Israel—what an incredible place! You can read about it. You can listen to others' stories about it. You can see pictures of it. But you can't truly appreciate it until you've experienced it in person. My wife, Laura, and I had the distinct privilege of accompanying Chuck and Cynthia Swindoll—along with about 600 other travelers—on the Insight for Living Israel Tour. Following are just a few of the many highlights of our unforgettable journey.
The day we visited the stronghold of Masada, situated on a natural mesa near the Dead Sea, the scene was peaceful and quiet, belying its tumultuous history. In AD 73, Roman soldiers laid siege to it, and almost 1,000 Jews chose to take their own lives rather than become slaves to Rome. Standing in a private, little room among the ruins, I was reminded of the fortitude of those Jewish resisters. It was also here at Masada, the "Stronghold," that David found refuge from the murderous King Saul.
I was reminded of the "Holy, Holy, Holy" of Isaiah 6:3 when Chuck led us in singing a special hymn a cappella in St. Anne's Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. Surrounded by multiple voices singing praise to God, I thought, This must be something of what heaven sounds like!
But the greatest experience for me was my baptism in the Jordan River. Rededicating my life to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I meditated on God's grace and abundant love for me—so undeserved and yet so freely given.
Laura fondly recalls Chuck's message at the garden tomb in Jerusalem and the sharing of Communion in that quiet place. She also remembers when she and Cynthia, along with other women on the tour, stood with their heads bowed at the Western Wall and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. And neither Laura nor I will ever forget tossing our burdens overboard, in the form of small rocks, into the Sea of Galilee.
Thinking about our trip now, I'm reminded of how blessed we were to explore God's land of promise. Israel is truly an incredible place! I hope you will experience it with us on the next Insight for Living Israel Tour. You will be blessed.