Ben Scott embarked on a pilgrimage to Israel, facilitated by the St John’s College Student Opportunities Fund. Here he tells us all about his experiences in Israel.
In all honesty it is difficult to know where to start. The amount that I was able to experience in only a week still amazes me even after being back home for a little while now. The beauty of that country still takes my breath away, as does its history, and the feeling of walking the same land that Jesus did is something that I will never forget. It truly was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Our first three days were spent in the region of Galilee exploring the early part of Jesus’ ministry. Again the scenery here was beautiful but I remember being struck by the vast distances between towns (and the heat). For Jesus to have walked these distances would have been no small feat and yet he practically visited every town along the shores of the sea of Galilee. Showing just how much he cared for each and every person, no matter where they lived, if they were social outcasts, or what they believed. Jesus was here for everyone.
On the fourth day of the trip we headed south towards Jerusalem and left the relative greenery of Galilee behind, heading into the desert. We stopped off, 400 meters below sea level, to look over the dead sea and visit Jericho (the oldest continually occupied city in the world) and then ascended to 700 meters above sea level to enter Jerusalem, where we would see out the remainder of our pilgrimage. Walking the streets of the old city is something I will never forget. We had truly left the peacefulness of Galilee behind and entered this new world of tight streets and fragrant smells. It was crazy, it was busy, and I loved it.
Here we visited the dome of the rock, the church of the holy sepulchre, the garden tomb, the western wall and the old city of David. We also travelled to Bethlehem and Herodion. This trip was filled with so much history, so many laughs and so much time to take in the wonder of a God who became human and walked amongst us. Who died for our sins and 3 days later was resurrected. To walk the same streets as him, albeit 2000 years later, brought me a little closer to him. And is something that will inform my ministry for the rest of my life. Thank you so much for helping me to get there.