(“Back to Beit Lehem” | The Jordan Journey, part 10 | May 21-22, 2018)
Before leaving Israel, we collected 12 stones, hoping to find a resting place for them in Jordan. Well, we were still carrying them on our way back. I wanted to put them in the water, in the wound itself. To use them to build a little altar, pour some of the salt and the Balm of Gilead we were carrying with us from day one, and declare some more healing. So driving up and down the valley, down and up through the wound, we tried to find the right spot. In vain. Apparently, most of it is guarded by soldiers, either Jordanians or Israelis. After all, this river is the longest border between the two countries.
It was disappointing to come back home with the stones in tow, but it also made it clear that our journey is not over yet.
Tian Jie coined for us the term “Ripple Effect”. She felt that this journey is the first fruit, and that it will multiply; that what we birthed through prayer had stirred the waters, so wave after wave of this truth will go forward!
She said: “Recalling every detail of the journey, I recognized an important principle. It is not that we are always good at following Him, but He is a good Father who is good at leading. As soon as we recognized His leading, we all followed and things happened! The Chinese song which echoed from the valley opened the cervix in time for the birthing [and since than had seen dozens of earthquakes, that are still happening a couple of times every week]. The Lord allowed me to travail for the widow’s broken heart, and for the pain of the Arabs. Sarah and Ishmael clung to each other as a Mother’s heart was birthed. In the spirit, it healed an ancient wound. And all of that was done without man’s hands!”
“Israel, you are a mother nation,” she declared. “The nations are waiting for you to show the kind of compassion that comes from the Father’s heart! Please, come on! We pray that the heart of compassion will increase until Israel, the mother nation, will come into full maturity! At this 70th anniversary, at this turning point, you need to change your perspective when you look at the nations. Look at them through the Father’s perspective. You have enlarged the capacity of your heart to embrace them all! Not only Ishmael will come to your breast, but all the nations will come home too!
“The nations are waiting for you to start blessing them. Once you align to the Father’s plan and heart, every nation will align with the Father and with one another.”
House of Bread
Equipped with our Balm of Gilead, bread, wine, salt and our 12 stones, we headed the next morning to Beit Lehem – Naomi’s destiny and resting place. This is where she was restored, where her exile ended, where she met again the redeemer.
This Israelite town was very small at the time of the Judges. It had since changed its geopolitical face and today is a sprawling Arab enclave with Christian and Muslim residents. No Jews.
We knew from the get go that our journey had to end in Bethlehem, in the “House of Bread”. But we also knew it would be illegal for me to enter it. I find that interesting, since back in the days of Ruth and Naomi, Ruth (the gentile) had no right to live in Beit Lehem, had she not joined the Israelite widow. Today, I – a Jew – am not allowed to enter it. It is illegal for Israelis to cross over the city limits.
But because of what I have been carrying in my heart and spirit, and due to an invitation I received a week earlier from a senior elder in Beit Lehem, I knew that I am safe. That the spiritual gates are open for me. That I can walk through the city and declare a change of status for her and for my people. That I will be welcomed there and that some form of relationship need to be established again between the two ancient “widows”.
Jesura could not join us in Jordan, but had planned the whole day for us in Beit Lehem. She found a beautiful park at a side entrance to the city, where we could sit and pray.
Solomon’s pools at the back entrance to Beit Lehem
Three Arab leaders from Jerusalem joined us, eager to hear about our whereabouts, as for many years they have been carrying the burden of deep and true reconciliation between the two peoples.
Trying to sort the important details
out of what we experienced in these short-long four days
We thanked God that both sides are finally able to converse openly about the wound, and prayed that we will be able to touch it with love, with tears and with His blood.
I prayed that as we march down the streets of Beit Lehem during the next few hours, we will carry with us the spirit of that young virgin, Mary, who did not ask too many questions, but simply said, “let it be to me according to your word”, and than gave life to The Bread of Life.
Something impossible in the natural realm had happened through our journey, as an old wrinkled widow with a dry womb had turned into a mama. We prayed for that womb to be kept open, so that Israel will align with the identity that comes from the womb of Mary. We proclaimed that Beit Lehem will once again become a house of fresh and new bread. That Naomi will cease to be the bitter Mara, and resume her position as a nursing pleasant figure, a caregiver, an instructor of truth (Ruth 4:16).
One of the Arab leaders repented that the Star of David is ridiculed and mocked in the very streets of Bethlehm, the city in which that Star was born. “God, turn this city once again into a womb, into a city that travails in order to birth Obed, the one who serves God,” she prayed. “We welcome King David back. This is your home.”
While in Jordan, around a table loaded with a double-portioned dinner, my Ruths presented me a bejeweled Star of Beit Lehem, as if saying: “welcome!”
Rania asked God to reveal the Angel of the Lord once more to the locals, exactly where He was born in the flesh.
When we first entered the park we saw this:
A little artificial island, surrounded by two mini streams,
that integrate and flow towards a bigger source of water, called Solomon’s pools
How touched we were when we found out that the streams that embrace this little island eventually pour into the Dead Sea, and mingle with the water coming from the Jordan river. That meant that we were still sowing healing into the rift.
We pulled out our 12 stones, and in front of the Moslem guards and gardeners, who were watching us carefully, we started building an altar of peace.
We stepped into the water and started praying and declaring
Cleaving vs. Gluing
When Orpah kisses her mother-in-law for their last goodbye (going back to her comfort zone and out of God’s story), Ruth chooses to cleave unto Naomi. That word – cleaves – means “glued herself.” It’s the same Hebrew word used in Gen. 2:24 to describe the relationship between a man and his wife. Once this “gluing” takes place, the two become one flesh. From that moment on, any separation will involve tearing of the flesh, shedding of blood, and much pain.
“Return the glue, Lord,” we begged. “Ruth produced glue when she cleaved to Naomi. The one (Ruth) had the glue and the other (Naomi) the legal inheritance. We therefore spread your glue.” We blessed that glue – that unity of Jew and gentile, especially in this torn city.
Finally, we put those stones to rest, with salt and wine and Balm that have been poured on them, mingled with faith that it will birth a binding power, the glue of a Family!
We than joined some of Beit Lehem leaders for lunch, visited their church, prayed with them, and did our best to carry with us what God had birthed in us. It is not simple to minister or live in Beit Lehem. We got a closer glimpse of the wound as we listened to the stories and challenges, and were filled with compassion mingled with much hope for a brighter day, when The Star of the Son of Jesse will shine again over that city.