intermittent rain.
I hobbled down to the base of the seating area, and the pain shot back up to level 10. Despondent, I gritted my teeth and climbed up to the second row from the top, pretty much on all fours.
The pain intensified as I watched the rest of our group take in their experience of this historic place of healing. I shifted and twisted and stretched but could find no position that gave any relief.
Jill beckoned me to come down to the ground-level, but I waved her off. She climbed up to where I was sitting and prayed for me. A bit of relief. Another team member, Kara, came up to me a few minutes later and asked what was wrong. I described my torment, and she prayed for healing. More relief, enough to rise up and join the group as we exited the area to meet our shuttle bus. As we mustered, Jill, Kara, and other team members gathered around me and tore it up in prayer. Pain gone! Praise God!
It’s better that I go away…Yeshua commanded his direct disciples and all who would come after to do the works He did. If He hadn’t gone away, Jill, Kara, and the other team members would not have been empowered to heal my excruciating pain.
You received power when the Holy Spirit came upon you, and you are my witness in Conejo Valley, and in all of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and to the ends of the earth.
I have witnessed. I have experienced. I have freely received. I am empowered anew in the Holy Land to freely give through the expressions in which God calls me to function.
Before we journeyed to the Holy Land our Healing Rooms team prayed we would receive fresh vision and empowerment for the ministry we lead. That prayer is being answered daily.
We have four more days to explore more pivotal settings in the land God chose to unfold His Divine Story. Being an eyewitness to a few scenes has stirred my soul deeply. The story He has asked me to write about Yeshua is beginning to take form.
In my next installment, I’ll share about today’s visit to the place where the down payment on God’s covenant promise to His people took place.