Harp and Story

Palestinian Territory–September 17, 2009

Into Palestinian Territory–September 17, 2009
Today was an opportunity that could really be called a once in a life time. We were given the opportunity to go into the heart of the West Bank which is under the administration of the PA. The city of Nablus (known as Shechem in the Scriptures) is home to almost 500,000 Palestinians and as we drove through, we could see the bustling marketplace alive with the celebration of Ramadan, and had a unique experience of being in a traffic jam, surrounded by taxis–you would have thought we were in New York City. On the east side of town we stopped and visited a Greek Orthodox Church that claims to have Jacob’s well in its basement. It was beautiful and sadly very lightly attended. We had a group of 61 people and we spontaneously broke out in singing and the acoustics were astonishing–what an experience. The curator was visibly moved. Right in the heart of Muslim territory, we were praising our King with abandon. Wow!
Before Nablus, we visited the town of Sabastia (which is Shamron or Samaria in the Scriptures) where King Ahab and his wife Jezabel reined. There were many Roman ruins there and quite a bit of the ruins of the palace of Ahab. We had opportunity to pray in the ruins of a Bizantine era church and we used the prayer of Daniel 9 as the basis for what we felt was a necessary time of repentance and teshuva for Israel’s sins of the past. We are Israel after all, aren’t we? Read Daniel 9 and see if like him, we need to own the sins of our fathers. Here too we had opportunity to lift our voices in praise to our King. We had opportunity to bless our Palestinian guide and bus driver, and they were visibly touched. We found out later that there is an underground church, which is very small–less than 20 members. Two of them were executed recently when they were found out. We in America don’t even have a clue what it means to suffer for the sake of Yeshua!
Once again the scriptures took on new meaning as we walked on the very places that scripture describes in 1st Kings in its accounting of the reign of King Ahab. Samaria was built on the top of a hill so it has incredible views of the surrounding countryside in all 360 degrees. Any advancing enemy could be spotted by the watchman at the gates well in advance and the elevation gave them a tremendous tactical advantage. Unfortunately, there was no water well within the city and they had to depend on cisterns, so they could be easily seiged and overcome by the effects of not getting any food or water into the city. Good news and bad news you might say. The story of Jehu coming against Samaria really popped out in understanding as you stood on the lookout site and looked out, imagining seeing a cloud of dust in the distance being kicked up by a chariot. The field of Naboth that Jezabel killed Naboth for so that she could give to Ahab made so much more sense because you could see that the lower fields were fertile and there was water available there. So much to see and understand.
I believe much was accomplished in YHWH’s plan for His kingdom. We go out into the day, obeying what He commands us and taking the opportunities He sets up for us, walking it out. We were told later that the people who served us lunch (what a sumptuous Mediteranean Style feast it was) were very taken with the way we treated them and the openness we showed towards them. They were also very greatful that we would cross over into their territory and bring good business to them. They have been very isolated from the rest of the world since the intafada of 2002. Any business that comes to them is few and far between.

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