Top of the morning on our first full day in Israel, we went to the Evangelical Church of the Redeemer in Old City. When we got there, Rev. Carrie Smith greeted us warmly, she gave a beautiful sermon about how righteousness will conquer, and evilness will perish. And also the Palestinian concept of Sumud, which was told to me through the her sermon as, “Sumud is translated to something like ‘steadfastness in the face of oppression.’ Sumud is what you have when your roots go deep into the soil. It is the kind of strength that comes, not from being the tallest or the strongest or the fastest growing, but from being close to the source of water and of life.” I thought this applies very effortlessly to the reason and meaning of our trip. We look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with different views and opinions and it is just so interesting to hear the Palestinian side and think they have to live their life in this situation but to try to survive in such an elegant and thoughtful way is exceptionally mind-blowing.
After our service at church the next stop was traveling to Masada and the Dead Sea. Which is southeast of Jerusalem (where we are staying currently). We were driving down the Roman highway road on the way to Masada and we past a simple cave not knowing what secrets and scrolls were discovered there, soon to find out it was where the prophets of Isaiah were found.
As we got to Masada, the ancient stones and ruins of King Herod the Great surrounded us. It was amazing to walk in and around these antiquated parts of a world that once was filled with heroic fights and revolutions of Roman crusades, which is why Masada is a historic tourist place. The next historic place we went to was the Dead Sea.
Leaving the relaxing flotation and exfoliation of salt and mud of the Dead Sea we trek back home to Jerusalem. After a long day filled with such historic presence I realized something. We pass so much and so fast that us human beings don’t understand this past that is in our presence.
Being in Israel we are not only surrounded by ancient and old history of that of biblical times we also are surrounded by the history of the state of Israel and it’s people’s strife and accomplishments of that time. To see the past encircled around the group and I as we make our own history of being here and learning about this conflict was truly astonishing. And also applying this newly-founded concept of Sumud to heart and being grounded in times of persecution and understand in our short time here to what people have in their lifetimes.
~ Scout Landin