By Hunter Corbitt
*The following post is a required post-trip assignment by Passages and Authentic Israel*
My Israel trip I attended can be summarized in one simple word: real. For years, I have heard pastors speak about stories from the bible. I have heard of wonderful cities and beautiful landscapes. I’ve heard of dry deserts and extreme seas. To have the opportunity to literally walk through the stories of my childhood was overwhelming. Understanding the land of Israel and the deep roots it holds to major religions across the world is very important. Learning the culture behind my faith gives me a bigger picture of the world I claim to be a part of.
Dissecting scripture almost makes certain places feel imaginary. In specific bible classes, we are directed to study and dissect the geography of a certain area to fully understand how God works within it. Understanding how God uses the previously created geography to direct a a groups actions can be revealing to His true character. Being able to walk among the land God specifically used to manufacture His story can’t be described with words.
Now, as I move on with my faith, reading scripture has become less of reading a narrative and more of a dive into the way God used certain aspects and distances within the land to create His story. The Bible has literally come to life because of my trip to Israel; places like Capernaum and the Mt. of Olives are very real places. God is invisible to us on earth, but we can go and see the same earth he used thousands of years ago to change the direction of humanity.
Capernaum was one place that really struck me as interesting. The town is a place that Jesus taught in and possibly lived in. It’s the place where Peter’s family is from. The site contained the foundation of a synagogue that Jesus taught in, Peter’s family’s house, and even the remains of multiple family complexes. The town was a tax post, so it deemed to be fairly wealthy. But for some reason, after a large earthquake, the city was never rebuilt. The only explanation our tour guide had was that Jesus cursed the village of Capernaum (Matt. 11) because it never changed its ways.
Walking in the midst of Jesus and his commands is indescribable. Oddly enough, I nor my fellow travelers, had a spiritual revelation here. In fact, throughout the trip, there wasn’t a mass spiritual revelation at any of the sites. After giving it some thought, I realized that the Holy Spirit doesn’t settle at these old ruins, rather within the hearts of human beings. These sites are just examples of the realness of God’s story and His creative way of fulfilling His covenant.
Personally, reading the bible is going to be much different. Instead of just looking for the once or two verses that stand out, I will dive into the archeology of the passage and how God used it to fulfill His plan. The realness that this trip to Israel provided is priceless. Every Christian should visit the Holy Land of Israel.