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The second day of being in Israel, we explored more of what it meant to be in the desert.

Let me attempt to set the environment:

We leave our hotel by the Dead Sea.

It is around 8am.

It is around 90 degrees.

The morning shower was hot.  There wasn’t cold water.

The rooms are hot, the only have power when your key card is inserted into the wall.

Drinking water is from the bus, which is hot.

The Dead Sea is surrounded by mountains, thousands of feet tall.

It is an amazing scene.

This is what you’d imagine it to be when you hear desert.

We begin our day reciting what we will call the Jesus Shema:

Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength.

And love your neighbor as yourself.

After a quick morning lesson, it is onto the bus to travel to a drop off point.

Dropped of in the Desert

Dropped of in the Desert

The bus just left us here.  We drove for a little bit, the bus pulled off to the side of the road and we hear

“Come, let’s go”

and our leader, Marty, steps off the bus and starts walking away.

We all quickly scramble to follow, as the days go by, we will get better at this and become good at it, but not this day.

We start down a path that is pretty rocky.  Well, everything is rocky.  This path, is more like a dried water bed (that is actually the definition of a wadi).  We walk maybe a half mile and we come over a ridge.  Marty has stopped and is allowing us to catch up.  It is tough to follow this guy!

We all circle around him and he says how was it?

Fine.  A little tough.

He says “I know.  Go back.  Do it again.  But this time, stay off the path.”

What…?

Go back.  Go back to where the bus dropped us off and don’t walk the path.  Walk along side it in the rocks.

Confused, we go back.

It is tough to find out where the path is and isn’t.  It was pretty rocky every where.

One of us falls on the way back. Sarah’s knee is cut pretty bad.  It is not yet 9am of day 2.

Most of us make it back to Marty, a few are helping Sarah.  We wait.  and wait…. and wait…

She finally comes back with a bandaid on her knee with a knee brace holding it on.

In a moment of rabbinic genius, we ask Marty what we will do if she is badly hurt.

“It is very difficult to follow the rabbi” says Marty.

Sarah continues the hike with us.


When we are together, we sit and Marty asked what we see around us.

Stones.  Lots of stones.

Not just stones, but small ones, big ones, in between ones.

If we look at these stones, he says, some of them are small and might get stuck in a sandal.  An annoyance, but easy to kick out.  Other stones, a little bigger, you might stumble on, but you can kick them out of the way for the next guy.  A bigger stone might need a hand or 2 to move.  Then you come across the BIG stones that aren’t moving, so you have to navigate around them.

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Here is a big part of walking the path.  When you do it, you naturally knock out the small stuff.  As you walk, the small stuff gets kicked to the side.  The medium stuff gets moved out of the way.  And the path around the big objects is obvious!  When we walk the path, the path becomes more defined and easier to follow.  On a path, you can see where it is safe to set your foot.  When you are following others who are walking the right path, you don’t have to worry about where you set your foot, you can see it is the good way.

The rabbis look at following God as walking His path.  There are small things that are annoyances. There are some bigger things that might have to be conscientiously changed.  Some of those might take more effort than others.

Some things just have to be avoided all together.

In our faith, as we follow the way of Jesus, the path becomes clearer.  As we remove the small things and work to over come larger problems, the way our faith works becomes clearer to the people behind us.  They can walk the path easier because we have gone before!

The more you walk the path, the clearer it is for people who come after you!

The more we walk the path that God lays out in scripture, the easier it becomes..

The more we walk it, the more we kick to the side vices and issues that once tripped us.

The more we walk it, the easier it is to avoid the things that once made us fall.

Most importantly, the more we walk it, the easier it is for others to follow Jesus using our example.

Walking the Path

Walking the Path

That makes me stop to think:

Is the way I am living my life fitting the path that Jesus talks about?

How about you?

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