START HERE

Today’s Truth

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane… And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.

Matthew 26:36-38

Friend to Friend

My husband and I just returned home from our first trip to Israel. I’ve heard for years that a pilgrimage to the Holy Land will change a believer’s life, that the Bible goes from black and white to technicolor! It’s all true. When you walk where Jesus walked, and read the words that The Word spoke in those places, with the rocks all testifying beneath your feet, your faith grows too big to stay on the inside and slips down your checks in the form of awestruck tears.

My favorite day was the one when we drove into Jerusalem, eager to place our feet where our Savior’s feet had trod. Anxious to inhale the scent of the earth that He first made and then walked upon, wept upon. Driving into Jerusalem, our guide explained that 85 percent of all Biblical events happened along the same road we now took. This road is referred to as “the watershed” of Israel, because the rain from the mountains collects in the valleys, carving a lush pathway through desert country all the way to Mount Moriah, Mount Zion, and Hebron — flowing down into Jerusalem and Bethlehem and on to Beersheba, where Abraham’s well still runs deep. The watershed.

As we walked down the Mount of Olives, my personal watershed started to flow. Descending the small hill covered in an ancient grove of olive trees, we made our way to the garden, known then and now as The Garden of Gethsemane. Lush, watered by the watershed — where The Living Water wept.

Inhaling deeply, earth particles filled my lungs — pollen and dust flowed in with oxygen. Walking through the garden, long branches brushed my shoulders, and I exhaled carbon dioxide — my offering back to the garden trees. They drank it from me, those ancient gnarled trunks and delicate slender leaves, with olives growing in small clusters upon each bough. Leaves moved silently in the breeze for just a moment before turning my gift to oxygen again. They exhaled, and immediately my lungs expanded from the grace offering once more.

Back and forth, for centuries, since the beginning of the beginning, this cycle of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide has continued. Humanity’s co-dependent dance with creation, testifying to our intelligent Creator.

That’s when I thought of the recycled elements, moving back and forth for centuries; between mankind and this garden grove — this grove and mankind — mankind and these trees — and the God-man’s lungs as Jesus inhaled and exhaled on the night He was betrayed. Today was my turn in the garden, to inhale His exhalation, through this ancient garden ritual.

It’s poetic more than realistic, I know, but the imagery blesses me still. How the air in me had once been the air in Him. And when He gave up His air and gave up His Spirit, His Spirit filled me too.

Overcome by His sacrifice, I slipped off my sandals and stood there on Holy ground.

Without sin of His own, He took the full press of my sin. The Garden of Gethsemane is “The Garden of the Oil Press.” Gethsemane translates oil press. That’s where Jesus went to pray as the weight of our sins began to press heavily upon Him. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be completely crushed for our iniquities. This was the spot where the crushing began.

Instead of oil, however, He gave up tears in the garden of the oil press. Instead of being crushed to death, He was crushed to life eternal. Instead of anointing oil, He released a watershed of anointed, cleansing blood — that a current of forgiveness could flow from Jerusalem out into the whole world. The watershed.

Let’s Pray

Oh Jesus, thank You for putting Your breath in my lungs, and Your Spirit in my spirit, and faith to believe You in my heart. Thank You for submitting to the press, to the point of death, that I might know eternal life with You in the garden of Your eternal Kingdom. Whether I walk where You walked here on earth or not, thank You for walking where I am today, through the presence of Your Holy Spirit. May I daily remember to slip off my sandals and lift my hands in praise, for this too is Holy ground!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Sweet girlfriends, if you have ever dreamed of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, now is your chance! Your Girlfriends in God team will be leading a trip to Israel in March 2019! Find our details right here, then grab some of your personal girlfriends to join you on this life changing adventure!

More from the Girlfriends

Wendy Speake is co-author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. On a daily basis you can find her sharing God’s Word along with personal stories of faith on Facebook (whether in the Holy Land or simply doing the Holy Work of raising children.)

5 Responses to “Walking Where Jesus Walked”

  1. Jamie says:

    WHOOOO!!!! My heart is leaping out of my chest. I feel like shouting and crying because of His love for me. His watershed is smoothing all the hardness in my Life and Heart. Thank You Jesus!!!

  2. Wendy Speake says:

    Praising the Lord with you, Jamie!

  3. Patti says:

    Dear Wendy…..My husband and I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend two years in Jerusalem with my daughter and her family recently. Every chance we had we walked around the Old City and breathed the air and walked the paths Jesus once took. What a powerful adventure!!! I encourage everyone to take that first trip to Israel ….it will change your life forever and ever and will not disappoint! Thank you for bringing back such fond, wonderful memories!

  4. Penny says:

    Wendy –
    My husband and I took the opportunity to go to Israel and I have carried those memories close to my heart ever since. My moment was on the sea of Galilee, our Bishop was reading from the bible what took place there…my mind stopped and so did my breathing as I began to realize the HE stood just a short distance from where we were. What an amazing feeling to really be there and experience all there was to see.
    Take the time to go visit and you will not regret it!!

  5. Pam says:

    Wow! What a moving post. I am going with GIG to Israel in March and I can’t wait. I plan to prepare my body, mind, and spirit so that God can move mightily as it appears He did with you. Thank you for this preview!

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8