The Sea of Galilee
_We have come to that point on this trip where we are now sharing those most intimate gifts. We are sipping each others' espresso, sharing fig newtons on long bus rides and the passing ‘round of Dramine and Pepto Bismol are no longer deeply guarded secrets. There is a point on every journey such as this when your little band of weary travelers become familiar, familial, community.
We are Christian pilgrims who have set out to walk the labyrinth of Israel and Jordan in search of our Lord. We traverse this land from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee through the River Jordan and are as I write, on our way to the Dead Sea.
__Our second day began with less ideal circumstances. A boat ride across the Sea of Galilee under a grey foreboding sky hurling pellets of cold rain to the unsuspecting earth. Not the perfect day for a ride in a boat, one would think. Together our little family sang Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, Adonai, Elohim, Sabbaot, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…, and watched the water for glimpses of the Jesus who quieted the storms. Thinking on storms passed I leaned hard into the soft shoulder of a loved one who has sailed those troubled waters with me. Together we sing praises to the One who the waves and winds obey.
Later that day on the banks of the River Jordan, the family gathered to witness the baptism of 18 of our number. Dressed in thin white gowns, making them look more like martyrs preparing for the arena than baptismal candidates, these faithful ones assembled to be immersed in the holy, muddy, frigid Jordan. Before they went under, teeth chattering, bodies shivering , blue lips quivering, they bore witness to the love of Jesus that had brought each one to this moment. One in our group, battling multiple health issues, was immersed seven times in the tradition of Namaan who also washed in the same river the same way to be healed. His hand raised to heaven, heart filled with faith, our own stone of remembrance in the holy Jordan.
Sunrise on the Dead Sea
_Today after climbing the heights of Petra, the ancient Nabatean fortress carved in stone, starved for internet access as we were, we passed the four hour bus ride by playing games and telling stories as if we were pioneer children gathered ‘round the fireside. Tonight we ride deep into the desert in search of the healing waters of the Dead Sea and dream of a warm soak in a mineral bath to soothe our aching muscles and offer us a moment of respite on our whirlwind tour. We eat and pray, rest and renew as one; one heart and spirit and one baptism, humbled and grateful are we for holy water.