An olive tree.
Ancient and gnarled.
Still producing fruit.
The olive tree in the photo above grows in one of the oldest olive groves in all of Israel. It is roughly 2,200 years old.
I took this photo as my group ascended Mt. Carmel, the actual location where Elijah and the prophets of Baal squared off. 52 Americans, myself included, following a wild-eyed rabbi named Ray Vander Laan, scrambled the rocky terrain to one of the many Biblical sites on our tour.
All along the way, I was trying to process – trying to process…God.
My brain could scarcely ponder Him or the wonders my eyes had seen.
My thoughts were jumbled because of what my ears had heard.
The soaring temperatures and the outpouring of sweat was constant.
My feet sizzled in my dusty boots as we would walk for hours. For miles they tromped and never failed me even in the desert of the Negev where the Israelites wandered for 40 years.
I would drink from my bottle and find no relief. Only hot wetness. It kept me alive, but that was all. It was far from refreshing.
That was the state I was in for the duration of my stay in Israel.
I learned with my feet — my tired, achy and shriveled feet.
For 2 weeks I learned with my feet while all the while being covered in the dust of my rabbi.
I have little to say at this point. Much of the truth I gleaned from my experience is still seeping into the inner recesses of my soul. The precious and tender morsels of knowledge are slowly being digested to bring about wisdom that has evaded me for much of my life. Not because it was hidden, but because I failed to seek it.
What bits of wisdom that God has produced in me thus far have been shared with those around me as best as my fallible tongue will allow. I plan on sharing some of those bits with you in the weeks ahead.
Until then, I will trim my ratty Israel beard and watch my desert tan fade into this autumn season where long sleeve shirts and jeans abound.
Though my heart still sometimes longs for Israel, it is good to be home.