Waterfalls and Palm Leaves

Posted: 03/18/2008 in Semester in Israel
Tags: , , , , ,

As many of you probably know, this is somewhat of a Holy Week for the Christian community. It began with the commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entry and ends with the glorious holiday of Easter. So this is a very exciting time for a lot of us. This is our pinnacle celebration because it marks the culmination of what our faith is based on, namely the death and resurrection of the incarnate son of God. Also, this is exciting for some of you who may be celebrating Lent and that long time of fast is almost over. 

Well, on the note of fasting, I heard something really encouraging the other day from an Ethiopian Orthodox monk. He got really excited when the subject of fasting came up. He said, “It’s like when you fall in love with a girl. You are so in love and so infatuated that you don’t even think about eating. That’s how it is when fasting. You just spend your time falling in love with God, and you don’t even think about eating. It just becomes secondary.” I was really encouraged by that and definitely challenged, so I just thought I’d share that with you all. So all of you who are fasting right now, be encouraged and embrace this time!

This past Sunday I had a really exciting opportunity to partake in the celebrations of Holy Week. Every year on Palm Sunday literally thousands of people march to the top of the Mt. of Olives at a church commemorating the site where Christ mounted a donkey and they march down the mountain carrying palm leaves into the city gate. People brought guitars and drums and sang songs in many languages (but most of them were versions of repeating “Hosanna” over and over, so it was easy to follow along). So a bunch of us from my school went out to this and just clapped and danced all the way down the mountain. Here’s a couple things I learned from that experience:

1.) I don’t know what Jesus did without chapstick.
2.) I need to bring my ukulele everywhere.
3.) A palm leaf can cost anywhere from 1 shekel to several dollars
4.) I would much rather walk down a mountain than walk up one

I have a video of the experience if you are interested in watching it. I actually just uploaded several videos and now have an account on youtube if you want to check it out. Just go to youtube.com and search “WithUtmostDaring”, and my account should be the only one that shows up. I think I have 4 videos up, so check them out!

This isn’t just a holy week for Christians, however. This week is also the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday celebrating the book of Esther. To celebrate, my peers and I in my Jewish Thought and Practice class are going to a synagogue where there will be a lively reading of the book of Esther and everyone will be dressed up in costumes, somewhat like Halloween. It’s supposed to be a blast, so I’m looking forward to it.

Last week, I went on a 3 day field study all across southern Israel. It was an amazing and intense and long trip. I went to Beth Shemesh, a small town along the Sorek system, Azekah, Lachish, Gerar, Beersheba, Arad, the gravesite of David Ben Gurion (the founder and first president of the modern state of Israel), The Wadi Kiln, Avdat, Machtesh Ramon (the largest erosion crater in the world), Masada, the Dead Sea (yes, I did float in the Dead Sea), En Gedi (an oasis in the desert where I got to jump off some waterfalls), and Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found). My favorite place of all that I went to was probably En Gedi. I tried to go back there that next weekend, but that pretty much didn’t happen. I’ll write another note to talk about that experience.

Other than that, I’m doing well and enjoying my time here. Pray that I can use my time here wisely and enjoyable, God continues to guide me safely, and that I continue to discover the fullness of his grace. Thanks for your blessings and prayers!


  1. Hope says:

    I like what that man said about fasting– i have so much to learn, so far to go in this journey! glad I can learn from people that have learned more/different things than I have…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s