Snippits From My Israel Journal

Occasionally I share from the journal I kept in Israel.  Today’s story is about an amazing opportunity that came to me while in Jerusalem. 

When I was in my late 20's, my neighbor invited me to go with her to a Women’s Bible Study. I not only studied the gospel of Matthew, I met a personal Jesus, The Living Word.   A whirlwind of revival broke out in my community, and I got swept under the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t put my Bible down. 

I bought a study Bible with maps and charts and resources.  Then I enrolled in an archeology course by video with college credits and couldn’t wait for the children to nap so I could dig in. No pun intended.  Completion of the course featured an archeological tour in Israel with my professor who taught Hebrew at the University of Texas.  I acted like a swooning teenager when I met him in person.  He was a storehouse of knowledge and had the ability to talk non-stop in our mini-bus every day from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. as we traveled to various destinations only stopping for lunch and potty breaks!

Today, I’m sharing a little about Zippori, Hebron and Jerusalem.

Christian tradition teaches that Zippori is the hometown of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We were told that findings of a “Mikvaot,” a ritual bath, confirm that a Jewish community resided here.  Remains were found also from churches, synagogues, water reservoirs and theaters.  We were taken into the remains of a crusader castle.  I was fascinated by the magnificent mosaics.

There were twelve of us in all including the teacher and his Jewish buddy, Moshe, an Israeli man who drove our mini bus.  My professor, pleasing and personal, struck up a conversation with me while we were in Jerusalem and asked me what I might choose if I could visit any city in Israel?

I replied that I would choose Hebron.  At that time it was not as dangerous as it is today, but still it was Arab territory and off limits to tour groups.  I thought it would be neat to pray at Machpelah, the grave sites of the patriarchs and matriarchs: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and Leah.  My teacher looked sober and replied:  “Let me think about this.” 

Two mornings later, we met at 8:00 a.m. but did not board the comfortable, air-conditioned mini bus.  Moshe pulled up in a blue Palestinian old beat up bus with paisley curtains that were to remain closed.  Our vehicle traveled in disguise (so rocks wouldn’t be thrown at us) and we headed south to Hebron.  I got to see the Machpelah caves, but we were clearly under the authority of the Hamas who gave the presentation.  I felt intimated and only took a few photos.  We were instructed that we would be safe to visit that day “as long as we did it right.”

I learned that my Professor spoke fluently in Arabic, too!  This astonished the Hamas who were not used to tour groups speaking their language.  We submitted to their lead and we silently listened!

On the 46 Km bus ride back to Jerusalem, our professor gave us the Judeo-Christian version of what we viewed.  He gave me my heart’s desire and in my eyes, emulated intelligence and adventure!  Little me in Hebron; what a thrill I will never forget; I must have thanked him a hundred times!

These two photos give you an idea of Machpelah, the building over the patriach’s graves with its Herodian architecture on the outside and also the interior mosque.  This site in Hebron is where Abraham purchased land to bury his family.

In Jerusalem we walked on the walls of the city.  Great views! I  photographed the Old City from the wall.  The Israeli man is praying at David’s Tomb.

I close with a photo of the Garden Tomb.  I don’t get caught up in the controversy of the exact spot of Jesus' burial like some scholars argue.  Whereas our patriarchs are dead and buried in the Machpelah Caves, Jesus is no longer in His grave.   He rose from the dead just as the scriptures said.

I'm linking today to the website:  Tell Me A True Story.


  1. What an amazing post and how blessed you were for your professor to heed your request. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  2. How so fascinating! Glad you got to see Hebron and what a story behind you being able to visit it! I hope one day to be able to travel to see Israel, and you are right, Jesus is not buried; he's alive :)


  3. Mary, I loved reading of your time in Israel...We went about five years ago and we are planning to go back this June. It is an amazing trip to walk the streets where Jesus walked and sit by the sea of Galilee where he talked with His disciples...I loved hearing about your trip to Hebron...Of course we didn't go there and won't be able to in June.

  4. How absolutely fascinating, Mary! Truly, the trip of a lifetime.
    Your professor sounds like an intuitive, special person; I wonder if you still keep in touch with one another?

  5. What a blessing to be able to be there. I've been a studier, but never been able to go. I often look forward to seeing it when I've been in heaven and the Lord would pop me down to move around and about to see that part of of our world and where He lived. Sometimes I can hardly wait. So happy for you! Thank you for sharing.

  6. What a blessing that you was able to be a part of this journey! I love the pictures and enjoyed so much reading this post. Thanks for sharing. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  7. Hi there, Oh how I love this story-it came to life for me. In fact, I'm going to send a link to my 12 yr old grandson who loves history and loves the Lord-I know he'll be amazed at the photos and testimony. Thank you so much for taking us on this journey.
    Hugs, Noreen

  8. Oh yes....our Savior lives. It's on my bucket list to someday get to visit the Holy Land. Thanks for the pictures.

  9. I love archaeology, and so I loved this post!! It was so interesting, and I loved the pictures. It was almost like I was right there with you!

    Thanks, Mary, for this enjoyable tour.


  10. Mary, thank you for sharing your experience. What a wonderful tour guide the professor was, especially giving you that special detour. You are blessed with some beautiful memories (and pictures). Yes, Jesus' tomb is empty - Praise Him!

  11. Wow. That is really awesome that you got to do that. It reads like you remember like it was yesterday. Funny how time has no power over the most profound things in our lives.

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful story and pictures! You are a brave one!

  12. How blessed you are not only to have visited the Holy Land, but to be led by such a knowledgeable guide! It must be an inspiration as you read about those places and events ion your Bible.
    Thanks so much for the great post and for your sweet comment on Saved by Grace!
    God bless,

  13. great memory and Mary, being Jewish I've been to Israel to visit family many times and want to take my girls one day. The whole bible comes alive there. Glad you had the chance to visit. And my favorite picture is the one with the rabbi. Hugs.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this! And what a gift from Him to allow you to see Hebron!!! I love the way you ended your post though...That Jesus isn't in the grave...My spirit is rejoicing! Hugs to you sister and always be strong in the Lord's power!

  15. Thanks for stopping at my blog. I really enjoyed this post on your trip. It's a place I would love to visit. It's amazing that you even got to go to Hebron.

  16. Jerusalem is on my top places to visit. I wanted to walk the streets that Jesus' walk on and feel His presence there.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  17. What a wonderul experience in Israel


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