Faith is both taught and caught.We learn the stories of Jesus and the moral principles that set us on a road called faith. And we occasionally experience “something more” that grips us with a deeper kind of knowing. Millions of pilgrims travel to the holy land each year in search of that something more. Last week I traveled to Israel with 35 others from our church on a pilgrimage led by scholars David May and Mike Graves.
The first thing that struck me was the landscape. The maps on the pages of the back of the Bible sprang up in three dimensions: the barren desert as far as the eye could see, the rocky terrain under my feet. And I wondered how Jesus could walk even one mile under that parched heat that reached 124 degrees one day. Then we ascended 2000 feet to Jerusalem and the cool breeze of 80 was a welcome relief.
Inside the gates of the holy city we sat down under the shade of olive trees at a place called Bethzatha. We recalled how the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed gathered at a pool called Bethzatha in story found in John 5. They sought healing from the pools of water which occasionally stirred. And then I heard David May comment off handedly, “you know in the first century everyone was sick.” And it struck me that back then there was no CVS for allergy medicine, no surgery for breast cancer, no dermatologist for acne. Of course everyone was sick.
That’s when it caught me. And I realized that Jesus came not to heal others, but to heal us all.
Grace and peace,