When I was in Israel in 2007, the fabulous photographer Doron Nissim said to me (about photography), "Always shoot for the light. If you go for the light, you can't go wrong." To which I said, "That'll preach..."
Yesterday, my 2009 Israel traveling companion Larry Leech and his wife Wendy came over to visit with my hubby and me. Naturally, Larry and I talked about our many adventures in Israel. Larry made an observation about one of the days we'd spent there (can't remember it now...) to which Wendy replied, "Larry, that will preach."
It seems to me that everything in Israel will preach. Every chance meeting, every landmark, every holy site, and every rock ...
We were climbing Ein Gedi, heading toward the upper waterfall when I spied a rock in the cliffs. It seemed to me that it was standing alone, unsupported, and yet not budging an inch. I said, "Wonder how long it's been standing like that?" to which someone else said, "And I bet it's not going anywhere."
When David wrote about God being his Rock and Fortress, he wrote of unmovable rocks like those in Ein Gedi and a fortress which was a castle of defense against those hunted. David knew all about being hunted. This -- Ein Gedi -- was his hiding place against Saul. The place where he hid in the cave (the caves are apparent all along the way) which Saul entered to relieve himself. The place where David cut the corner of David's robe and then made peace with Saul. The rocks in Ein Gedi cry out this story and remind me that no matter my foe, to the safety of God is where I run!
Jesus said that if the people didn't cry out, the stones would. Ein Gedi proves that. The only difference is, is that in Ein Gedi (the Spring of the Kid/Goat) man does not need to speak. It's hard to speak. The beauty is breathtaking (so is the climb!).
My favorite spot in Ein Gedi is the lower waterfall. It's tricky getting to it at times. The first time I saw it, I climbed over a few boulders and crossed a stream without hesitation. This year, however, having spent so long in bed with my back, there was a little trepidation. Everyone else had gone on ahead, walking toward the upper waterfall. But this was my "spot." The place where God spoke and speaks to me in life-changing ways. I knew I had to take the chance and go to it ... and so I did. It was as glorious as I remembered it; the only thing pulling me away was Miriam's insistence that I "come on up!" (Photo above taken by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, 2007.)
When I reached the upper waterfall, Robi -- who leaned against a boulder staring up at the impressive waterfall -- started singing "Oh Lord, my God ... when I in awesome wonder..." Little by little every voice joined in (except mine. I was now recording the moment on my camcorder.)
You see, Robi has just gone through the most difficult season of her life. She has climbed the mountain of heartache ... just as she had just climbed the sometimes difficult paths of Ein Gedi. Ein Gedi was teaching her (I think ...) and me that when we are faithful in the climb, the Living Water waits to bless us. To heal us. To draw us as we draw water.
Which reminds me of what it was exactly that Larry said yesterday. "Any time we found water," he told us, "we found things growing."
Here in Ein Gedi, the rocks and water, the cliffs and caves, tell me, "we have to climb difficult mountains to find the water."
But when we do ... Oh my ...