There were several things that struck us on our recent trip to Israel. One thing that I noticed was how important water was in the history there. Of course you have the Sea of Galilee in the North, then the Jordan River flowing all the way South dividing Israel from the country of Jordan into the Dead Sea in the South. But there are also the various springs, wells, and streams that are necessary for life and so are found in or nearby every city or village.
It has been said that the Gospel of John has a river of water running through its pages as well. Yesterday during the worship service we talked about the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man who was lying beside the Pool of Bethesda. In Jesus’ time Jerusalem needed water not only for the normal things of daily life—cooking, washing, drinking—but also there was water needed for the use in Temple service, and for the ceremonial cleansing of the pilgrims who would come to Jerusalem for the festivals. The Pool of Bethesda was one of these pools.
Brian teaching in front of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem
Next week the sermon will be from John 7 where Jesus speaks about rivers of living water on the Feast of Tabernacles. On the last day of this Jewish festival a ceremony took place which involved the Pool of Siloam. The Pool of Siloam is also mentioned in John 9 in the account where Jesus healed the man who had been born blind. Our group was also able to see the pool of Siloam which was only recently discovered. You can read a short article that discuses both of these pools and their significance here.
The recently-discovered Pool of Siloam
There are lots of exciting happenings upcoming. Don’t forget the Uno Tournament next Sunday at 5pm! It’s not too late to sign up or to invite a friend, but make sure to let me or Twila Eickhorst know soon so that we have the correct count for food and also so that we have enough tables for our tournament. This is an event you won’t want to miss.
Josanne and I and Tracy Rennie are planning to share our Israel trip soon. We are currently planning on Sunday afternoon March 5th, but we may need to move that to March 12th, so stay tuned!
Also the Mennonite Relief Sale is coming up quickly. There is a lot of ways to participate, and a big need for volunteers. You can find information about that online here, or Rick and Karen Kaufman have some additional details also.
Hope to see you Sunday and make sure to invite a friend!