Thursday, February 5, 2015

Israel: X Rays and Tunnels

We got back to our room, I pulled off Firstborn's tennis shoe, and my foot looked awful. It was swollen and bruised. The edge of my foot looked misshapen. We decided to elevate it and ice it all night, then go see a doctor in the morning if I had not had a magical cure overnight. The next morning I could hardly walk. So, we left our sweet kiddos playing Uno and computer games and went to the nearby clinic. As we suspected, it was broken. The clinic was such a lift to my spirit. My biggest disappointment had been the fact that this might ruin the rest of our trip. The nurse who checked me in, Yael (named for the woman in Scripture who drove a tent peg in a man's head!), was so kind. To my surprise, she had lived in Memphis, my hometown, and worked in the synagogue there. The doctor was so dear. He showed me the break, then said, "But I suspect you are not in Israel to elevate your foot! You're here to see the Holy Land." So he prescribed a walking surgical cast, but made me promise to elevate and ice every chance I got. I readily agreed. CC and I took a taxi to the local hospital, went in the gift shop, and bought the boot. When I put that boot on, it felt like a million pillows compared to how it felt to wear a shoe. I was so thankful for technology! I was ready to hit the road! We went back to the hostel, picked up the kids, and headed to the City of David. Incidentally, when asked his favorite part of the trip, CC said it was taking me that day to get my x-ray. Sweet boy.

I knew that of all the sites we had yet to see, I would have to sit this one out. CC took the kids to Hezekiah's tunnel, built in the 7th century BC by King Hezekiah, in his attempt to block the Assyrians. It ends at the Pool of Siloam and provided water to Jerusalem during the seige. Two teams worked to build it, finally meeting in the middle. The spot where they met, not exactly lined up, so that they had to carve some more, can still be seen. Jerusalem, on a mountain, was naturally defended on all sides, but it lacked a water source. CC and the kids braved the tunnel, donning able-to-get-wet clothes that morning.

I stayed at the top, instructed to meet CC and the kids at the Pool of Siloam by going around the outside of the site, walking down some streets, and waiting for them there.

And so, I waited at the start of the tunnel for awhile. I found a coffee shop and bought a latte, still thinking about my cast and how I was thankful, but what the trip might look like from here on. I wandered in the gift shop. After some time, I decided maybe it was time for me to study the map and find the Pool of Siloam and head that way. I asked a tour guide, I asked a security guard, I asked the gift shop hostess. All of them told me the same thing. "You can't go to the Pool of Siloam. It's too dangerous, and you may not find it. Just wait here until they get back." But I had no way of telling CC that I was changing the plan, as our phones did not work in Israel! And the Pool of Siloam was a long way off. I was confused about what to do. Wait here? What if CC and the kids were waiting at the far end for me? All day. What if I tried to find it and got lost? I couldn't even understand the map and landmarks I could see. The map was the entire underground tunnel, so how did it match up with what was above ground? What if I couldn't find my way back? Dangerous, what did that mean? Should I take the advice of all those people or go try to find them?

Then I began to think about the previous day. I was so upset that I had hurt my foot, mainly because this was my trip of a lifetime, and I wasn't even sure I'd be able to walk. I didn't pray much about it. I just felt over and over like I wished I could change what happened,discouraged. And then we found this clinic. And the doctor and nurse were so kind. And the Lord provided me a way of walking, even with a broken foot. As the Lord brought yesterday to mind, I decided that I would not handle today like I had handled yesterday. I would ask the Lord what I should do and just trust Him to show me. I had hobbled down a set of steps, to see if I could see any signs that might help me, and suddenly through a door came a woman and her two sons. She had her head wrapped in a scarf, and she wore a long flowing skirt. She carried a basket on her hip, and her two little tots were pulling at her clothes. And she looked for all the world like the woman I had dressed up to become when I worked at "Jerusalem Marketplace" Vacation Bible School in America. She looked EXACTLY like what we were all trying to look like, with the church set up like the Old City. She stopped and said, "Oh, what happened to your foot? Are you ok? Do you need help?" I explained that I had broken my foot (I almost cried, she was so thoughtful and the broken foot prognosis so new), and that my husband and children had gone into Hezekiah's Tunnel, and told me to meet them at Siloam. But that I didn't know how to get there or if I even could on my foot or even if I should. She said, "Don't go. Stay here. He will come back here. He will come right back here to get you." And then it was as if all the confusing, swirling wind around me grew very still, because I knew the Lord had answered me. I would stay. And I wouldn't worry about the what if's. I would trust God to deliver my message to CC that I was changing the plan. And then she said what I will never forget for the rest of my life. She said, "Well, your foot is broken, but it's the Holy City, so it will be wonderful no matter what." And I knew that was the Lord speaking to me, also. I wish I had taken her picture, but I have a mental picture of her.As I went back up the steps, slowly on my cast, I prayed that the Lord would work this out for me, and I told Him I would just trust. And I prayed for her, so full of tenderness. Would her heart be tender to the call of the Messiah in these end times? I reached the top of the steps, and there stood my husband, saying, "Thank the Lord. I've been asking around up here if anyone had seen you. I prayed you would just stay here. You couldn't have met us there. They wouldn't even let us walk down that road with the tour group."

As I left, I snapped this picture. "I shall speak of peace in your midst." Psalm 122

Meanwhile, CC and the kids had a grand time! They had planned to follow the water route, which had water up to their thighs. At the last minute, the two little Turks got scared to try it. CC was secretly happy, as he was toting some electronics (phone, etc.) and wondering how he would manage the little ones and all that without me. So, the three Singapore girls did it on their own. To their surprise, the "walking route" deviated, so for a time, they were totally apart. But they managed to make it through, even passing through tiny holes in places. CC and the little ones stayed on the dry path, meeting near the Pool of Siloam, where they were put in a small van and returned.

As I sat above and read the brochure, I discovered that experts believe this dry path likely would have been the route taken by Zadok the Priest and Benaiah the Warrior when they went to annoint Solomon as King, on errand by King David. I told Big Ben this about his namesake and that he had chosen just the right path. It made his day! And when I saw this picture, I decided I had chosen the right thing to do that day too! Yikes!

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