The Patriarch’s Road

Posted by ajenkins on July 25, 2013 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Today we left Jerusalem proper and drove south to Hebron. Our first stop was in Makhpelah and the tomb of Abraham and Sarah. Of all the nations God promised Abraham would father and of all the land God promised Abraham would occupy he only owned one small bit. The cave at Machpelah where he first buried Sara and then himself. This became the burial site of all the patriarchs. The site we saw, actually constructed by Herod the Great almost 2000 years later is actually one of the best attested holy sites in Israel. Of course, there always seems to be a broken world story that accompanies every holy site and every Holy act. Because Abraham is claimed as the Father of Faith by both Islam and Judaism, both religions have a piece of the site. Abraham’s tomb is literally in a room divided down the middle by bullet proof glass and viewable on one side from a mosque and on the other side from a synagogue. Sad. Yet, I could not let these divisions prevent me from giving thanks for Abraham saying, “Yes” to God. Because he said yes, we may also. Thank you father Abraham.

Our next stop was the Oaks of Mamre, the site where Abraham and Sarah were promised they would be the parents of many nations. I hope you get to see the pictures I’ve posted of the Oaks of Mamre where there are no oaks. It is also the site of a great church built by the Emperor Constantine to commemorate the event since then destroyed. Kay and I had a blessed moment to stop and give thanks for our children and that God also made us parents and gave us the gift to pass faith on to a new generation. Join us, won’t you?

We spent the afternoon at a Jewish settlement in Ephrata (Micha 5:2) We heard a really fine talk from and had a fine discussion with an American orthodox Jew who emigrated to Israel 31 years ago. We heard his perspective on the current geo-political situation with Israel. Then we traveled just a short distance over the green line to a Palestinian refugee camp for another fine presentation and time to speak with a young social worker telling us of his hurt and frustration with the same situation, a divided country. Who can solve this? I afraid it isn’t John Kerry. Only God. Only God.

I’ll leave you with this one last thought of my day and the evening. Every place Abraham went he dug a well and built an altar. At each place he offered hospitality to those who came. Isn’t that exactly what Abraham was doing when three men visited him at the Oaks of Mamre? (Genesis 18) What is it about the combination of water and worship and hospitality that is a foundation for our faith, the way of life that we are led to live by power of the Spirit and in the Love of Jesus Christ?

Some of you have enjoyed my quizzes, so here’s another. What are the events of Abraham’s life that occurred between the time he was promised children in Genesis 12 and the renewal of that promise in Genesis 18? Which of these events do you think is most important for us as Christians?

Good Night from Jerusalem.
With my love and joy,
Arthur

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