The efficacy of doctor fish, Hezekia(h)’s Tunnel, the wise words of Wadi – and other profound revelations from the Holy Land

I returned from Israel a little over a week ago and I’m still dealing with a bit of jet lag induced brain-fog. While I suspect I’ll be still be processing for some time to come, I figured it was time to start sharing a few of the nuggets gained from the journey .

I was filled with much anticipation regarding this particular trip.  I would go so far as to say I had great expectations.

But expectations are funny things. We should always expect good from God–it’s who he is and it’s what he does. If we have no expectations, it pretty much means we have no hope (and that’s never  a good thing). But the trick is to keep our expectations centered on the unchanging reality of God’s goodness and not attached to any particular demands we may have developed regarding when and how we think his goodness should materialize.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that God rarely does exactly what I think he will do, when and how I think he will do it. Ultimately, though, that’s part of the adventure–letting his plans unfold in his way and in his timing.

So, um, let’s just say we had to keep that in mind. Like I said, we had lots of expectations. And lots of great prophetic encouragement–particularly regarding all the amazing “revelation” many felt we would receive. In fact there was such expectation in this area that we were getting lots of excited follow up texts and messages from folks at home wanting to know how things were going.

It became something of a running joke. But God is always up to “something” so one morning Gen and I sat down and came up a little “tongue in cheek” list of some of the more profound revelations we had received to date:

1. The efficacy of doctor fish. Everyone’s heard of “doctor fish”–right? You  immerse your feet into a tank filled with slimy little fish that gnaw on your skin and supposedly “chew” the callouses off your feet. Or something like that. Yes, people actually pay for this, er, “service.”  And yes, somehow I got roped into it.

The jury is still out on their effectiveness. Gen thinks they work. I’m a skeptic. But here’s what I do know–I would do it  again in a heartbeat  for the opportunity to speak into the life of the young, beautiful (and deeply wounded) 20-something Israeli girl who was hawking the skincare products that ultimately led to our encounter with the doctor fish. Her name is Bar and she is amazing. We made her smile and that made having my feet nibbled on by slimy fish worth it–whether it did anything else or not.

2. Hezekia(h)’s Tunnel.  I hear that some people go to the City of David to intentionally slosh through the 45 minutes or so of dark, cramped, wet (very wet–as in immersed up your thighs in cold rushing water–wet) “wonder” that is Hezekiah’s Tunnel. We were clueless and just sort of wandered in. We walked straight into the darkness thinking it would be a little wet, a little cramped, and a little dark, for a little while. It was fun for five minutes or so. (HINT: It takes a lot longer than that.) Once we headed in, there was absolutely no way out. Our only option was to keep walking — and, in our case, to keep singing — our way through the ordeal until we finally made it to the other side.

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I won’t bother drawing some of the more obvious spiritual parallels–you can do that all by yourself. But what I did learn is this, after “emerging from the darkness” my ability to spell was significantly compromised. And, despite being a card carrying member of the Grammar Police, I didn’t even care. I love my “I survived Hezekia’s tunnel” t-shirt. And I love the shrewd Arab businessman who printed them–even if he can’t spell. Who cares about spelling when you’ve finally made it to the other side? Priorities people, priorities.

3. The wise words of Wadi. Wadi is the chef at the guesthouse we stay at in Jerusalem, but we think his name is really Yoda. He’s gifted, burdened, and brilliant. In the morning we’d get eggs cooked to order, fresh-squeezed orange juice, cappuccino … and wisdom.

255I would try to relay some of his more astute observations on life, but I’m afraid I can’t do them justice. To truly understand the depth of his words you just gotta be there. You need to hear a bit of his story. You need to look into those deep, soulful, sad but still hopeful, eyes. You need to be his friend.

I think that’s why there is such weight on his words–he treats us like friends. Like family, really. He cares and he shows it. He doesn’t act as if we’re passing through. He takes the time to sit with us, to open his heart to us–to share a bit of his life with us. There’s great wisdom and beauty in that–oh, and great food too. We could stay other places when we’re in Jerusalem. Some of them are  cheaper, but we go back to the same place because Wadi is there (and Jacob, and Ibrahim, and …).  Besides, where else does breakfast include stirring philosophy along with a scrumptious fill-up?

So those are a few of the great and profound revelations imparted to us on our recent sojourn to the Holy Land. I’m actually only being partially sarcastic, because sometimes it really is the little things — the simple things — that are the most profound. It’s the stuff of memories. It’s the stuff of life.

Yes, there were other things too. Deep things. Amazing things. Beautiful things. Hard things. Silly things and sweet things. But they’re unfolding. They’re being developed — little by little — bit by bit — day by day.

Just like life.

But for today, doctor fish (whether they’re effective or not), Hezekia(h)’s tunnel, and of course, the wise words of Wadi, are amazing enough …

And truly quite profound.


5 thoughts on “The efficacy of doctor fish, Hezekia(h)’s Tunnel, the wise words of Wadi – and other profound revelations from the Holy Land

  1. Great insights. I like what you said about expectations, “But the trick is to keep our expectations centered on the unchanging reality of God’s goodness and not attached to any particular demands we may have developed regarding when and how we think his goodness should materialize.” How true! I think the enemy gets us off-track by dis-appointing us with unmet expectations.

    And we went through “Hezekia’s” tunnel the last time we were in Israel. Quite an experience. I didn’t know I could get such a unique t-shirt though. I would’ve got one just for the spelling. 🙂

  2. So sorry you missed the fabulous t-shirt–maybe next time 🙂 It really was quite a memorable experience!

    And so true about expectations. I am so very, very grateful we were able to focus on all the amazing things God DID do, rather than being sidetracked by the things we may have expected that didn’t materialize. It really was such a wonderful trip!!

  3. I love this. It made me chuckle as I could just picture you NOT really sold into the Dr. Fish thingy and yet there was Gen, who is ready to jump out of plane at any given moment. lol. And the Hezekia experience. PRICELESS. and on every trip we make, may there always be a Wadi to enrich our experiences. Man, you make me want to go with you.
    Love you.
    Lesley

    1. Good! I’m planning on you going with me one of these days! And to SE Asia too :-) (BTW, Jesus finally said ‘yes’ to that again after over five years–can’t wait!) Love you much!

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