Posted by: ritagone | November 28, 2018

Impressions of the Holy Land — Part 1



What was I expecting?

A mystical, ultra-spiritual environment where people read their Bibles all day long, prayed incessantly, and lived a combination Old/New Testament existence because of where they were living geographically?  (I also expected everyone in London to be reading something of Shakespeare’s when I went to the U.K. for the first time a year after graduating college.  And boy, I was sorely disappointed!)  No, people were not reading Bibles or Torah scrolls, nor praying – not even making attempts at praying except at the Wailing (now called the Western) Wall.  Instead, Israel seems to me like a very secular, tourist-centered nation focused more on that trade than on the religious aspect of its existence, despite being the place where the three major religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – find their roots.

A place struggling with so many issues that it is hard to feel it able to relax and breathe comfortably.  A country where past history is intricate and amazing, and the current political and social situation is more complicated than anything I’ve ever experienced or read about.  Our tour guide Brian said, “You will be more confused at the end of this tour than you are at the beginning.”  He was right.  I read the six or so books on his reading list to prepare for this trip, books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about the history of the nation of Israel, about how God has worked and moved among the Jewish people, among the Palestinian people.  And still I don’t understand a modicum of what I’ve read or seen.  My mind is still in a muddle. 

A landscape that is at once beautiful and striking and then filled with trash.  The city of Bethlehem, for example, seems to have no pride in keeping trash off the sidewalks and curbs.  It is everywhere.  But then you drive out into the country and the views and sights are panoramic and breathtaking.  Desert and palm trees, reminding you that you are indeed in the Middle East, where it’s hot and arid.  And then a mountain that makes you feel like you’re near the Andes.  Contrast.  So much contrast.

I’ll share some more next week.  I’m still processing what I saw and heard and touched and experienced.  It’s not a place that you can define clearly and sharply in a day or in a week, with precision and finality.


  1. I am looking forward to your continued sharing, Rita!!
    Israel is….amazing and wonderful and confusing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: